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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Goodbye 2015

As we draw near to the end of another year, it's time to reflect on 2015, the good, the bad and the unexpected....
Sasha and I at our epic birthday party in June

My amazing lungies turned 2 and they reached an all time high lung function of 93%. Before transplant they were below 20% and life was bleak to say the least. I am grateful everyday for the 'extra time' my lungs have given me and I look forward to years of good times with them!

So far I have had NO lung problems what so ever but I have had other small health issues which are a result of my low immune system. I will always have health problems but these are all minor compared to what I was dealing with before my transplant.

My portocath was finally removed making me OFFICIALLY tube free :)

I went on a little trip to Rhenosterpoort with friends. This doesn't sound like much but it was the first time I have been able to go on a trip and stay somewhere without electricity. Usually I would have to take my oxygen machine and nebuliser machine and these require electricity. It was such a great feeling to be completely without power or signal for a few days.

I also got to let out my inner farm girl and walk around without shoes on ;)

I met and started dating an amazing human! Travis and I have followed each other on Twitter for years and he was always very supportive when I was going through my transplant - even though I had never met him. A mutual friend of ours said that we should meet up IN REAL LIFE so Travis made that happen and the rest is history.

The timing couldn't have been better, after my transplant I needed some time to find my feet and myself. By the beginning of 2015 I had done that and even though I wasn't looking to meet anyone special... I did :)


My very special mommy was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that has spread into her lungs and lymph system. This was a shock to us all and we all felt that it was very unfair. It's unfair for ANYONE but after my mom spending years helping me fight for my life, then to lose our farm in Zimbabwe only to end up having to now fight cancer, really does seem like a lot for someone to go through.

Luckily my mom is an absolute trooper, she got herself some stylish wigs and head scarves and started chemo. She lost all her hair (eye lashes and brows included) and chemo made her feel awful BUT it shrunk all her tumors enough for her not to need a second round of chemo.

She is currently on hormone treatment to keep the cancer at bay. If the cancer grows we will have to do more chemo. There is no cure for stage 4 cancer and so this is something she will have to live with.

I managed to fracture my foot which left me in a moon boot for over 6 weeks. I wish I had a more interesting story for this but unfortunately I have very weak bones (from all the medication I take) and so I simply twisted my foot walking in flat shoes, on a flat surface during the day and my foot fractured.

Being in a moon boot was HIGHLY frustrating, I spent about 2 years stuck at home on oxygen so this experience took me right back to those dark days. Having to rely on people to drive me around and help me. It wasn't fun BUT it wasn't the worst either and my foot has made a full recovery.

As I mentioned earlier, while my lungs are absolutely perfect, I have had to deal with other issues that have come about due to my low immune system. My immune system is suppressed with medication to prevent my body from rejecting my lungs. It is vital that I take this medication but they come with a number of side effects. When a normal person gets any kind of infection, their body can fight it. When I get an infection, my lack of immune system means that it spreads fast and can be quite severe. This means that any infection I get is treated VERY aggressively.

I've had to have a small procedure done to remove part of my cervix that showed a bit of a cancer risk. Unfortunately the biopsy showed this risk has spread and so it looks like I will be needing more procedures done in 2016 to eliminate these risks.

On the up side, I was given a gas induction with my anesthetic. This means they basically gassed me to sleep then dripped me to give me anesthetic once I was asleep. I was very nervous as my old lungs were always too weak to gas so I wasn't sure how my new lungs would react but they were absolutely fine. Apart from the usual throwing up after the op, everything went very smoothly and I only spent 1 night in hospital. (First night in hospital since my transplant)


After about a year working with my good friend Daniella at Pink Vanilla, I was offered a work opportunity I couldn't turn down. I was very sad to leave Daniella as we had so much fun working together and I knew even though our friendship wouldn't change, I wouldn't get to see her as much.

However, work has been great, I have learnt SO much this year and whilst it has definitely been more stressful, I am so happy (and proud) to be growing in my career. I am a free lance social media manager and digital marketing consultant. For those of you who have no idea what that is, I basically manage business's online presence, on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc), web (design, SEO, adwords) and PR.

A group of us Joburg based Cystic Fibrosis girls started the CF Bellas and made a calendar! We sold these at R100 each and managed to sell 500 to raise funds for the CF ward. This was a big undertaking and I wish I had more time to dedicate to it but I think we did rather well for our first year! Next year will be even better and we'll raise even more! (If anyone wants calendars, I still have a few left)

Unfortunately I couldn't make the annual CF zoo walk (again) but I did do the Transplant zoo walk with fellow transplantees Alice and Charlene!


As with every year, 2015 had ups and downs. I lost 2 more CF friends, one had his transplant and passed away afterwards and the other died waiting for lungs. I also lost my friend Jenna who had her transplant last year December but never made it out of hospital and died on my birthday this year :(

A reminder of just how lucky I am!

I got to spend more time with fellow CF and lung transplant friends. I always have fun with these guys and it's great to have people that you can make inappropriate medical jokes with. They are such special friends that provide me with much support!

Last but not least, I have worked hard but I have also played hard this year. As someone who knows just how precious and short life is, I truly believe in making the most of every day. I have made so many good friends in Joburg and I love the energy this city has. Everyone is always up for a little party and we always have such a good time!

I'm not one to sit back and watch TV on the weekends, I'm out with friends, having a good time and good times I have had. Sometimes I've had a bit too much fun but that's all part of life and I have loved every moment.

I have some great memories from this year and thank everyone who has been a part of them. (You all know who you are)

I definitely feel like I've managed to 'catch up' on things I have missed out on in life so thank-you 2015 for helping me achieve these things.

Here's to an even better 2016!


  1. Classy pic of us there at the end Fawny! *hangs head in shame* #atleastwehadfun

  2. Oh yes, this year has been full of events and new people. It was certainly not pleasant moments but they are fewer

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