Life Stories

Blaire's "smashing" liver!

I was born six weeks premature with no obvious complications.  I was then diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at the age of 18 months.  I had all the usual infections and hospital admissions that required treatment with IVs.  However, at the age of 7 I was struggling to maintain weight and my liver function tests were raised.

An ultrasound scan was carried out which showed an enlarged liver; a biopsy showed liver damage.  I was given medication to try to help the liver and regular blood tests to monitor the state of it.

By the age of 10 the liver had deteriorated enough for the word “transplant” to be used as I was getting steadily worse.  After visiting two transplant centres it was decided to go with the transplant centre at Birmingham Hospital. After a three-day assessment I was accepted there.  This was all at the beginning of 1999.  

I was very reluctant to be listed (in fact I was super scared) but after much persuasion I chose to go on the list after my birthday on 6th March.  I received my first call only four weeks later but unfortunately, after having had my pre-med, the surgeon deemed the donor liver unsuitable.  The next call came three weeks later but Mum spoke to the coordinator to say I was not well enough for a general anaesthetic, so the organ was offered to someone else.

However, in May 1999 the right call came!  I decided I did not want to go (as I was afraid of being put to sleep) and ran off!  My mum’s friend had to catch me as I ran off to the nearest park where I used to play with my friends (scariest day ever; I can remember it like it was yesterday). We eventually went off to Birmingham and I had my transplant the next morning.

The transplant was a success.  I came out of intensive care in less than two days and was moved to the high dependency unit.  I had to return to theatre again as one of the lines was not working but I was able to get out of bed after couple of days and was home 12 days after my operation. 

I am forever grateful, as are my family, to my donor and their incredibly courageous family for giving me life, along with my surgeon and all the staff who looked after me at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

My liver is still smashing it 18 years later!