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Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014 Recap

On the 5th of March 2013 I recieved the gift of a life, a double lung transplant. I had been waiting my whole life (well as long as transplants have been around, anyway) for the surgery that could change my life. The operation and recovery was extremely difficult both mentally and physically but somehow I found the strength to get through it all and 3 months later I was at home with my new lungs. It took me about a month to regain enough strength to start going out and even then it was only short trips to the shops. By August I had started to go out more and more and by the end of the year I was driving by myself and building my confidence in "The real world"

My first time out with friends
Confidence was something I was really struggling with after my transplant. I had been down so long that I didn't know what to do now that I was on the 'up'. I went home in December and was so grateful to see my home, staff and all my animals. After spending Christmas and New Years in Zim, I returned to Joburg to start working on my new goals -
  1. Find a house mate
  2. Find a job and become financially independent
  3. Get diabetes under control
  4. Reach goal weight (50kgs)
  5. Make new friends
  6. Give back to the transplant community
  7. Find a hobby
  8. Start exercising
  9. Upgrade car
  10. Go to the beach/swim
Some of these goals may seem very trivial but for me each of them had their own obstacles!

1. Find a house mate. 

Finding a house mate was quite a big challenge. My home is so important to me and having an enviroment where I can be happy and relaxed was something I wasn't willing to compromise on. This meant that I had to be a bit fussy when choosing someone. That said, the pool of single people my age is limited and I finally resorted to gumtree to look for someone. Queue Jade.... She came over, looked around and said she would be happy to move in. Obviously I aksed her if she was going to kill me in my sleep but she assured me she wouldn't and she moved in on the 1st of Feb. I am so happy with Jade, we get on great and just work so well as house mates, I'm so grateful I found someone so amazing!! 

2.Finding a Job

Finding a job wasn't too difficult and I started working for an events comapny. After a short while I realised that I wasn't happy there and I decided to resign. As you saw in a recent post,I found a job with Pink Vanilla and I am beyond happy. Next year I forsee a lot of growth and hard work for us but I love my job and I can't wait to take on the 2015 challenges.

3. Get diabetes under control

Unfortunately my transplant medication is a diabetic's worst nightmare and my sugar levels went from OK to rather bad. On top of it I really wanted to get rid of my insulin pump which meant that I had a needle in my tummy at all times (see pic above). The pump had served me well but I was over it and felt it had no place in my new life! So, I decided to start on a NO CARB diet which closely resembled the latest diet fads of banting and paleo. It was hard to give up carbs but it helped that this was the trend and I found loads of recipes! My diabetes improved and so did my weight so I was very happy with the results. Lately though my lifestye has lead me to cheating quite a bit and I need to try and get back to being as good as I was when I first started! 

4. Reach goal weight

As you can see from the photo on the left, I have always been severely underweight and I absolutely hated it! For that reason as well as for my health's sake, I needed to gain weight. Giving up carbs surprisingly helped me achieve this and I was so delighted when I reached my (minimum) goal of 50kgs! I finally had my feeding tube removed (see insulin pump photo above) which was such an AMAZING feeling and i improved my confidence so much! Being 'normal' is hard to do when you have a tube stuffed under your top that you are constantly having to run off to the bathroom to check on! I'm now a healthy 54kgs and although I need some toning up, I love how healthy my body is feeling at this weight! 

5. Make new friends

This may seem like an odd goal but I actually didn't have many friends in Joburg. All my freidns are in Zim and because I had never worked or studied here I was never able to make new friends. I have a few Zim friends here which is great but they all have their own lives to live and I am far too social to only have a FEW friends. Through twitter, blogging and attending events I have made SO many friends this year, friends that mean so so much to me and I can't wait to grow our friendships next year! Ladies, you are the main reason I have had the best year of my life and I am so glad to have met you all! You know who you are and I love you to bits xxx

6.Give back to the transplant community

Of course this will always be on my goal list as raising organ donation awareness is so important to me . If there were no donors, I would not be here today and I feel it's my responsibility to help ensure that there continues to be donors for others waiting for a transplant. With this in mind I decided to orgainse a ChariTea event to raise awareness and funds for the Organ Donor Foundation. This was a challenging task but in the end it payed off and was another stepping stone to improve my confidence. It's amazing what you can achieve whnen you just jump in! 

7.Find a hobby

Another seemingly strange goal but I needed something to fill my spare time. Before transplant "spare time" was spent sleeping or doing treatments and if I was up for it I would watch some TV. After transplant I have so much energy and I don't consider watching TV a hobby. I'll watch the odd movie but I have a new lease on life, I'm not going to spend it on the couch! I decided instead to start blogging. It started off as a little thing but ended up being the core of all the results I have achieved this year! It really was the best decision I made in 2014 and even though my blog will be a lot more quiet as I focus on work , I will definitely keep Deer Delights going! Also, THANK-YOU for reading!! 

8Start exercising

#OperationGetFit was initially implemented so that I could get fit enough to take part in the National Transplant games. I wanted to be selected for the national team so that I could take place in the games next year in Brazil. Sadly though, I didn't have enough time to dedicate to working out and I found my body a lot weaker than anticipated. After a day at gym I would spend 3 days recovering because I had pushed myself too hard. Eventually I lost motiation and I haven't been doing much since! This goal will run over to next year and be more of a priority! 

9. Upgrade car

This isn't a vanity goal, I needed to upgrade my car beacuse the lack of power steering was causing my weak body some serious back pain. This pain lead me back into physio sessions and I just couldn't have that!! My parents gave me a little money and I sold my car so that I could upgrade. I don't have anything fancy, just a Toyota Corolla, but with power steering and automatic transmission I am so happy with my car and really feel so spoilt! 

10.Go to the beach/swim

I always loved my beach holidays growing up and it was one of my dreams whilst waiting for lungs that I could maybe one day go back. I haven't been to the beach yet but I did get to experience my first post transplant swim the other day. It was such a strange sensation being able to hold my breath under water!! I'm definitely going to be doing a lot more swimming before summer is over! 

And that's it! Thank-you 2014 for being so good to me. This has definitely been the best year of my life and I am so excited to see what 2015 has in store for me!!


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  2. Hi Fawn

    I came across your story through the Jenna Lowe campaign. I hardly knew a thing about lung transplants and very little about organ donation before. I do know what it is like to fight chronic disease and the episodes of hopelessness that it brings. That’s why your stories are so inspiring! I mean when I read about Alice, Tina and yourself, you are not just living ordinary lives now, you're living life to the max! So wishing you all the best for 2015 as you continue to achieve your goals! :)

    Kind regards,

    1. Sorry for the late reply Mark but thank-you so much for your comment! Wising you all the best for 2015 as well :)


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