Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Gift of Life

After watching the news this week, the most poignant events that have overridden everything are the terrorist attacks and developments unfolding in Paris. I think this week has brought home to everyone how fragile life can be and just how much we should value every day. It's been shocking to see just on the TV and the thought to have been there amongst it is unimaginable. Paris is a place I love and I have so many happy memories of wonderful times there - it's difficult to associate this violence with such a beautiful and vibrant city.

It's beyond imagination that there are people who have so little value for life - both their own and the lives of others. There are no words to describe the gulf between these militant few and the majority of us ordinary people just wishing to live our lives peacefully. I think of the contrast between our medical staff who fight hard every day to save lives like mine and then those who recklessly destroy it with no care or thought -there isn't a bridge that can cross it. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Paris and everyone affected by the destruction there this week. 

I have had a few clinic visits recently and at my latest one this week was told my new heart and lungs are in pristine condition - so I was thrilled and delighted at that. I'm still juggling problems with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and now the latest problem is high cholesterol. These have been caused by my immunesuppressant drugs so there's been quite a bit of changing medication and blood tests going on to ensure that things are kept in the best possible order. I was supposed to have an infusion  to help my bones because of osteoporosis, which is another side effect of the drugs, but they couldn't go ahead with it as it's too damaging for my kidneys, so I've been given another oral drug to try and help this instead. It all seems to be all about juggling the medication to keep us patients in optimal condition and I'm pleased I have such a knowledgable team of medics looking after me.

These are all problems that I was made aware about before my transplant and they are all very common amongst transplant patients. It's always been a case of swapping one set of problems for another, but with the hope of having a much better quality of life. My transplant has certainly given me that and I try and value all that my donor has given me every day. To hear the consultant say that my heart and lungs are in pristine condition is a pretty wonderful and encouraging thing. It always brings it home to me how life is so very precious.

A few weeks ago I was nominated for an 'Unsung Hero' award for my local paper's - the Hertfordshire Mercury -  Community Awards. My nomination was for promoting awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension and Organ Donation. It's something of an honour, although the real unsung heroes are my donor, their family and the medical teams that fought so hard to keep me alive. Because of my nomination, the paper did a feature about me and my transplant, so I was delighted that PH and organ donation made it in the papers once more. That's what it's all about for me - raising awareness in the hope that it may help someone else one day - in the same way I've been helped.

I had the wonderful news this week that I am one of the finalists, so once again I'm delighted. Next week we are off to the awards ceremony, which will be held at Hanbury Manor in Ware. I'm delighted because hopefully the causes of PH and Organ Donation will have another mention and to another new audience at the awards ceremony. It's not important to me about winning - it isn't about winning at all - just important that there will be another mention of these causes that are dear to my heart. There will be a drinks reception, dinner and then the awards ceremony, so it will be a lovely event to take part in. It will be a privilege and I'm looking forward to it.

It's been a week that's highlighted just how much life is so precious and needs to be enjoyed and embraced to the full. The gift of life is the most ultimate gift we have.

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