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It's true what they say, third time lucky!

At 8.49am Tuesday 17th FebruaryI received my 3rd call for a double lung transplant! My coordinator asked me the usual set of questions about what my recent health had been like which unfortunately wasn't great, just 3 days before I had been bed or should I say toilet bound with a tummy bug that produced a lovely amount of projectile vomit! Obviously upon hearing this news my transplant coordinator was dubious as to whether or not I was well enough for the operation and so told me she would fist have to contact my CF nurse in Leicester to find out my latest blood results. that include a infection maker, that luckily I had had done on the day previously! After an epic 1 hour and 2 minute wait (10.13am) my phone rang and I answered jangling with nerves! It was good news, my tummy bug must have been a 12 hour one and it wasn't an infection that was hanging around, I had safe infection markers to operate! I was still warned that they would do a full assessment on me when I arrived at the hospital to make sure I was 100% okay for the operation of a life time, a second chance at life!

An ambulance arrived at my house by 10.36am and we were straight on the road with blue lights and sirens on the all too familiar journey to Newcastle Freemans Hospital!
I really didn't have my hopes up at all on the journey, I was convinced it was going to be another false alarm and I was going to end up being one of the people that has an agonising 5 or more calls that don't go ahead before the real deal! Whilst in the ambulance the coordinator rang me again to tell me the Channel 5 film crew would be there to film the day if I was happy for them to do so which I was! So at 1.11pm we were greeted out the ambulance with a camera and bug fluffy mike feeling in our faces capturing our every facial expression and words! May I add before you all feel like we were intruded upon we had already met the film crew the week previously when they came to my house to do some filming of my life pre-transplant and I had voiced how hopeful and enthusiastic I was to have the opportunity to have my full transplant operation on film, seeing the procedure and my old lungs vs my new ones! So this was my opportunity and I was going to seize it!

I was whizzed straight to have an X-ray before being taken to the ward to begin my other pre-op tests; blood tests, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, swabs for MRSA and a general examination and lengthly questioning on my current state of health! My dad arrived at this point and while the doctors awaited my blood results I was told to shower in an antiseptic pink scrub (I don't recommend as an investment shower gel) and put on a gown! At this point it was all feeling much more real and I still had the camera crew recording me every step of the way! At 4pm the coordinator gave me the news that I was definitely well enough for transplant so everything was on hold until they got the news of the condition of the lungs!

Just before 5pm we were taken down to the recovery area of theatre to wait so that if it was a go I could be wheeled straight through the mysterious double doors in front of me to the aesthetic room. It was a nail biting excruciatingly long wait that if it was to be called off seemed so much crueler than the times before because I was so close to the miracle of medical science that has enabled transplants to be an option for people to regain quality and quantity of life! Finally at 7pm my coordinator recieved a call from the retrieval team who were at another hospital to say the lungs were healthy and suitable for transplant.
At this point I said goodbye to my dad whilst my mum was allowed in the anaesthetic room with me. In the room I they put an arterial line in my wrist before the put a mask on my face that smelt of vanilla like 'my little pony' which put me me sleep. I think my mum and the film crew left at this point and the aesthetic team whilst they put a central line in my neck, a catheter and all other operation prep.

I was in theatre from 7pm-2am so 7 hours which isn't a huge length of time for a lung transplant. Apparently my lungs were a lot easier to remove than often is the case with CF lungs. I woke up at 11am on Wednesday 18th feb morning, still on a ventilator to assist my breathing, I remember signing to the doctor to have the ventilator removed by pointing to my mouth, away from my mouth and my wrist (meaning time) I wanted it out asap! They took the ventilator out after another hour and finally I could have my mouth refreshed, at first with mini sponges on a stick, soaked in water that I could suck on before I corned a doctor and demanded I have a cup of tea! How he took me seriously I'll never know as I had the voice of a mouse! He agreed though and I had THE best cup of tea of my life, the first with new lungs! I also had a rounders fruit lolly which was so refreshing!

I had to stay in intensive care that night and I remember it feeling like being in a space craft, I was still pretty woozy on pain meds! The next day (19th) I was taken down to the transplant ward though and everything was heading in the right direction....

To be continued



  1. Hey, I'm a new follower- my friend shared your blog. I write a blog too on CF :) Congratulations on the new lungs! Hope the recovery is smooth for you. Can't wait for the TV programme of it! Jo x

  2. Holly, you are amazing! So glad to hear/read things on the up...hope you are home ASAP. Fiona x

  3. This is fantastic news, Holly!!!! I have been following your blog/videos, and have been eagerly checking each day for an update. While although I do not have CF, I do have a related disease: Chronic Pancreatitis. I had my life saving transplant, a Total Pancreatectomy with Auto Islet Transplant, almost 2 years ago. Since they removed 5 of my organs, I am struggling in my recovery. Your honesty in your everyday, your struggles, and your triumphs have really inspired me in my recovery. You will always have a friend in me supporting you, cheering you on, and praying for you each step of your new life! I pray that your recovery will be quick and smooth!! I can't wait to see what you do with your second chance at life. It truly is a blessing, and you are very much deserving of this. Best of luck! xoxo Vanessa :)

  4. I am so happy for you!!! I've followed your blog and videos the last 2 years and this makes me so glad this finally happened for you!

  5. Well done Holly, I'm so happy for you, it's nice to know that wishes do come true. At Xmas in Swannington you can write out your wish and hang it on their Xmas tree, my wish was for a new pair of lungs for Holly Van Geffen, So glad they are working for you and breathing is now a wonderful experience for you.
    Have a lovely summer with your family and friends. 👌


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