I am a double lung transplant recipient. Without this life saving transplant, I would not be here today to share my story with you.
As a toddler, I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetically inherited disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. From birth my lungs produced an abnormal amount of thick sticky mucus resulting in constant chest infections and causing irreversible damage.
The few years leading up to my transplant were the toughest. I was struggling to breathe relying on oxygen and intravenous antibiotics to keep me alive. At the start of 2010, I had a common cold and ended up very close to death. The doctors decided to put me on the transplant waiting list and were worried that I wouldn't last while waiting for my transplant.
I waited nearly a year on the list and was very fortunate to receive that life saving call when I did, because I only had one or two months left to live.
I was house bound and spent at least four hours a day doing chest physiotherapy while hooked up to an intravenous line twenty-four hours a day. I required a carer to look after me as I couldn't even make myself a cup of tea.
The hardest part was being pushed around in a wheelchair by my family.
The disease had taken its toll on my body. I was hardly eating and struggling to absorb any food. I looked like a skeleton and got down to about 45 kilograms in weight.
Approaching my one-year anniversary I can reflect on how my life has changed. I am living life and making up for lost time.
I enjoy going swimming and to the gym about six times a week. I walk the dogs, shop, go out with friends and family and can drive again. The Australian Transplant Games are my next goal where I hope to compete in swimming. I also look forward to going back to teaching in the near future.
I am so grateful to my donor family for giving me this precious gift; I now have a future to look forward to and many hopes and dreams to achieve.
There is no greater gift, than the gift of life!