Lincoln man waiting for second double-lung transplant after COVID-19 infection causes rejection

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 3:59 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Imagine finally being able to breathe and live a normal life after battle cystic fibrosis since birth, only to have it taken away by COVID-19. That’s the reality a Lincoln man is dealing with today.

“At first there was a lot of denial, then anger,” 34-year-old Trenton Allsman said.

10/11 NOW stopped by Allsman’s Lincoln home, which is filled with the constant white noise of an oxygen compressor, which Allsman is reliant on for the first time in his life. Right now he has about 25% lung capacity.

“It’s like breathing through a bar straw,” Allsman said. “Or when you were horsing around with your siblings as a kid and they get you in a choke-hold. Like that all of the time.”

It’s because of COVID-19. Allsman tested positive in September of 2020.

“By October of that same year I was in the hospital with rejection,” he said.

Before COVID-19, Allsman said he was the “poster child” for post-lung transplant success at Nebraska Medicine.

“It was pretty amazing,” Allsman said. “I never felt normal and that’s the closest to normal I’ve ever felt. We were able to do a 5k.”

Now, he’s tethered to an oxygen machine and reliant on a feeding tube.

“It’s frustrating and annoying,” Allsman said.

He said he and his wife did their best to stay safe, by social distancing and wearing masks. However, after an organ transplant, a patient has to be on immune suppressants for life, weakening the immune system so it doesn’t attack the new organs.

“First and foremost get vaccinated,” Allsman said. “Second, wear a mask in public. It’s not about you, it’s about people like me.”

In the next few weeks, Allsman will do the final tests to determine if he can be put back on the transplant list. Then he’ll be waiting for the phone call.

“It will come, it’s just a matter of when,” Allsman said.

Allsman hasn’t been able to work and after the transplant surgery will be required to live in a hotel near the hospital for three months. He’s selling t-shirts and stickers, as well as taking donations through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association. You can donate to help Allsman here.

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