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David Shore says he is grateful for the love and support of his family and friends, especially his
wife, Tina, left, and daughter Chelsey.
SUBMITTED PHOTO




Originally published: 2012-10-29 11:48:44
Last modified: 2012-10-29 12:28:14

Watauga man preps for new lungs, liver

by Sherrie Norris

After six years of battling a degenerative lung disease known as pulmonary fibrosis, Watauga County native David Shore is hoping to breathe a little easier in the near future as he prepares for a double lung transplant. 

Additionally, Shore expects to receive a new liver at the same time. Damage to his own liver, he said, resulted from medication used to treat his lung disease.

Shore recently completed an extensive weeklong evaluation at Duke University Medical Center to prepare him for the next step in his journey to wellness -- a series of at least 23 sessions of pulmonary rehabilitation leading up to his official placement on the transplant list.

For Shore and his family, that's good news, but it also means relocating to Durham for at least six months (maybe a year, depending on the surgery's success) and a mountain of medical and living expenses, which will include costly anti-rejection drugs that far exceed their reserve.

"The good Lord has brought us this far and I'm not giving up, yet," said the determined 56-year-old husband and father who continues to supervise his small landscape business despite his weakened condition.  

"I can't do much physically, but my crew has been so good to me and have kept things going," he said. "If I didn't have those guys, I'd really be lost."

Increased and continuous oxygen is now required, due to Shore's rapidly decreasing ability to breathe independently, resulting in additional complications. 

"My wife, Tina, who has worked for 27 years with Dr. Mayhew's office, has had to take a leave of absence from her job, earlier than expected, to help take care of me," he said. "She's the best caregiver anyone could ask for. I would be long gone from this place if it hadn't been for her."

The couple's 20-year-old daughter, Chelsey, a college student in Florida,  will be transferring to the Durham campus of her school to be near her parents.   

"I have wonderful family members, and more friends than I ever knew I had, who have come to my side during these last few years," Shore said. "I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination to have people who care enough to be there for us."

Those closest to the Shores are hoping that the community will surround this family in its time of need. 

"People have been so good, in the past, to help with fundraisers -- golf tournaments and car shows," Shore said, for which he said he was "extremely grateful."

However, those funds have been absorbed through Shore's exorbitant medical expenses; his insurance falls way short of meeting the current and future needs, family members said.

"Duke wants us to have $40,000 up front before the transplant," Shore said. "We just don't have that kind of money."

The Shores were told that the cost of a liver is about $470,000, an amount they expect to triple with the addition of the lungs. 

The stress of worrying over meeting the financial needs is taking its toll on Shore, family members said, compounded by his deteriorating condition, noticeably worse in the last three months. 

Shore is humbled by the community response that he and his family have received since his diagnosis. 

"I've never been one to ask for anything. I can't stand the thoughts of even asking to use someone's screwdriver, let alone money," he said. "But, I am thankful that there is a chance I can live longer with new organs and, hopefully, in some way, try to repay the kindness that I've been shown." 

The most important thing that he needs, Shore said, is prayer. 

There is no known cause of his disease, Shore said, and no cure aside from a lung transplant. 

"They don't think it's hereditary, but other family members (on my mother's side) have had similar issues with their lungs," he said.  "One cousin recently had a lung transplant and another died with the same diagnosis that I have."  

Shore has required numerous hospitalizations since his diagnosis, prior to which he was "in great shape," he said. 

"I thought I had bronchitis and, despite seeing my doctor and getting several prescriptions, I just couldn't get over it," he said.

After a chest X-ray revealed "something questionable," Shore said, he was told that he had  the worst kind (out of 200-plus types) of pulmonary fibrosis. 

"With this type of lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, scar tissue grows and builds in my lungs, causing them to harden it to the point of leaving nothing to breathe with," he said. "It generally results in a pretty fast deterioration, but I've been blessed that it's been a slower progression for me."

Shore is now in what's called "the window of transplant," and time is no longer on his side, he said. The son of Bob Shore, he grew up between Boone and Blowing Rock and is a 1974 graduate of Watauga High School. He has owned and operated Shore Lawnscaping for several years. 

For 21 years prior, he worked in the local ski industry. His family attends Arbor Dale Presbyterian Church in Banner Elk.

"I'm still trying to hold my own," Shore said, referring to a quote by "Mr. Darlin'" on The Andy Griffin show -- 'We like to uphold our place in the community."

Tax-deductible donations to help the Shore family may be made at both local branches of the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union in Boone or made via Paypal at http://www.shoredukefund.com.

For more information and updates, as available, visit the above website or follow David's Lungs for Life on Facebook.