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Published September 19, 2013, 08:10 PM

Robin Huebner Reports: Fargo boy who had double-lung transplant returning home in time for Bison game

FARGO – They had to stay much longer than hoped, but the timing of their return trip couldn’t be better.

By: Robin Huebner, INFORUM

FARGO – They had to stay much longer than hoped, but the timing of their return trip couldn’t be better.

Jordan Peterson, the 10-year-old boy who left Fargo with his family nearly a year ago so he could have a double-lung transplant in Texas, is on his way back home.

Jordan was released from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston on Wednesday, three months to the day after his successful transplant, said his father, Dan Peterson.

The family left Houston Thursday morning in their RV and plans to arrive in Fargo tonight, in time for Bison football Saturday and the hoopla surrounding ESPN’s “College GameDay” coverage before the game.

Jordan, younger brother Jesse, and parents Annette and Dan are all diehard Bison fans.

“They must have heard Jordan was coming back,” Peterson said about the timing of ESPN’s arrival.

No sign of rejection

Before Jordan could get his “exit instructions” from Texas Children’s, he had to go through a battery of tests.

The lungs Jordan was born with were diseased by cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung condition. A bronchoscopy Tuesday showed no signs his body is rejecting the transplanted donor lungs.

Doctors did, however, find some scar tissue in one of Jordan’s bronchial tubes, which they said could explain why his pulmonary function isn’t as high as hoped.

Peterson said doctors were able to snip that tissue out during the bronchoscopy.

“Overall, he’s done remarkably well,” he said.

In fact, Jordan has a green light to play hockey again and pursue other activities when he gets home.

Jordan needs to return to Texas Children’s for checkups every three months for the next two years.

“We already have our December appointment lined up,” Peterson said.

“They told Jordan, ‘This is the moment when you get on with the rest of your life,’ ” he said.

Life no longer on hold

The Peterson family’s lives were put on hold when they left Fargo for Texas last September.

They set up their home base at a Houston RV park, and Annette home-schooled the boys.

“We were thinking we’d be there 6 to 7 months,” Dan Peterson said.

Instead, Jordan had to wait twice as long as the average wait time for viable lungs, and endured several transplant “dry runs.”

When the family passed the six-month mark in Houston with no transplant, they sold their house in Fargo and moved all of their belongings into storage.

With Jordan’s post-transplant recovery on track, smoother sailing is ahead.

The family recently bought a new house in Fargo, with plans to close on it later this month.

Being a family again

The Peterson family is thrilled to be coming home.

“It’s hard to capture the excitement we feel,” Peterson said.

Part of that excitement involves Jordan and brother Jesse getting back to school at Oak Grove elementary as fifth- and third-graders.

Oak Grove is equally excited to have them back.

“It’s a buzz,” said Josh Kading, Oak Grove elementary principal. “It’s on everybody’s radar.”

Kading said the school will welcome Jordan back with signs and NDSU Bison decorations on his locker. Other plans are also in the works.

He said he’s been impressed by how Jordan has handled his ordeal.

“He’s had such a mature, unshakable faith,” Kading said. “It’s had a positive impact on others.”

‘GameDay’ almost here

While Jordan gets back to school on Monday, Bison football will come first.

In addition to the game and tailgating at the Fargodome, Jordan wants to take in the “College GameDay” action in downtown Fargo Saturday morning.

“He wants to see (ESPN commentator) Lee Corso put Thundar on his head,” Peterson said, thereby predicting another Bison victory.