Today, we headed back to the hospital where my husband had his transplant for a social reason…to attend the Liver Transplant Unit’s Christmas Breakup.
This is one Christmas event that I really enjoy and I can’t believe that this is actually our fourth one…it seems only a short time ago we were attending our first post transplant one, just six months after our lives had been totally changed for the better.
Fast forward to today, and my husband is healthy, happy and living life at full speed!
It is easy to almost forget that it was ever any other way.
In fact, we did forget that he had a checkup appointment at the hospital this week…first time in the 10 or so years of being a patient at the LTU, that we both totally forgot.
Needless to say the re-booked appointment is firmly written in both our diaries AND on our wall calendar.
It was great to see some familiar faces…some of which we only see at this annual event, others we keep in touch with via social media, email and regular catch ups.
We also really enjoy meeting people who we haven’t crossed paths with before…now my husband doesn’t have to attend clinic as frequently, we don’t get to get to know the newbies.
And being post transplant is like making it to the “other side”…there will still be challenges, but believe me, it is so much better being post then still be stuck on the waiting list.
I love hearing about other people’s transplant experiences….every one is different…some just make you wonder how on earth they had the strength to get through it all.
For example, these two fine looking gentlemen both had the same autoimmune disease (PSC) and similar medical histories…yet my husband (on the left) had quite a smooth transplant journey while the other guy had a transplant that failed and had to be quickly listed for another one, which thankfully he got in time.
Now you cannot tell how close they came to not making it….
Another highlight from today was meeting a gorgeous Labrador who is in training to be a guide dog…he has spent lots of time at the hospital as one of his foster carer’s recently had a transplant!
I also find it fascinating to chat to the staff about organ donation and the whole transplant process..the more I learn about how it all happens, the more in awe I am of the people who make it happen…from the donors and their families to the medical staff to the transplant recipients and their carers.
I am not sure if it is something unique to this particular transplant unit, but I really get a sense of belonging to a special community, especially when we attend a large group get together.
It’s a tough group to get into…you need to get sick enough to require a liver transplant, then pass all the tests to make it onto the waiting list, then be one of the lucky ones to get a donor liver and then survive the post surgery challenges….it’s quite an experience!
But it sure is pretty fabulous when you finally get there!
Fingers crossed, we will all return to attend next year’s Christmas breakup still as healthy and happy as today!