Monday, 28 December 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Here we are January 2016 - another brand new year and with it that sense and feeling of making a brand new start. That's definitely the case for me. I have had the most fabulous 2015, I didn't really believe I could ever have another year that was as fabulous as the year before when I had my heart and lung transplant -  the amazing recovery I had and the wonderful opportunities to live life to the full that came my way. 

2015 continued in a similar vein though, and I was able to experience some very special milestones like Rose's 21st, Sarah and Oli's wedding and our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Rob and I decided to make a few more dreams come true and we were lucky enough to go travelling to new and old places, both at home and abroad. We enjoyed a cruise for the first time ever and we travelled overnight on the Orient Express from Venice to Prague. The Orient Express had always been a life long dream of mine from being a little girl. I wouldn't have been able to do any of these things if it hadn't been for the very special person and their family who gave me the gift of life. They are always in my thoughts and at Christmas time and at the start of a brand new year these thoughts become more poignant, as I know it will be a very difficult time for the family.  

After we had celebrated our silver wedding, I had another lovely and unexpected surprise in November when I received a local community award from the Hertfordshire Mercury for promoting organ donation over the last few years. I had also decided that now I'd done plenty of travelling and got some of that out of my system, it was time for me to have another dog. I'd had a dog over twenty years ago and there hadn't ever seemed a right time to have another and now the timing felt just right. We'd searched hard to find the right one for our family and been and chosen him ready to bring him home in early December. 

Nearing the end of November, I'd thought this fabulous year was ending on a big high when we brought our new puppy home. I had busily started organising as much as I could in readiness for Christmas during November because of the new puppy as I knew he was going to be demanding on my time especially in those first few weeks. Rob had joked to me, 'Are you planning a hospital stay?' The last time I'd been this organised, I spent much of December in hospital and only just managed to come home late on Christmas Eve. I laughed off Rob's comment. 

During the last week in November though, I started feeling unwell and after seeing my transplant team initially and then my GP and having a course of strong antibiotics, I ended up being rushed by ambulance to my local hospital and then later being transferred to Papworth Hospital. My transplant team managed to get to the bottom of the problem and I started intravenous treatment for a transplant related virus that my body had somehow triggered called CMV. CMV isn't usually that serious in ordinary people,  but in immunesuppresed people and unborn babies it can be a lethal problem if it becomes out of control. It all became quite scary as the virus had took hold so much that it didn't look as though the treatment was working. I was told at this point that I would be in hospital for a least a few weeks even if it did work. 

On Christmas Eve I had some tests results that showed things were beginning to improve and it was all taking time just because the levels of the virus were so high. I was given permission to come home for a few hours on Christmas Day and each day over the Christmas weekend. So, although I was still in hospital, it felt like a very special Christmas Day to be able to spend time at home with my family, albeit a bit strange being in hospital too, as I was the only person on the ward. Rob and Rose had by this time collected our new puppy. They had been sending me lots of pictures of him and I'd been so looking forward to meeting him. It was my best Christmas present meeting him at last on Christmas Day. I was so happy! 

On New Year's Eve, I was advised the virus levels were improving, still far too high, but lowering enough for me to go on oral medication, which meant I could come home properly and continue my treatment and recovery at home. I was so delighted. I'd thought by this time I may be starting my new year in hospital and finishing the year on a bit of a low. But no, the year ended as I'd first thought back in November, on a high. On a high, because I was back on my way to recovery after a serious blip and back with my family and my new puppy. 

What better motivation to recover than having therapeutic cuddles with a puppy and now he's able to have short ten or fifteen minute walks, so we are building up our walking together until we can both walk for longer and further together in the New Year; it's a fresh start for me once more this New Year, walking myself back to fitness with my new little fun loving campanion. I'm sure there's going to be more dreams coming true too, as I've been reminded with this recent blip that life is very fragile and there isn't time to waste. I've got plans afoot. My only New Year's resolution is to keep on living life to the full with my family and friends and making sure I do all those things I've always dreamed of and more. 

Happy New Year to everyone and make sure you make time to live some of those dreams! 

NB. I will write more about CMV soon for those interested and especially to raise some awareness of the signs, symptoms and treatments

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