I've known Sue a long time! We got to know each other when we were both struggling to survive. Sue is an inspiration to anyone and everyone and she continues to do so much work in support of Liver Disease.
I featured her blog during her transplant and hopefully you will read it also.
Almost 4 years post transplant.
My life has completely transformed not just from the years of ill health but also from my life before illness. It’s very much a new and different life. My outlook, feelings and character have changed, for the better. I’ve learnt much about myself and although I would always have described myself as compassionate and caring, the journey has given me a deeper layer.
I have returned to work, not my original job which I loved so much but a completely different area of work. Now my job is just that. I go to work to earn the money to help enjoy my life. Work is no longer one of my main drives in life, it’s a necessity, I enjoy it enough to keep going each week but it’s given me the freedom to enjoy the new passions in my life.
I’ve always been involved in volunteering. After my transplant I had a feeling like I perhaps wasn’t worthy enough for such a gift of life, that I needed to give something back. I recognised that to an extent I was feeling some level of survivors guilt. I’m not sure if these feeling will ever leave but they inspired me to explore new avenues. I felt a void in my job where I wasn’t getting the same feeling of job satisfaction that I felt before so this and the desire to do something worthy resulted in me training as a volunteer low land search and rescue technician. I love my new role. We train weekly and respond to police call outs 24 hours a day. We search rescue and sadly too often recover missing vulnerable people in our community. From lost children, dementia patients, injured walkers to the despondent, suicidal and deceased.
I’ve also thrown myself into sport. I was never interested as a young person but since transplant I’ve found it hugely beneficial both physically and mentally! I began jogging, well more walking with a bounce, when I was ill to try and help combat the fatigue. Now I compete nationally and internationally in track and swimming.
I was selected to repress Great Britain in the World Transplant Games In 2017 where I competed along with over 60 countries in Spain.
I proudly returned with two bronze medals and a gold which I had the honour of giving to my donors mom. I’ve continued to compete alongside transplant recipients and main stream athletes. I’ve been selected again to compete for Great Britain so I’m back training hard. Most countries have transplant sport teams in a huge range of disciplines from bowling, darts and golf to shot putt, kayaking and track events.
There are also winter sport games too. It’s a fantastic place to meet a wonderful community of recipients celebrating life. Local games are usually very inclusive with the world games a little more competitive but all are welcoming. Look up your local team or ask at your hospital.
My passion for sport meant I went on to train as a personal trainer. I’ve yet to use my qualification but hope to some day. Right now I’m too busy enjoying my new life, grasping new opportunities and challenges. I completed my first triathlon recently and I’m now keen to do more!
Life isn’t without its challenges. Just a few weeks ago I experienced my first and hopefully last episode of rejection.
Fortunately it was caught early and treated with drugs.
Transplant does mean a life of medication and with these can come side affects and yes the risk of rejection or for some disease recurrence are always there but you can and should live a full and happy life. You don’t need to let transplant hold you back, you can do the things you love and discover new passions.
Surround yourself with positive people, be the person you want to be, be happy and well.
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