Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. That diagnosis defined my future. A disease lacking cause or reason and without a transplant I had a relatively short future.
With urgency my specialist began pre-transplant testing and I was fortunate to be listed.
Like many other potential recipients the wait had begun. The hope of a suitable donor, the wait for another to give an indescribable bequest, the wait for that intangible gift and the worry. Would this insidious disease take my life first?
The challenge to friends, family and especially in my case my spouse, was to remain positive. They are so very helpless as they watch in silence while you gasp for breath. You struggle to carry out the simplest of tasks.
The sadness shows when you have to say 'sorry' to your grandkids who just want you to play with them. This journey touches, impinges and changes many around you. There was no guarantee of a future, just informal plans in the hope all goes well. The wait goes on.
The first call from the transplant team and with 30 minutes to get to the airport, you give thanks. Shortly after arrival the reality hits. It was evident that this was a false start, as regrettably the lungs were not suitable. We had been advised that this is often the case, so sadly back home to wait once again.
Serious deterioration was now taking place in my body and I was hospitalised locally. Things were starting to look very grim.
Positivity, trust and faith are the key for this miracle to take place. We had absolute trust in the wonderful medical teams and had absolute faith we would see this through.
The weeks, the days, the hours, the minutes go by. The wait goes on.
It is now seven months since the late night call and a successful transplant.
I am beginning to return to a semblance of normal life. Family and friends have been freed of their collective burdens.
I have had my 60th birthday, seen the birth of our eldest daughter's first baby, and hugged, played, and loved each of our grandkids.
Just being able to spend time with family and those special friends is life itself. Without them I could never have seen this journey through.
I have one person to thank for all this, a person that I will never meet, one who gave a gift of unimaginable generosity, and a gift that their family provided at a time of their own incredible sorrow.
I thank them sincerely for you have donated life to us all.