Ocala Man has more time to get a Heart Transplant
He may not have the heart of a lion, physically, but a man from Ocala has demonstrated great courage in facing his medical troubles.
Two months ago doctors didn't know how much longer 34 -year- old Karon Johnson had left to live because he has a weakening heart.
One reason he was able to have surgery was because the community decided to help.
Johnson's insurance covered the price tag for the pump, which is about 200- thousand dollars, but the community helped with medication he needs for after the surgery.
Back in June friends and family held a yard sale where they raised over $5,000 in one day.
"How are you doing today, are you doing alright," said Dr. Charles Klodell.
Thirty-four -year-old Karon Johnson of Ocala said he feels a whole lot better than how he used to feel before he had surgery at Shands Hospital.
"It's just wonderful, just to have everything fall in line and in place. For this to happen for me. It makes me feel good," said Johnson.
He suffers from a heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy.
"The heart muscle, the actual muscle fibers themselves are in a bit of a disarray and they can't work in a cohesive manner and overtime the heart enlarges to the point where it begins to fail," said Dr. Klodell.
Dr. Klodell said it got to the point where Johnsons' heart could not support his body safely.
About two months ago Johnson could barely walk and talk without taking some deep breaths every few seconds.
The only thing supporting him at that time was medicine that would make his heart beat a little harder.
"But it was apparent that, that wasn't going to be enough to support him the transplant," said Dr. Klodell.
His only option to buy more time was getting an implantable pump. With help from friends and family his option became reality.
"So he had a left ventricular assist device, which is a small titanium pump implanted to take over the function of the left side of his heart," said Dr. Klodell.
Dr. Klodell said the pump serves as a bridge to get him a transplant in the future.
"What this will do is allow him to have a normal functionally life and do all the things you and i enjoy doing everyday," said Dr. Klodell.
normal daily activities that johnson couldn't do before… but now it's a different story.
" I feel like I can accomplish more things now than before," said Johnson.
Once Johnson gets his strength back he will be activated on the heart transplant list.
In the meantime, Dr. Klodell said the pump can last for as long as they need it to.
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