Recipient of a transplant

BRIGETTE'S STORY

I remember the day I was told I would be listed for transplant - I felt blindsided. I had spent my whole life coming to clinic appointments every three months, and even on visits where my lung function dropped, there was always a plan of IVs and antibiotics to keep my numbers stable. But suddenly my lung function was below 35%; I was told I was at end stage Cystic Fibrosis and a transplant was my only hope. I broke down as I spoke to a financial rep, psychiatrist and other professionals as part of the evaluation process. My world seemed to stand still and become small.
 
I waited 28 months for my donor match. Obviously it became increasingly difficult physically as I required supplemental oxygen, then a wheelchair, and finally ended up in hospital where I received "the call".  Mentally, I was ready to break; I was exhausted and scared. I even spoke to my coordinator about removing myself from the transplant list, but luckily I stayed the course. 

I honestly don't remember much of the actual day as my health was so poor - but when I woke up I fully understood what had happened and was so happy to see my family by my side.
 
It's still very emotional for me two years later. A stranger I will never meet became my hero that day. Their family gave me the gift of a second chance, all whilst they were grieving a loss. The compassion and selflessness in their decision is something I will never take for granted. I think of them every morning as I wake up and take a deep breath. 

Because of my transplant I have celebrated two additional birthdays and many holidays with family and friends. I no longer need 24-hour care, I am not tethered to an oxygen tank and I enjoy things I couldn't do by myself - such as showering and driving. I have been able to travel across the US and I'm even exploring taking up a new career. These are all things I would never have thought possible just two years ago.