I was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Although my life was never defined by my disease, by the time I reached the age of 26, I could no longer escape its grip.
During that year I consistently contracted pneumonia. I seemed to experience an acceleration in my disease and I was declining fast.
Upon examination, my lungs were extensively scarred from a lifetime of coughing. My doctor visited me and said that I would need a double lung transplant within the next couple of years. I was devastated by this news and refused to believe it.
Meanwhile, my life changed considerably. I was forced to give up my work and I was put on oxygen. My attitude also changed during this time, and I now wanted the operation to happen. This was just ten months after my doctor’s diagnosis.
I was placed on the waiting list and miraculously I only waited a matter of weeks. I became one of the earliest double lung transplant recipients in Australia. I remember asking one of my doctors how long I might live? He responded cautiously, “Nobody knows but you may live a year”. After receiving my transplant, my life changed positively in almost every way. I felt limitless and euphoric.
My gratitude towards my donor was very emotional. I’ve always felt that the best way to re-pay my donor’s gift was to live my life the best way possible at all times.
I have since lived every day with purpose and have achieved some pretty amazing things. I felt that what I was given is “bonus life” and a unique opportunity to live life large. Most healthy people cruise through life without ever having the opportunity to truly live.
Today I am a proud long term survivor of a double lung transplant. My life has been nothing short of challenging, exciting and beautiful...and a great story to tell in the pub!
Organ donation and transplantation are true miracles. I will always be extremely grateful.