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10 years on and still going strong

By Shirley

I've had bronchiectasis all my life as a result of whooping cough when I was two years old. My lung function got so bad I knew a dose of flu could be fatal so I dreaded every winter.

A few years ago my lung function was so poor my doctors told me I should seriously consider going on the lung transplant waiting list, where the average waiting time was 12 to 18 months.

After waiting 15 months I received a phone call telling me suitable lungs had been donated. After nine hours in the operating theatre with two surgeons working together, the operation was a success and I was taken to the Intensive Care Unit to recover.

The first time I tried to walk was very hard and I needed the support of the handrails on the wall, but gradually I got stronger. The following three months involved three sessions a week at the physio gym, numerous doctors appointments and giving blood regularly. The medication consists of over 30 pills a day and at first it was very daunting but now it is a habit like cleaning your teeth.

As we had been away for 18 months it was very emotional arriving home and being met by our family. I couldn't wait to go to the beach for a swim and to be able to enjoy the clean fresh air and ocean water.

I feel stronger as time goes by and since my double lung transplant the transformation to my life is amazing. I feel very privileged having a second chance at life and am very appreciative to all concerned. It wasn't easy but positive thinking and a very supportive husband helped me get through it.

Shirley