By ELLICE MOL
A little over a year ago I was severely underweight, my lung function was at 19 per cent, and I could barely walk a few steps without stopping to rest.
I was born with a genetic illness called Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening disease that affects the lungs. A lung transplant is often the last resort to prolong the life of a person with CF.
By 2012 I had quit my full-time job as a journalist and producer, and life as I knew it became a lot harder. I was 27 and had been in a relationship with my boyfriend Rhys just shy of a year, when doctors told me I would not see my thirtieth birthday without a bi-lateral lung transplant. I’d been waiting for that day my whole life.
Rhys was incredibly supportive and without a second thought, he essentially became my carer. But it was a tough time for us – we were young, and felt like we still had so much of our lives ahead of us.
As my health declined sharply, we tried to remain upbeat and focus on all of the amazing things we’d do after my transplant.
In 2012, I was put on the transplant waiting list and just seven weeks later I received the call I had desperately been waiting for – a suitable pair of lungs had become available, donated by a stranger whose own life had been cut short.
An ambulance rushed me to the hospital and before I knew it I was in theatre. There wasn’t even time to see my family to kiss them goodbye.
After seven hours in surgery, I opened my eyes and saw the joy on Rhys and mum’s face as they stood by my side. For the first time I breathed with ease. My healthy new lungs were perfect.
I was excited about the possibilities the future held, and found a new lease on life, but the months that followed the transplant weren’t easy.