I was born on the 17th November 1974, I was slow to feed & a bit blue colour skin. So I was put into the ‘special care baby unit’ at my local hospital (Northampton) for a week then referred to Oxford (Radcliffe Infirmary) for further tests. Before heading back to Northampton hospital they found out I had 4 holes in the centre of my heart where the blood flows through the holes. My condition was later called Eisenmenger’s Syndrome.
My parents were to expect that I would have blue nails & blue colour skin and that I wouldn’t expect to reach my 1st birthday. On my 2nd birthday I was referr
ed to Brompton hospital in London, where I had a heart surgery but they soon had to stop the procedure due to the pressure of my heart which damaged my lungs severely. I was told that at some stage of my life I was to have a Heart & Lungs transplant.
Throughout the years my family and I did various fundraising events & interviews for regional news & local paper/radio to support the Brompton hospital as I also still had to have regular tests at Brompton.
Before my transplant I had to wear an oxygen mask at night. Over the years my condition had been stable, I was to get involved with other activities like Brownies, gymnastics, choir practices, ballet, P.E. at school. Unfortunately I was always restricted due to breathlessness – I would have a ‘sit down’ for a breather before I join back in the fun.
After turning 18 I was referred to Harefield hospital which was in April 1993. I was to be put onto a ‘waiting list’ for a heart & lungs transplant at some stage. My condition was stable until around 1996 when I had start using a wheelchair and required oxygen support during the night.
In May 2000 I was privileged to become a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding but I had to come home after the reception for a rest & put the oxygen mask before I joined again for the evening.
After Christmas 2000 I had to have a stair-lift fitted as my condition was starting to deteriorate. In May 2001 my condition has worsened rapidly. I remember sitting in the local park as it was a lovely day, listening to a band but suddenly I was getting rather fidgety and becoming more breathless. I ended up in hospital where I stayed for 3 weeks.
From then on I needed to wear oxygen 24/7 & rely on the wheelchair and on the 30th May 2001 after another assessment at Harefield hospital I was placed onto the ‘urgent’ waiting list. I went back home but things were getting worse – I now needed a carer (which I hated) to come in on Monday-Friday mornings I also had to have a commode again – I hated it!!!
On the 25th June 2001, it was the 1st day of Wimbledon. I love to watch the tennis, so of course I enjoyed watching the game. We visited my sister and as we were about to go we received the phone call from Harefield to say that they may have a suitable ‘heart & lungs’ for me!!
After hours of waiting (they need to thoroughly check if the organs are ok to use for transplant) we were told my transplant was going ahead.
When my family came to see me on ITU after the operation they were so amazed to see me being ‘pink’ & looking so well even though I had drips everywhere!
I was on ITU for 34 days & placed in the ward for 8 weeks where received my daily exercise programme While I was on ITU I was able to have a telly as I loved the tennis so much there was no way I want to miss seeing or hearing about it 🙂
My 1st outing was the 1st Saturday of August in the wheelchair & eating ice cream, my cravings after transplant was carrot cake!
I came home on the 26th September 2001 where my ‘new’ life began…the car full of clothes, gifts, cards & of course loads of medications.
During the years I have kept myself really healthy with a lot of walking. I went back to work in September 2002 for 18 months. In April 2004 I became a proud auntie of a little boy called Thomas.
I have never been sporty due to my health restrictions so when I heard about the British Transplant Games and was told it not just a sport event but people just go there for fun – it is a big THANK YOU to our donors for ma
king things possible we would never dreamed of doing – I decided to give it a go. August 2013 was my 1st Transplant Games and I absolutely loved it! I did 3 sporting events and was so proud that I had the honour to carry the ‘Harefield’ banner. I even won a gold
medal in the ball throw!
In September 2010 on the annual Harefield fun run I was privileged to jog & do a brisk walk with my best friend whose husband had a lung transplant a year before. This felt incredible as I had never been able to jog before!
I am now 42 years old – an age I never thought I would see! I have made new friends along the way, have been able to see my 2 gorgeous nephews grow up, can play with them without getting breathless and going blue. All this thanks to my donor for making this possible.
I have now competed three transplant games, I won a gold medal at Sheffield & a bronze medal at Newcastle. This year I’m looking forward to go North Lanarkshire games.
Live today like it’s your last, life is too short & too precious and always tells a loved one you love them.