GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A long time law enforcement officer in Gulfport is counting his blessings after receiving a life saving double organ transplant, but he still has a long road ahead.
Bruce Addison had his kidney and pancreas transplant less than three weeks ago. He feels blessed beyond belief. But now he and his wife are facing new challenges.
Bruce and Cherion are taking one step at a time as they walk toward what they hope will be a brighter future.
“They say it’ll get better, and I’m looking forward to that,” Bruce said.
WLOX caught up with them at their home after Bruce had a life-saving double organ transplant. He received a donated kidney and pancreas at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans. He says his blessings bring mixed emotions.
“Somebody had to die, so I could live. I’m sad for the family, but happy they decided to donate, and I was one of the recipients,” he explained.
Bruce was relatively healthy most of his life, although he had developed diabetes and high blood pressure in recent years. The 48-year-old was a police officer and sheriff’s deputy in McComb for more than 23 years. But he suffered an unexpected stroke in 2015, resulting in significant vision loss, and he says things spiraled downward from there.
“I started to have kidney problems. Then, the doctor said I had to have dialysis immediately,” Bruce explained.
Before the recent transplant, he was on dialysis four times a week for two and a half years. For much of that time, he was receiving treatments at home with help from his wife.
“It has been hard watching him go from being active to not being able to do things... not even walk without shortness of breath,” said Cherion.
“I feel better now, thankful he’s going to have a better life,” she said.
They still have a long road ahead, and now they’re focused on healing and getting stronger. But they’re also focused on paying for the medications.
“It’s very expensive forty pills a day. One of the medicines is $560.00,” Cherion explained.
“I get worried, so trying to figure out ways to take care of it. Insurance only pays so much,” said Bruce.
But they’re all medicines he has to take to live a healthier life, and that’s what they’re hoping for. While Bruce would like nothing more than to be able to go back to his job in law enforcement, he knows that’s not possible.
They’re simply hoping for the best possible life with the second chance he has been given.
“I am hoping he can get back to some of the things he likes to do like fishing and even walking... his day to day activities,” Cherion said.
“I know I won’t get back to my old self, but hopefully close,” Bruce said.
Bruce says he was 8 months shy of receiving retirement when his health forced him to leave his law enforcement job. They have a GoFundMe page set up for anyone who would like to help out with medical expenses.