Sean shares his story in this most eloquent account of how a donor and his family, who in a moment of grief, provided Sean with the gift of renewed life. “In the year leading up to my 50th birthday, I was viewing life with relish. After recently being made redundant I had established my own business and was beginning to explore some of the opportunities that afforded, keeping busy in something I enjoyed, whilst being flexible enough to be able to continue my voluntary work, and make sure our family life was kept as a big priority too.
A visit to my GP to discuss the results of a fairly routine blood test however was to shape my future in a way I could never have imagined, and open up a daunting world of hospital waiting rooms, tests, consultations, and ultimately, a new life.
I discovered I had a condition called Genetic Haemochromatosis, which caused me to absorb too much iron from my diet. As the body cannot discharge the excess, it can accumulate over time. Unfortunately for me, this had caused catastrophic damage to my liver, but because the liver is a hardy organ that does its best to soldier on, had not yet led to any major symptoms becoming apparent.
Within nine months of the first visit to my GP, I was at St. James Hospital Leeds to be evaluated for viability for transplantation surgery. I was still fairly well, still working, so it seemed odd that I was being told that my only reasonable chance of survival for more than a short period of time was to have a liver transplant. Fellow transplantees I know are horrendously ill before they ‘make the list’ so I did feel a bit of a fraud, but it was quite clear that my liver was deteriorating to the point that it would no longer repair itself and I only had one hope left.
Thursday evening nearly two years later. The usual chaos of family life was in full flow when the phone rang. A pleasant lady answered who introduced herself as one of the Transplant Coordinators and informed me that a donated liver was about to become available and that it had been allocated to me. Continued in comments ...