Kathryn's New Beginning
December 2015 - my life changes forever. The doctors told me I had Auto Immune Hepatitis, which had caused cirrhosis of my liver. I have always been a happy and outgoing person and this hit me like a ton of bricks.
I first became ill in October 2015. I knew within myself straight away that something was seriously wrong as I was not my usual self. I started sleeping all the time as I had no energy, stopped socialising, stopped eating, my stomach was swollen to twice its size and also my feet. I became withdrawn from everything and everyone. I think I actually became a little depressed as I was back and forth to the doctors for weeks but they kept giving me constipation medication and not really taking me seriously. I eventually got bloods done and a referral to a liver specialist.
One Sunday, whilst awaiting an appointment with the specialist, I was very unwell in bed and was now struggling to breathe with the pressure from the fluid build-up. I was then admitted to hospital.
The next day I got my diagnosis but not the full picture as I needed a biopsy to determine the severity of cirrhosis. I had mixed emotions for a few days, ranging from relief as I knew what was wrong to anger it had taken so long to find out what was wrong with me. It was a really dark time for me as I couldn't see any hope. I became very depressed and isolated myself a little more. Nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
I had a very gloomy Christmas and birthday (which is on Boxing Day), taking new meds and trying to come to terms with everything.
My biopsy never happened! On 30th December I woke up vomiting blood. I was rushed to hospital by ambulance and from there I have no recollection of what happened. I had two massive gastric bleeds which resulted in many blood transfusions and being put into an induced coma. I was given two hours to live; one more bleed could have killed me.
I was asleep for over a week; I would not wake up, which they feared could have been due to brain damage. When I did finally awake I was confused to find myself in ICU with a breathing tube down my throat.
A few days later, whilst in hospital getting assessed for transplant and trying to recover, I had another massive bleed. Luckily they managed to get it under control quickly. I was then given scopes every few days until my transplant to control the varices which were causing the bleeding. I was placed on the transplant list in the top band as I was desperate. My sister underwent tests to see if it was possible to be a living donor.
I was allowed home shortly after but was in and out of hospital constantly.
At one point I almost gave up as I was exhausted and in so much pain. I told my family that if anything else happened they should let me go; I couldn't take any more. Luckily my family made me pull myself together.
Five weeks after being placed on the list I got my life changing phonecall - a donor had been found. I remember it being an extremely emotional day.
Since February my whole outlook on life has changed for the better. I learned what and who was truly important to me. I am not the same person I was before I became ill; I am a better person because each day I am more thankful than the last and it has given me a new lease of life.
My hero has shaped me into the person I am today and I am truly blessed because of this. They have changed my life and given me a new chance. I am now planning my future. I have just come back from my holiday in Cyprus and have a few more exciting trips planned in the near future. I am also moving in with my partner this year and looking forward to making more memories with my amazing family and friends who truly stuck by my side when I needed them most. What I thought was my end has been changed into my new beginning and second chance at life. I intend to hold on to it for as long as I possibly can.