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Valley Man Is Grateful to be Alive and Celebrating This Thanksgiving Season

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When Gilbert resident Jim Seaton sits down at the table for dinner this Thanksgiving, he'll be reminded, as he always is, of one telephone call during dinner that saved his life.

Having relied on supplemental oxygen since 2010, Seaton suffered from advanced lung disease for more than four years before being referred to the Norton Thoracic Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s for lung transplant in June 2013.

After extensive testing and being treated for exposure to tuberculosis, Seaton was listed for a double lung transplant on October 3, 2013. Only three days later, his life changed while sitting at the dinner table.

“I was sitting at the table with my wife, Doris, when St. Joseph’s called,” Seaton remembers. “I’ll never forget that call. They asked if I’d started eating yet and I told them I had just sat down to dinner. I was told to stop eating, because they were on their way to evaluate a pair of donor lungs for me. That was October 6th. I was transplanted on the 7th.”

Seaton spent 14 days in the hospital after his transplant. Lung transplants are among the most complicated surgical procedures. Following surgery, lung transplant recipients receive lifelong care and regular check-ups with transplant pulmonologists.

Pulmonologist and medical director of lung transplantation at St. Joseph’s Norton Institute, Rajat Walia, MD, notes that Seaton has been uniquely positive throughout the process and has had an outstanding recovery.

Happily crossing things off his bucket list and grateful to be alive, Seaton says it’s all about attitude.

“I’ve always been positive, trusting in the Lord and the great people at St. Joseph’s. They saved my life. Because of them, I get to spend every day loving my family. I was here for the birth of two more grandkids in January. I had the chance fly to South Carolina in March to see my 97-year-old mother again—neither one of us ever expected that to happen. I crossed two post-transplant bucket list items in April when I walked through the finish line for Laura’s Run and in May when I competed in an annual golf tournament for St. Joseph’s Lung Transplant Support Organization. Then in July, Doris and I crossed off another item on the bucket list when we spent 10 days in Alaska. It’s just one amazing blessing after another.”

After a small celebration with his wife last year while he recovered from the complex transplant surgery, Seaton is looking forward to two gratifying Thanksgiving celebrations this season.

“I feel so blessed, every day,” says Seaton, 65. “I’m surrounded by family and friends and working on my bucket list. Last year, I couldn’t even have the grandkids near because my lungs were so new and delicate. Thanksgiving will never be the same, because I’m so incredibly grateful. This year, I’ll be celebrating with a traditional dinner the weekend before at that special table with wife, my kids and grandkids. Then, we will head up to Show Low for another celebration with close friends on Thanksgiving Day.” — St. Joseph’s

Publish date: 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

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