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Back on track

By Johnny

The first thing I remember when I woke up from a liver transplant operation was that I didn't have a headache. In the lead-up to my transplant my health got worse and worse. I always had a headache, felt tired and had no energy. I couldn't work, couldn't play with my kids and couldn't exercise.

I was diagnosed with a liver disease at 22, so I've known for years that one day I would ultimately need a transplant. Last year my condition deteriorated suddenly and I was put on the waiting list for a transplant.

The transplant team thought I wouldn't last 10 days without a new liver. It was an emotional time for my wife and quite stressful for my little girl who was old enough to understand her dad wasn't well. She would ask 'Have you got your liver yet?'

I wasn't worried about dying. I was worried about not being there for my family-financially and emotionally. Surprisingly my blood tests improved. But I would still need a transplant to live.

I was to be discharged from hospital to wait for that phone call that would save my life, but then the transplant coordinator came to see me and said, 'we have got you one.'

It was all systems go. I thought I was about to go home and then early the next morning I was waking up with a new liver. Straight away I felt better. After a month or so, I started to go back to my normal routine, the routine I'd had before becoming really sick.

I am now back at work and have the energy to play with my kids-five year old Sarcha and two year old Finn. I am jogging again and a regular 50kmbike ride is the norm these days. It took me three months to sit down to write to the donor family. I did it when everyone was out and it took me six hours to write. It's hard to write. What do you say to thank someone for saving your life.