I thought that I should really finish off this week's blogs myself, since my own need for a transplant was due to Cystic Fibrosis.I had a happy and healthy childhood. I don't remember feeling that different from my friends; even though I had the daily regime of physiotherapy, nebulisers, antibiotics and inhalers to fit in, my parents never treated me any differently.
As I grew older, the lung element of the disease began to show itself, with increased hospital admissions, a chestier cough. By the time I went to university, my lungs were functioning at about 45%, and whilst I was able to live independently and have a fantastic time, I tired far quicker than my friends, became breathless very easily, and hospital admissions were now more frequent and lasted up to a month at a time.
In 2004, I was told I needed overnight oxygen. Then later that year, a wheelchair. Watching my lungs decline in function was frightening and frustrating, but I accepted these weapons and used them to fight back, to try and retain some independence. In 2005, I was told that my lung damage was so severe, I would need a double lung transplant in order to survive. I was given a prognosis of about 12 months without one.
Due to the shortage of donors, I had to cling on for 22 months before my call finally came. I was extremely ill by the time I got my call, which in turn meant my recovery was much more complex and prolonged than it could have been. However in March 2007, I was finally discharged from Harefield hospital, and walked out of the hospital doors for the first time in years with no oxygen, no wheelchair, no wires or gadgets at all. It felt strange, unfamiliar, frightening...and indescribably exciting.
People often asked me what else has changed as well as my breathing, and it would actually be easier to try and find something that hasn't changed. Gone is my pale and scrawny frame, gone is my whispy hair and weak voice. I can breathe, so I can talk, sing and laugh without pain. I can walk, I can climb stairs, I can work, I can be a sister, a friend, a daughter, a wife, and not a dependant. I have ambitions, I have dreams and goals....I have a future.
I am only here today thanks to the incredible gift of organ donation, but I have lost far too many of my CF friends, whose calls did not come in time. People with Cystic Fibrosis are living longer and fuller lives than ever before, but it is a disease that still takes 2 lives every week. Please, take a look at the CF Trust's website, and please, sign the organ donor register.
Thank you x