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Enjoying life and breathing deep

By Toni

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three months. During my school years and early adulthood my health remained very stable. I lived what I considered to be a normal life like any other teenager (I only had one admission to hospital while I was in high school).

In my mid 30's I noticed my health was slowly deteriorating and with it my lung function. I was becoming more tired. I struggled with weight, daily chores, and working at my part-time job as a youth worker.

I kept pushing myself to prove I could do it and I was ok. It was coming at a cost physically and emotionally. I was approached about lung transplantation. I decided the time was right and the work up began.

I knew deep down I needed a transplant. I was feeling angry at times and frustrated because I was losing control.

One special day I was woken by my nurses to the news that there was a possible match and if all goes ok, I will be getting some new lungs.

Luke and I made a pact we would not say goodbye. When I went into theatre it was 'see you when I get out'.

Today, as I write this, I am now nearly 12 months post transplant and my life is just perfect. I am walking,bike riding even jogging short distances. Due to my old lungs I was not able to fly in a plane so I had not flown for 16 years; since my transplant I have flown a dozen times and loved every minute of it.

There is so much more I would love to write about the happiness I feel. Also how much of a role my family and friends have played in this journey of my second chance of life. Most of all, I have a connection with a family I will never meet, and due to their decision to donate their loved one's organs, I will always be eternally grateful. I will light a candle for my donor every year in remembrance. I will continue to celebrate my life every day.

Please everyone, discuss organ donation with your family.