Valmeyer transplant recipient has heart - Republic-Times | News

Valmeyer transplant recipient has heart

By on December 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Karen and Lenny Schwarze

Blood is pumping through his veins once again. Feelings of youthfulness and vitality have returned and put a spring in his step.

After a lengthy battle with heart disease and feelings of listlessness, Lenny Schwarze of Valmeyer has emerged victorious. The 50-year-old was given a second chance with a successful heart transplant in July.

“My energy is up more than the last five years, probably,” he boasted.

A 1985 Valmeyer High School graduate, Lenny found himself battling a viral infection at the age of 37 that would soon morph into a host of other complications. But the tipping point came during he and his wife Karen’s 15th wedding anniversary.

“He was having troubles with his breathing and we knew something wasn’t right,” Karen said. “So we took him to the doctor for an X-ray, and he said he has an enlarged heart.”

“If you don’t know, it sounds like you’re going to die,” Lenny said of the news.

His condition continued to worsen and eventually led to congestive heart failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of those diagnosed with the condition die within five years.

The doctor told Lenny in May he would become another statistic if he didn’t get the transplant. For a time, he worried that he would – especially as he watched other transplant patients succumbing to their diseases.

“The day before the transplant, Lenny saw a lot of people getting wheeled out and dying. He was thinking that one of those times it would be him,” Karen said. “But the nurse we had was great. 

“She came in and talked to him and told him that they all had a different situation for a number of reasons. She said that isn’t his destiny…>>>

Read the rest of the story in the December 6  issue of the Republic-Times.

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Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years.