Life Stories

Chloe's Journey

I was originally diagnosed with Polycythemia Rubra Vera after having four miscarriages.  Further tests revealed that I also had Budd-Chiari Syndrome and Cirrhosis.  After several minor operations, including numerous gastroscopies, banding and TIPPS, it was finally decided that I would need to have a liver transplant.  I was put on the waiting list in May 2007.

Even though the word ’transplant’ had been mentioned a few times before, when they actually told me that all other routes had been exhausted, and the only option left was a transplant, it was still a total shock and left me completely numb.  The whole of the wait was surreal; every time the phone rings your insides do a somersault.  I continued to work, although I could only manage very reduced hours.  My husband and I tried to go away on a few weekend breaks, just to get out the house and take our minds off it; however, we couldn’t go far as, when the calls comes, you have a limited time to get to the hospital.

I was lucky - I only had to wait for six months.  I got the call at 21:00 mid-November - and so commenced the mad dash from Hampshire up to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

All went well, although I was in and out of the hospital for the first year, developing CMV, an abscess and Lactobacillus in my bloodstream and a further blood clot in my liver (causing concern that I'd need to have another transplant).  The doctors were finally happy with me by 2009.  It was then that my husband and I decided that we wanted to move to the Isle of Wight and start up a Bed and Breakfast.

We finally moved over in February 2010, but we weren't able to set up the business straight away.  I was diagnosed with depression, soon after being made redundant.  However, we are now up and running and this coming year will be our fourth season.  We have already won a Trip Advisor award and Luxury Travel Guide awards.  I love my house and the Island.

Nowadays it still feels surreal, except I have the scars to show what I went through.  Although my health is still a problem, I am so grateful for the transplant, the donor and the NHS.  I wouldn’t have considered changing my life, my job and moving to the Island if I hadn’t been through all of the problems.  I was extremely shy and, to be honest, there was no way I would have been able to run a B&B if it wasn’t for all the time spent in hospital.  

I have now been told that I have shown positive for the JAK2 mutation, but with all the support and help I’ve had from the NHS I know everything is going to be fine.

Chloe McKillop