Tomorrow will be my first Christmas with my new lungs. I've been feeling very emotional in the run-up because of course at Christmas time, you reflect on the lows as well as the highs of the year. I'm only slowly realising quite how ill I was while waiting for transplant. Having to be so frank about my mortality is something that I know will change my outlook on life for the rest of the time I have left on this earth.
And of course I am thinking a lot of those that didn't make it. My wonderful friends that I found via twitter who were going through the same things as me, but unlike me weren't able to get their transplants in time. I can't imagine how this week will feel for their families, as all around people are full of joy while they are full of sorrow. But each person I know who died, lived their life on fast-forward - filling it full of achievements, thoughtfulness and love and it serves as a reminder to me, that however long my new lungs last, that life will always remain purposeful if it can be lived in a similar manner.
And then there is my donor. Only in the last month or so have I felt mentally and physically strong enough following my transplant to truly realise everything my donor has given to me. She was a woman who died young, and yet even in her short life she made the phenomenally generous decision to help a stranger live if the worst was to happen to her. I only hope that as her family face this Christmas without her that they have received some comfort knowing that their daughter saved the lives of others. In my eyes she'll always be an extraordinary woman.
In the last month I've often found my eyes filling with tears when the Slade song 'Merry Christmas everyone' comes on the radio - a strange reaction considering it is so jolly. But I think its because of the line:
"Look to the future now, It's only just begun"
My donor has given me back my future and it is the most incredible and joyous of gifts. My gratitude is immeasurable.
If you believe in organ donation and haven't yet signed up then please do. And do tell your family of your wishes. https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/how_to_become_a_donor/registration/consent.asp