Friday, 28 March 2014

Six Months On ...

It is Mother's Day, a very special day for many. It just so happens to be exactly six months now since my life saving transplant, so a very poignant day for me and making me more thankful than ever for Mother's Day. 

The transplant feels some time ago, but then not long ago: it is slowly paling into the past, but then again still raw. It has been an incredible journey and we have been amazed at my recovery and the new lease of life I have been given by my donor and their family. 

It is now officially spring time, the clocks go forward this weekend and we will have the lighter nights, this weekend has been mild and sunny so far and the garden has burst into colour. I'm feeling so much better now, it's as though the huge improvement in my health has coincided with the end of a long wet winter. Spring always signals new life and here I am, lucky enough to be enjoying a new and better life. 

I have been given much more than I'd dared ever hope for. Others who had had their transplants had told me I would be running up hills again and travelling again and would feel much better, but I wasn't quite so sure this would be possible. I just hoped, after seeing the difficulties that some of my other friends faced with their transplants, that I would be as well as I was before my transplant, but maybe have a better prognosis and at best I hoped to feel marginally better. I was just trying to be realistic I think and didn't want to end up disappointed. 

Instead the outcome of my transplant has completely shocked me. It hasn't always been an easy ride and there are still some issues to resolve and no doubt there will be more to face in the future, but for now there is an incredible difference in my health and in what I can now manage to do and achieve in a day. For now, it is a simple case of living in the moment and enjoying each day as it comes. 

The wheelchair has now been relegated to the back of a cupboard and I am able to walk for a good few miles at a time and at a good pace. All the bathroom aids - stools, chairs, rails, steps - have joined the wheelchair in the back of the cupboard and I am bathing and showering like any normal person. I am driving again and have gained my complete independence back. I can go out and about on my own again confidently, my anxieties about my illness and feeling so unwell and unsafe when being out on my own have completely lifted. I'm settled into a good routine with my medication, there are no intravenous drugs anymore, no nebulisers or restrictive drugs such as diuretics. 

I am trying to keep my physio going, so I use my exercise bike and Wii Fit regulary and try and keep active throughout the day. I try to get out for a decent walk as often as I can too. I lost a lot of weight after my transplant and have struggled to put it back on, but I've managed to get where I want to be now  - with the help of a few creme eggs and cream teas! Cake and creme eggs aside, I'm trying hard to eat healthily too. My energy levels are high now, gone are the days of rest, rest, rest all of the time, now it is just taking a short rest from time to time. 

I have always concentrated on exercise, eating and rest since I came home after my transplant as I really believed it was my key to getting myself healthy again and it seems to have worked. 

There are lots of things that were hard at first after the transplant, which have now got easier. The medication and its effects on me seem to have settled. I had to be really careful with what I could eat at first, not only because of food that is at more risk of infection, which I still don't eat, but because of how the medication affected my stomach. Now some of the medication has reduced, I am much more settled and have been able to introduce more foods to my diet and am eating normally again. There was a time during those first three or four months when I was known to whip a cheese butty out of my bag while we were out because that was all I could manage! 

The medication and the trauma of the transplant also caused my sleeping patterns to go completely haywire. For months I had insomnia and would lay awake for hours on end every night feeling like someone had plugged me into the electricity. The doctors assured me this was all quite normal, so I decided to just ride this one as calmly as I could and eventually as things settled down, my sleep improved too and now I'm sleeping normally most nights. I think having better sleep has added to my sense of feeling so much better. 

I know I have had a lot of good luck on my side and I appreciate and value every day as each day comes. Today is a special one being Mother's Day and it feels wonderful to be celebrating it with my family, feeling so well once more and with hope for the future. 

I want to thank everyone at Papworth for all they have done to get me this far, at times they have moved mountains and they are always there ready to give support. 

I can't help thinking of my donor at this time too and I know the family will feel their loss on this special day. They are in our thoughts and prayers. It is a bittersweet and a very emotional day. 

I hope from my blog that you can see first hand what a difference organ donation can make to someone's life.  I have friends still waiting to have life saving transplants too. Their lives are on hold as they are having to wait far too long for a chance of a new life, because of the shortage of organ donors. Please sign up to be an organ donor  - the link is below. 


  1. Happy Mother's day to you, you've come a long way in 6 months. Lovely photos!


  2. Thank you Nicole, it has been a lovely day!