ORLANDO, Fla. – A man who traveled from Georgia to Florida for a double lung transplant will be home for Christmas.
"I couldn't go back home. This was my final stop," said Lindsey Chesteen.
Chesteen spoke publicly with the team of doctors at Florida Hospital who helped perform the surgery that saved his life.
"Last year this time I was ... in the hospital at Emory, just (lying) there passing out. They couldn't figure out what was going on," said Chesteen.
Doctors discovered that he needed a double lung transplant, but several major medical centers said it was too risky.
"The saddest thing I ever heard (was) when they said they couldn't do it. (My) heart just dropped,you know?" said Chesteen.
Chesteen suffers from sarcoidosis, which causes scar tissue to form on the lungs. His health deteriorated significantly as he searched for a medical team who would perform a transplant. He finally received a call from doctors at Florida Hospital in Orlando.
"For someone that's so sick, I mean, he shouldn't have survived this," said Dr. Cynthia Gries, the pulmonologist who treated Chesteen.
Gries said it took an army of medical professionals to get Chesteen healthy enough for surgery.
"I mean, he was so, so sick, and he got up every day, and I think everyone in this entire hospital was rooting for him," said Gries.
Gries, along with Dr. Duane Davis, a heart and thoracic surgeon, performed Chesteen's double-lung transplant in October.
"There are things you hear about or see on paper, when you are referred patients, and then you see an individual. And he was going to be a winner, regardless, and we were just kind of blessed to be along for the ride," said Davis.
Chesteen is fully recovered and will be home for Christmas.
"It's just been a a blessing. My wife's been there for me. I can't thank the people everyone's just been so good to me. It's just a great feeling to be able to breathe on your own. It's just unbelievable what man can do," said Chesteen.