Lung disease dad Alan Wheeldon 'looking to the future'
A MAN diagnosed with an incurable disease says he is "positive" about the future.
Alan Wheeldon was due to collect test results yesterday, which would give him more information about his condition – known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
The lung disease has no known cure but a transplant could buy Alan some more time.
The father-of-three said: "We went to the appointment hoping to have the results but, unfortunately, they hadn't been sent.
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"They give priority to cancer patients, so my results have been pushed back.
"But the specialist had spoken to the person who looked at my tests, and there was no indication of what caused my IPF.
"But it is still IPF, and not any other disorder, and I can now have a referral for an appointment with the transplant people."
Alan, who lives on the Bransholme estate with his wife Joanna and their children Ellie, Alan and Courtney, will be sent to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
There, Alan will have more tests done to get on the transplant register.
Alan, 46, said: "They will test my heart and check it is strong enough to accept a transplant.
"Then there will be other tests like bone scans and blood tests."
Although there is no indication Alan will ever find out the cause of his disease, he says he is more positive now he can go to Newcastle.
He said: "I always knew the results wouldn't change anything but I am just glad we are moving on to the next stage now.
"Of course, I might not be a suitable patient for a transplant, but it is a step in the right direction.
"I'm basically looking to the future and getting on with my treatment."
However, Joanna, 36, says she has found it hard to accept what is happening to her husband, whom she married in August.
She said: "I'm just a little bit numb about it at the moment.
"I was hoping we'd go to the hospital today and the results would come back and say it was all a mistake and they'd got it wrong.
"I find it hard seeing this happen to Alan, but I know together we can be strong."
Joanna and Alan are both urging Mail readers to sign an e-petition, calling for better services for people suffering from IPF.
The petition to the Department of Health says: "We want the Government to ensure that all patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are assessed for the lung transplant within the first year after diagnosis.
"Too many patients are dying waiting for a transplant."
The petition was started by Malcolm Weallans, who is a member of the Facebook group Pulmonary Fibrosis UK.
As the Mail went to press, it had 525 signatures, but 100,000 are needed for it to be debated in Parliament.
Visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39490 to sign the petition.