Saturday, 9 October 2010
Kirsty was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at nine months old. It wasn’t until Kirsty was 13 that her condition started to deteriorate. She began having hospital admissions for Intravenous antibiotics which would mean a two week stay. At first this was two to three times a year but as time progressed it became more often and eventually by the age of 16 she was able to administer her IV’s from home.
Kirsty went to university at 18 but ended up becoming extremely ill and at 19 had to drop out. At this time, her Doctor and CF team warned her that if she didn’t stop work and pay attention to her health, she wouldn’t be here in a year’s time. This was a life changing moment and Kirsty gave up work and started focusing on her health. Unfortunately the damage had been done and her lung function had dropped to 35% - just a third of a normal lung capacity of someone else her age.
In February 2008, Kirsty suffered a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Kirsty had a further two collapses and it was around this point that transplant was becoming a reality. Following the pneumothoraces, her lung function was now sitting at just 25% and Kirsty was told that if her lungs continued to collapse there would be very little the doctors could do for her; her only hope was to get onto the transplant list.
Kirsty’s transplant assessment was done at Freeman’s Hospital, Newcastle, and took place in February 2009. After three days of rigorous tests Kirsty was told that she was an appropriate candidate for transplant, and put on the active waiting list.
Life waiting for transplant wasn’t easy but Kirsty took every day as a gift and pushed herself to live, studying hairdressing in Coatbridge College where she was awarded an A. During her attendance at College Kirsty required 24hr oxygen, a non invasive ventilator, four nebulisers a day, three sessions of physio and around 60 pills a day.
Kirsty waited for eight months but then in November 2009, she got the call from the Transplant Co-ordinator at Freeman’s Hospital to let her know that they had some suitable lungs. Kirsty’s operation took seven hours and she woke up some ten hours later. Exactly three weeks after her transplant, Kirsty was strong enough to go home and says she hasn’t looked back since.
Kirsty is a vibrant and headstrong lady, with a love of dancing and glamour, and a fiery attitude towards life and its obstacles. Kirsty simply says that she always wanted to be busy and not let CF get in the way of her life.