Thank you……(for loving me at my worst)
I have a lot of people to thank for their love, support and care over the years, and now even into the future. A lot of these people have seen me at some of my worst and lowest times, and now that I have received my “second chance” I hope that they will now see me at my best.
So here they are (in no particular order) my Care Squad.
Kevin and Maree – my Mama and Papa. Who better to start with than the two people who have had to live through this with me my whole life? I can’t imagine having a sick chikd is easy for any parent, but for my Mum and Dad – I was their first born, their “little ray of sunshine” and yet at age one I was eating and drinking plenty, but not gaining any weight. The subsequent Doctors’ and hospital visits must have been a surreal experience – diabetes was still extremely uncommon and even more so in someone so young. My parents are survivors though and lived through some horrible times when I was a child, and even more as a young adult, and it broke my heart the day my Mum confessed that she wondered if there was anything they could have done to stop things getting so far. Even now as I think about it and type it, I’m crying.
Rebecca, Lauren, Melissa, Caroline and Carissa – my high school friends who are still my closest girlfriends in the world. These girls have taken care of me through Intensive Care and High Dependency, numerous hospital stays, movie marathons, late nights out and dinners at home. They have definitely seen me through some very tough moments, as well as quite a few good times and I love them like sisters.
Chris – my “big little brother.” Even as little kids we didn’t fight all that much, and it’s now that Mum has told me she raised us to be best friends that I really appreciate this. Chris is my bodyguard when Russell isn’t around, and my eyes as well. He is definitely a gentle giant, and one of the most patient people I know (which makes me wonder how we can be related, since I’m NOT patient at all) More than anything I am glad that he has no diabetes and therefore none of the complications that have gotten me to where I am today.
Russ – Since 2007 Russ has been my ‘Knight in shining armour” and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Not many couples will have to go through the things that we have, and especially at such a young age, but I guess even fewer couples would make it through like we have. Whenever I’d feel a little downhearted about my latest illness or hospital stay, Russ would always say “we’ll get through it together – we’re a team” and even though it’s still early days for my “second chance” not a day goes by when I’m not grateful that Russ is on my team.
Professor Jeremy Chapman, Dr David Rutherford, Kathy Kable and Paul Robertson – My transplant team at Westmead. Even though they have only been part of my life for a very short time, they have impacted on my life in ways that I just cannot explain. The entire team has cared for not only myslef during this time, but Russell as well - explaining treatments and procedures and just things I couldn’t explain. The changes to our lives that this team has made have been immeasurable.
A/Professor Tony O’Sullivan – my Endocrinologist – I’m sure I have given him some grey hairs over the time I have been under his amazing care, but Dr O’Sullivan could almost be the one person I am most indebted to, as he is the one who asked me how I felt about the possibility of having a transplant. I’m sad now that since I am less ruled by my diabetes I won’t have the need to see the doctor who has looked after me for so long.
A/Professor George Mangos – my Nephrologist and a close colleague of Dr O’Sullivan. Dr Mangos has seen my rapid decline over the past two years from being diagnosed with kidney failure to now having my transplant. I’m sure I’ve given him some grey hairs too, as my body doesn’t always seem to like co-operating with conventional medications – I like to think I’ve stretched his brain at least! Was thrilled to hear how happy he was that my transplant had gone well when I spoke to him a few weeks post op, and am looking forward to returning to his care in a few weeks’ time.
Dr Amany Zekry – not just my Gastroenterologist (and part of the University team of Dr O’Sullivan and Dr Mangos) I think I realised that Dr Zekry was the doctor for me when I bumped into her at one of my favourite shoe shops one weekend. Dr Zekry has always been the kind of doctor who would come into my hospital room, sit on my bed and put her arm around me to explain exactly what was going on – I like to think of her as my “Hospital Mum” and whilst she didn’t have anything to do with my transplant, she was absolutely thrilled to hear that I had received it.
There are of course a lot of people who I haven’t mentioned by name – my nurses, dialysis staff and concerned friends on Facebook - and my gratitude and love goes out to them. You are always in my thoughts and I’m eternally grateful for the care and love you have shown me.
The last people I would like to thank and acknowledge are a family I have never even met, and most likely never will, but your strong and amazing decision to give me the gift of a second chance of life will continue to amaze me forever. I am deeply sorry for the loss that you had to endure to give me that second chance, but if you ever see what I accomplish in the future I hope you are proud that you made the right choice to donate.