George Lachney was a deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office for nearly 17 years. He smoked but for the most part, he was in good shape.
"I tried out for SWAT and it was during the winter time. It was hard for me to breath during the running stuff," Lachney said.
Lachney didn't really think much of it but then he started feeling a bit odd. And he just kept coughing. So he went to the doctor.
"He diagnosed me with pulmonary fibrosis," Lachney said.
Pulmonary fibrosis a lung disease where the air sac in the lungs becomes scarred and stiff, which makes it hard to breathe. George knew exactly what it was.
"I knew my mother had it. I never of dreamed of me having it," Lachney said.
Lachney's mother died from complications related to pulmonary fibrosis. People with the disease usually die within 5 years of diagnosis. Lachney was diagnosed in 2012 so he's passed that 5-year mark but now he needs a lung transplant.
"When I wake up in the morning, I thank God I'm waking up in the morning, but I hate waking up because I start coughing," Lachney said.
The coughing often triggers muscle spasms. One of Lachney's lungs is only functioning at 30 percent capacity, so he has to be on oxygen 24 /7. Up until last year, he was still going to work even with the oxygen tank.
"I would go to work with it on. And then when I got to work, I would take it off. Nobody knew how bad I was or anything," Lachney said.
He finally got too sick to work and retired, but he gets short of breath doing the simplest things.
Lachney been on the transplant list for 3 weeks now, and it's a very scary time.
"You're not sure," Lachney said.
As he waits for his life-saving lung transplant, there are many factors that Lachney just can't control. But no matter what comes next, sitting down and giving up is just not an option.