Sunday, 29 December 2013

Festive times

Christmas marked nearly three months since my transplant and I am feeling so much better now, which makes me appreciate even more than ever the wonderful gift of my new heart and lungs. We have enjoyed all the festivities with family and friends and it has all felt very special. I am walking much better -  further, steadier and speedier. I've been ordering everyone to speed up a bit, as they keep walking at my old slower pace - not anymore for me - once I get warmed up, I'm beginning to take off now! I can see wheelchairs and walking sticks being put in the back of a cupboard and me managing that good long walk in my walking boots coming within my grasp now!

Nothing could have prepared me for the explosion of emotions I felt on Christmas morning. I just felt shell shocked - shell shocked we had got to Christmas reasonably smoothly after the trauma of my transplant operation; shell shocked that I no longer have Pulmonary Hypertension after all this time; shell shocked I don't have to wear a pump and catheter continually; shell shocked I had actually had my long awaited transplant and, after all that waiting, that it had actually happened and I am emerging from the other side now. It was as though I couldn't quite believe we had got to this point and I'm still going forward, getting better each week, and for this I cannot thank my donor or their family enough for what they have done for me, giving me this chance of a brand new life and brand new opportunities, the chance to be really me again, to have myself back again like I used to be. 

Coupled with all these emotions were feelings of great sadness - sadness for the person, who had lost their life, which has enabled me to have a new one; sadness for the family of my donor, who will be trying to find a way through this first Christmas without their loved one, but still found the strength, in the most extenuating of circumstances, to agree to give me my gift of life. It was a very emotional day and I thought of my donor and their family throughout the day, as did Rob and the girls. I don't know how we can ever thank them for what they have done for my family, there is no greater gift that could be given or received. I truly hope that one day the family will find some comfort in that they have enabled lives to be transformed and changed for the better, because of the brave decision they have made. 

We had a few interviews with the local press about my transplant operation and to promote organ donation immediately before Christmas and Rob was on Jack FM Hertfordshire once again taking part in a live debate on the 'Opt - Out Scheme'. We were pleased to see that our story was on the front page of the Welwyn Hatfield Times and really hope it motivates people to sign up to the organ donor register. We were also in the Hertfordshire Mercury and Advertiser, so hopefully with both radio interviews and the press coverage we may have covered most of the Hertfordshire region with our campaign to get more people signing up to the organ donor register. The link to NHS Organ Donation is listed below (at the bottom of my blog), just click to sign up if you haven't already.

We had extra special news on Christmas Day, when Sarah and Oli got engaged, making Christmas even more special.  We were all so thrilled and delighted with the news and there is now so much to look forward to!  

With everything that has happened to us recently I was already in tears, so there were more tears, tears all day on and off! Tears of hope, tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of thankfullness, tears for a future, tears for life, tears for loss of life and loved ones. And there were toasts, toasts to loved ones we have lost, toasts to my family, toasts to the future, toasts to my donor, who is always with me now on my new journey and toasts to their family.

I have a future now, the hope for that, when all hope was dwindling as each year passed, can never be replaced. It is a treasure that I will always cherish whatever the future may hold. 

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