Wednesday, 10 June 2015
A Transplant and a Wedding
The last couple of weeks have been absolutely amazing.
There we were knee deep in finalising all the wedding plans, I kept finding myself a bit overwhelmed and very emotional that this was even all happening. We were just working towards getting all the house organised, drink and food bought in readiness for a house full of guests both before the wedding and for a celebration party on the Sunday afterwards - all this on top of finalising plans for the church and reception, altering outfits, pressing wedding and bridesmaids dresses and veils and all the other last minute things you do. All very exciting and emotional at the same time after all that planning for the last eighteen months.
We were just about ready to start the final rundown, which started with travelling to Lancashire and back to pick up my mum so she could join in the fun with us all. On arriving back it would then be the wedding rehearsal on Thursday at the church, followed by a family meal and then on Friday, Sarah, the bridesmaids and my sister and family would join us all throughout the day and us girls were having nails done and then another family meal was planned before the big day.
It was all stepping up a gear and now getting quite emotional. All was going perfectly: busy, busy and then right out of the blue I was roused at 5.30 am by my mobile phone ringing...
I still have my mobile phone by my bed, just like I had during the wait for my own transplant. It has been there every night for a very long time, waiting for yet another all important call. An odd time I will forget to put it there and I cannot sleep until I've gone back down the stairs to retrieve it, as it may just be the 'night' it may ring.
I know who it will be right away when I wake to the ringing - I have even been half dreaming of her, as despite her own despair she has been supportive and excited about the wedding - she has just shared my last blog about the wedding; she is supposed to be coming to the wedding. Lots of us close friends have been trying to keep her boosted, trying to take her mind off the fact she has had to wait for well over three long years now and her transplant still hasn't happened - only three awful false alarms. Having endured a wait for just over two years, I know how difficult this can be. It is unimaginable to think of a wait that is that long: when you are feeling so poorly amidst what feels like is becoming a hopeless situation. We are all running out of things to say really; frightened of losing hope ourselves even.
'Hi Kath, I've got my transplant call...' says an animated and excited Stacie - so many of us have been waiting for this day. I'm so excited scrabbling around with my phone and half asleep, it falls from my hands and drops off the bed! It is a long, long day as we wait for news - firstly whether it's even a go ... after three false alarms we wait with some caution ... then before 2pm Stacie phones again - we exchange some 'good lucks', some 'love yous' and then she is gone - there isn't really time to say all we need to say to one another ... another long wait. I expect it to be past midnight if my operation is anything to go by, but no - not our amazing Stacie - we get news on and off that things are proceeding well and by around 8.30pm all has gone to plan and the operation is complete.
In the early hours of the morning there is more news - all is still well and they are going to wake her from sedation. It carries on - simply amazing - there are no words - bypass equipment is removed, ventilators are removed and Stacie is even trying breakfast and then strawberries for lunch. It is like a miracle ... We are all thrilled and everyone's emotions are running high ... if you are a similar transplant patient, you tend to relive it all again and feel every step of the way and all the emotions. It is all too overwhelming, as emotions are already running high in our household - we laugh; we cry with happiness; we keep on welling up. Stacie keeps on doing well...
Then back to the wedding, we start the final countdown in between the 'Stacie' updates - she's posting again on social media - her picture on twitter from her hospital bed captioned, 'I'm alive!' goes viral on social media - we are elated at her progress. Just before she posts this on twitter we get a text that says, 'Hi guys, I'm alive! Lol!' We are sat full of excitement and in tears in the car on a motorway service station en route to get my mum. Then driving back from mum's and there just happens to be a live broadcast of a heart transplant on Radio 5 Live - we listen - it's an incredible experience listening to someone relay what has happened to you - and what has just happened to Stacie - we are in awe it could possibly have happened to any of us. Emotions of all kinds are stirred up once more.
The wedding - Stacie - transplant - the wedding - Stacie - transplant - the wedding.... it is all surreal now - too many mixed up emotions. Every day is incredible - incredible news of Stacie; incredible that I am actually involved in organising my daughter's wedding and fit and well enough to enjoy all the frenetic build up...
Saturday arrives, the sun shines high in the sky and the wedding goes perfectly - an absolutely perfect end to one of the most emotional of weeks. A most brilliant and overwhelming day, one that I wouldn't have seen if it wasn't for my donor and to be able to live this day and celebrate with so many of my family and friends is a truly wonderful and magical experience.
It has been a dream come true for Stacie too, when she received her new heart and lungs. Her new life has now begun with a great start at long last - again all thanks to the kindness of a complete stranger. We managed to pop and see her just after the wedding and she looked fabulous and was so thrilled and excited she'd had her transplant.
Organ donation simply changes and transforms lives ...it can never be underestimated: the hope it brings; the priceless moments it enables us to share with our love ones; the future it offers to us.