Life Stories

George’s Fairytale …

21 November 2016

In 1990 a little girl called George was born with Cystic Fibrosis, which affected her little lungs and digestive system.

As she got older her little lungs became more and more damaged from all the infections and when she was 20 she needed a feeding tube fitted to help her maintain her weight.  Just before her 21st birthday her left lung collapsed in the middle of the night, leaving her struggling to breathe.  She had to have a drain quickly inserted to re-inflate her lung and was left very weak and unwell, needing constant oxygen and a wheelchair to get about.  The doctors decided it was time to ask the transplant hospital to give her a second chance at life and to try and save her.

When she was told this news she was terrified; she didn’t want it to be true and she was scared that things could go wrong.  Most importantly, she was scared of dying and leaving her family and partner, so she agreed to see the transplant hospital and the tests began.  Thankfully George passed the tests and was suitable for transplant.  She was listed at the age of 21 in December 2011.

She waited a long and agonising eight months with no calls, crying herself to sleep most nights, her health deteriorating with no sign of hope.  Every time the phone rang she panicked and every morning she awoke disappointed that her call for new lungs hadn’t come.

George was given a life line drug that improved her health slightly and she made the decision to take herself off the transplant list in 2012.  She was scared to have a transplant when there was some quality of life and still a little bit of hope left with her own lungs.  She married her prince that year!

In 2014 George’s health began to deteriorate again and she was relisted in a much worse condition than the previous time.  She was in denial and scared to be listed again but she knew life was slipping away from her and she was determined not to let go.

She spent the next 11 months in hospital, once again waiting for that magical life-saving call.  Life was becoming impossible and she was losing hope.  She had an obstruction in her SVC vein so a stent was fitted to keep it open.  The operation failed and she was left with a stent floating inside her heart.  She was transferred to the transplant hospital to try to remove it, but the procedure failed and, with her weak and poorly lungs, she was left ventilated in the Intensive Care Unit, urgently needing a double lung transplant.  The doctors and her family weren’t sure she would make it out of ICU, but she finally woke up.  Unfortunately, life then slowly started slipping away to the point that she couldn’t eat because she couldn’t come off her breathing machine, she couldn’t walk, wash or even get to the toilet.  She had to be careful as the stent in her heart was covered in clots and her infection markers were through the roof!

She had three false alarms and her life was saved by the fourth call in August 2015 at the age of 25 – all thanks to an amazing donor and her family.

George’s dreams have now come true; she has a perfect life with her husband and puppies that she never imagined possible.  She gets to spend precious time with her family and is able to work again after seven years; she can take part in adventures and see the world!  She has the life she always dreamt of as a little girl and she can breathe without even thinking about it.  She is the happiest girl in the world, living life to the full every second of the day.  George’s life really was turned from the end into a new and exciting beginning!

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