Yesterday was my husband’s 45th birthday…birthdays are always a good reason to celebrate but for us, each one is now a wonderful gift.
Because when he turned 40, life was looking rather bleak…he was so sick with end stage liver disease and every day was a struggle.
He was bright yellow…a walking skeleton…and our days were spent going to medical appointments and emergency visits…all the while trying to keep him alive and well enough for when he got that call…
Fast forward five years and a liver transplant later, and this birthday couldn’t be more different.
Instead of not being able to get out of bed, he went for a 15km run before dawn, despite the foggy cold weather.
After breakfast, we took the furkids out for a long walk…
Then as the fog cleared, we went into the city for a wander and a birthday lunch…
A perfect day with no thought of illness, dying or hospitals…and being so grateful that we can now do all the things we want to.
However, bright and early this morning, it was back to reality with a trip to the Liver Transplant Clinic for my husband’s 6th monthly check up….
Even though he is feeling fine, I always get rather nervous before these appointments because I can’t help but anticipate those words that a level has gone out of whack, indicating a problem.
But each appointment passes with positive reports…that he is healthy and all his levels are stable and perfect.
And today was no different.
The doctor was someone we hadn’t seen before…you don’t see the same specialist each time at the clinic..it is whoever is on duty and what number you are on the list for the day.
He was really impressed with my husband, and made the comment that so many liver transplant patients put on weight after transplant, adding a raft of other issues.
Weight gain can be due to medication, but it is often down to diet and lifestyle as the patient feels better.
My husband was never into fitness pre transplant, but a meeting with a physio during his work up struck a chord, and he has been obsessed with being the healthiest and fittest he can be.
He does this for two reasons…so he knows he has done everything he can to prevent ever getting sick again, and to honour his donor by looking after this very special gift.
And it certainly seems to be working.
We have spent a lot of time sitting in that clinic waiting room over the years…first as a referred patient, then as a pre- transplant then post.
They are familiar surroundings in a familiar hospital…it is not a frightening or sad place for us…
Because my husband is one of the lucky ones…he got the call in time, and from the moment he opened his eyes after the transplant, he has had a smooth recovery and return to normal life.
Today we saw no familiar faces…the room was full of new patients who have made it to the “flip side” and there were new staff on duty.
A sign that time moves forever on…that another year passes.
I certainly could never have imagined how different the 4th of June would be five years apart…this one was a far cry from those stressful, dark days.
So here to many more happy birthdays….and checkups with only good news!
Click here to find out more about organ donation via the DonateLife website.