Tom's Liver Transplant Story
Tom had a liver transplant for PSC in 2021 and is now living a relatively normal life with better energy levels than before his diagnosis.
Organ donation has done much more than change my life for the better; without the selfless decision from the donor I might not be here today to share my story.
In late 2019 I noticed very early signs of jaundice and a cholangitis attack after a day at work. Three weeks later, I was discharged from my local hospital, nearly 18kg lighter with severe jaundice and referred to the specialist Hepatology team at St James Hospital in Leeds.
The jaundice didn’t clear with treatment and I was heavily reliant on supplements to retain weight. My whole body would itch due to a buildup of toxins and bile, I became deficient in essential vitamins and my energy levels plummeted.
Listed for Transplant
It became clear a liver transplant was the only option for me and I was listed in July 2020. Fast forward to May 2021 and the disease progressed again: my clotting and itching got worse and the scarring meant that performing ERCPs became even more difficult. My weight had begun to drop again and the doctors were concerned about how many more times they could repeat the procedure. My body was getting weaker which concerned the doctors because whilst I was still relatively active at that time, I would only get weaker as time went on.
Lifesaving Liver Transplant
Fast forward a few weeks and I got the call telling me they had a potential donor. 14 hours later I was in surgery at the fantastic St James hospital receiving the most amazing gift of life, a life changing and life saving liver transplant.
Recovery went really well, and I was discharged in just over a week, readmitted twice as a precaution due to raised temperatures but then began to quickly return to normal life. 3 months after the op I’d began to return to work, initially working from home before returning to the office.
Life After Transplant
7 months later I returned to my hobby of playing in a brass band, I’d returned to the gym and went from strength to strength.
Now 18 months later and I’m back to living a relatively normal life.
I can do the hobbies I love again, physical tasks such as DIY, and my energy levels are better than as far back as I can recall since first being diagnosed - I have a new chance at life.
I will always be grateful to my donor and their family and they will always hold a place in my heart. Without them my future would look very different. Organ donation has done much more than change my life for the better; without the selfless decision from the donor, I might not be here today to share my story.
Tom, September 2022
Thank you to Tom for sharing his transplant story with us for Organ Donation Week 2022.