6.12.14

BLOGMAS DAY 6 || A Post-Transplant Christmas...

BLOGMAS DAY 6

Having been in the Transplant community for nearly 3 and half years now when all this lovely stuff started I happened to get to 'meet' and talk to some lovely people and I wanted to do a post on those friends that I knew who were pre-transplant and became post transplant and what Christmas now means to them now that they are post transplant. Two you will definitely know; Bernice and Kath and this will be their second Christmas since transplant although they were still in their recovery stages last Christmas. Then there are two people who you may not know Maxine and Holly who both got their transplants this year and this will be their First Christmas since their transplants. Enjoy guys!


Holly
My name is Holly Pereira, I'm 21 years old, I had a Double Lung transplant and waited 2 years.

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, most people think of this as presents and material things, but for me no present will ever top what some-one has given me. Earlier this year I received the most amazing gift, and that was the gift of life, given to me by a complete stranger! 

This Christmas I am lucky enough to still be alive and able to enjoy the little things I struggled so much to do, for a very long time, and mostly to be able to breathe, all thanks to that one person and their family! They chose organ donation at a time of tragedy and saved my life in doing so - last Christmas Day I was lying in a HDU (High Dependancy Unit) ward and my time was running out! So this Christmas me and my family will definitely be raising a glass of bubbly to my angel up in the sky to say thank-you, because without them I wouldn't be here this Christmas!! 

Holly <3 
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Bernice
Christmas 2014.

This time last year i was in Papworth hospital, with no decorations, no Christmas films and very few people around me. I was very ill and needed a Double Lung transplant desperately... December was my 15th month on the waiting list, and i spent all my days in hospital. I was on 5lts of Oxygen just at rest and needed a wheelchair to get about. I was truly ill. But one night on the 4th December 2013 at 3.30am a nurse woke me up to tell me they were 99% sure they had some lungs for me. At 7am i was in theatre having my life saving transplant.

Two weeks later was Christmas day, I was allowed home for the day but I was still recovering so I wasn't feeling great still. I am very much looking forward to this Christmas out of hospital and home with all my family In a year my life has completely changed! I have been able to live and make the most out of my new lungs, I have been on weekends away, day trips out and just spending quality time with my friends and family. This year I have also fallen in love as well. Its been an amazing year.

So this Christmas I am most looking forward to seeing my little brothers and my sister open their presents and just enjoying the run up to Christmas day. I am doing so much stuff in December, truly making up for last year and the years before when I have just been in bed to ill to move. I know I wouldn't be here right now without my brave Donor. Their selfless act means i get to celebrate days and months and years with every one I love.
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Kath 
Hi, I am Kathryn, I am just over one year post heart and double lung transplant. I waited just over two years for my transplant, as there is such a huge shortage of organ donors and I needed three organs all at the same time to be able to get better. I used to have pulmonary hypertension like Stacie. 


Christmas has always been a special time for me, it is one of my favourite times of year. As a little girl it always felt magical to me and this has stayed with me forever. I always love buying the presents, putting up the decorations and especially trimming the Christmas tree.

Christmas morning is always a special one in our household, we still do all the things we did when our two girls were little. We have Christmas caroles and songs playing while we watch the girls opening all the gifts in their Christmas stockings and then take our time opening the other presents under the tree, while having a bit of brunch and a bucks fiz. Then we get the meal ready and have a nice long lazy afternoon enjoying the best meal of the year, roast turkey. We always cook duck too, as my girls, Sarah and Rose enjoy that.

Christmas took on a new meaning when I became poorly, as I just never really knew whether it may be my last one, so it became even more special for all of us. A quiet time for us to be together and enjoy ourselves as a family.

I always seemed to have an emergency with my illness every single time in the weeks just before Christmas and every single time, managed to get home just by a whisker in time for Christmas Eve. The nurses at my hospital, Papworth, used to laugh and say I was trying my best to have my Christmas dinner at Papworth.

Last Christmas was the most emotional one I'd ever had, it was nearly three months after my transplant and I was recovering well. Nothing could have prepared me for it. I cried the minute I opened my eyes on Christmas morning because I knew I'd had the most wonderful gift anyone could have already and I was going to have precious time with my family once more, thanks to the very special lady who was my donor and her kind and thoughtful family.

This Christmas I've got a few wishes: that there wasn't such a shortage of organ donors; that everyone could be as lucky as me and get a second chance at life and above all I wish Stacie will get her transplant very soon. (After she has enjoyed her birthday and Xmas though and then then the phone call can come - come on Santa Claus work your magic!)

Merry Christmas! 
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Maxine
Last Christmas, I was 5 months into my wait on the Liver transplant waiting list and I was feeling more unwell and weaker than I had ever felt before. The affects of Primary Sclerosing Cholangtis (the rare auto-immune liver disease I was diagnosed with when I was 17) were limiting my life to the point where it was pretty much on hold. At the age of 24, I was unable to work towards my future, I wasn't fit to work any kind of job let alone work in Dance which I had planned to do since I started studying at the age of 16. I could;t travel, I could only get out and about to see my friends when I felt well enough... that wasn't often! I suffered with debilitating fatigue, severe all over itching which meant that even regular clothing was uncomfortable! The toxins that my liver was no longer able to get rid of were travelling to my brain, leaving me feeling in a constant daze, unable to think clearly, becoming easily confused and unable to maintain a normal sleeping pattern. It was a miserable time and although I always tried to continue to live my life as best I could, I spent a lot of the christmas period asleep, or stuck on the sofa or in bed and unable to really enjoy time with my family which for me, is what Christmas is all about. its almost as if I wasn't really 'there'. 

As well as the extreme physical toll it was taking on me, I also had the worry and emotional strain of the uncertainty of my future to deal with. When you are waiting on the transplant list there is no getting away from the fact that three people are dying everyday because their call didn't come in time. There is no escaping the reality that there just aren't enough people who are willing to donate their organs after death. There's no shutting off from any of that because ultimately, it is those facts that could potentially kill you. Christmas or not, it doesn't go away and it doesn't just take it's toll on the person waiting for a transplant, it affects their family too. Although the situation was out of my control I could;t help but feel guilty for the burden I was placing on my family. They never ever failed to support me, push me through the dark time or let me get swept away in the enormity of the situation I was in. They would never allow me to feel guilty but I couldn't help it. 

Waiting on the transplant list is an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved and a situation I would never wish upon anyone. I am one of the lucky ones. On October 1st 2014, I received a new Liver. I have been given the most precious gift anyone could ever receive - the gift of life. The gift I had been waiting for, for 15 months

This year I will be able to spend Christmas with my family, feeling full of life and gratitude instead of feeling lifeless and worried that my call might not come in time, worried that I may not get another Christmas. For me and my family, this Christmas will be a time of thanks. A time to celebrate life and to thank my donor and their family for giving me my life back. 

At some point during their life a person chose to sign the organ donation register and at the tragic time of their death, in the midst of their grief, their family courageously decided to grant their wishes and donate that person organs. They chose to save my life!

Please think about joining the organ donor register, you could save live one day! www.organdonation.nhs.uk 

My call came in time. When you're writing your Christmas lists or thinking of all the things you want this Christmas, take one moment to think about the people waiting for a life saving transplant, there will only be one thing on their Christmas lists.  

As always, thank-you for reading guys and Merry Christmas
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