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The best and the worst

Posted Jun 12 2009 6:43pm

Since my transplant life has taken on a whole new slant. For the most part this is absolutely, 100% undeniably awesome – being able to do the things I want to do, not having to worry about all the rubbish that went with the battle against CF. But every now and again something hits you with a bump, or a thud, or a massive hammer-blow to the head.

I got a phone call from a friend’s husband this morning saying he’d just been off the phone with the mother of a friend of mine from years back. She had CF and we used to chat a lot about all sorts of things – frequently how rubbish CF was – and make each other laugh and work through things when we needed some support. Sadly, she passed away this morning.

There’s such a complex mix of emotions post-transplant. On the one hand, I’m so deeply saddened that another young life has been lost to a disease which needn’t take people away from us. On the other hand, I’m so deeply grateful to my donor and their family for giving me the chance to retake control of my life and battle on to achieve what I want to achieve. It’s both deeply upsetting and hugely motivating when you hear of someone losing their fight.

Just last week I was in Oxford for my annual review with the CF team. It’s really a bit of a formality, as the CF no longer affects my lungs, but it’s still important for them to keep an eye on the other parts of my body CF can affect. It was such a great day though, epitomised by one little moment.

As the physio was doing my general assessment, including posture and other things, she had to listen to my chest. I’ve known my physio for a long time – over 10 years I’ve been going to the same clinic with the same physio now – and as time passes and you go through phases of ill-health, better health, dreadful health and have the kind of scares I went through, physios are the people you naturally seem to turn to. Most PWCF will tell you that their physio is the person they confide in the most, more often than not because they are the member of your medical team you spend the most time with due to the frequent rounds of physiotherapy needed to keep the chest at some vague approximation of a functioning level.

So my physio is doing her assessment and I lift my shirt for her to listen to my chest. I used to know I was ill when the physio or doc would listen to my chest and pause the stethoscope in any one place for longer than a single breath. As she listened to my chest, she paused in one particular area and a dread went up me, until I glanced down and saw a smile creeping over her face as she listened to my now-soundless chest.

For years all anyone had been able to hear on my chest was the crackly static of blocked and infected lungs, now there’s nothing. And as she listened, my physio couldn’t hide her big, beaming smile at the fact that there’s nothing for her to do on my chest any more.

I’m enjoying a life I never thought I would or could, thanks to the generosity of one family, but the price I have to pay for the extension I’ve been given is seeing people who could so easily be like me losing their fight.

This is why I work with these guys and this is why I’m making Remembrance – if they’re not here to reach their dreams, I damn sure better make an effort to fulfill mine. If you want to buy in to my dream, go here to find out more.

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