Months after his transplants, Jerry graduated from relying on a walker to working his way up the small hill near his apartment unassisted.
“It was like trying to climb Mount Everest, but I just kept being relentless and doing the best I could,” Jerry says. “It was a slow process.”
He took it one day at a time and remembered a mantra of motivation his parents instilled in him: “You cannot fail.”
A quarter of a mile walk soon turned into half a mile, to five miles, then an 11-mile walk to celebrate 10-years since his lung transplant and first-year liver and kidney anniversary.
The itch to exercise never left, and Jerry got back on the bike in the fall of 2022, one year after his surgery, and later returned to coaching the pole vault.
Dr. Arcasoy, who oversees Jerry’s post-transplant care, continues to see him at least every three months. His lung function has improved following his liver and kidney transplants, he says, as the excess fluid from his organ failure no longer restricts his lungs.
“We take care of patients as a team, not only through our multidisciplinary care but as a partner with the patient,” Dr. Arcasoy says. “From the doctors to the coordinators and schedulers, creating a close relationship with the people we care for is key to a successful outcome.”
Over the course of two decades of friendship, Jerry and Dr. Arcasoy discovered their mutual love for cycling, and they’ll be riding alongside each other in the 40-mile, 2023 TD Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City.
“It’s the ultimate wish for me as a physician to be able to work with a team that can get someone like Jerry to a stage where he can bike 40 miles, and do it together as patient and doctor,” Dr. Arcasoy says. “It can’t get any better than that.”
“My phenomenal team at NewYork-Presbyterian saved me more than once and helped me keep going,” Jerry says. “Riding with Dr. Arcasoy is a celebration of life. It’s a celebration of the fact that I’m here today because of NewYork-Presbyterian, my organ donors, and my cystic fibrosis centers. I believe in living in the forward of possibilities.”