05 Jun Erica Ferguson Shares Her Story
Prior to my liver transplant I was a busy mum and working in a thriving retail shop. Like every working mum I juggled work and family life. I was very fit and healthy. I exercised at home and enjoyed socializing.
Valentine’s Day will always be a day that sticks in my mind. That day 14th February 2002 I went to my Doctor not feeling quite 100%, I didn’t know the journey that lay ahead of me. I was referred to the Belfast City Hospital and admitted late that night. During the next two weeks I became very jaundiced and lost a lot of weight. The medical staff struggled to find a reason for my illness. At that stage Dr Johnson decided that I should be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, England. On 1st March 2002 my husband, Gary, and I travelled to Birmingham for what I thought would be a brief story.
On arrival, I was admitted to the specialist liver unit where they assessed the seriousness of my condition. After many tests I was told I had acute liver failure. On the 9th March I was told my only chance of survival was a liver transplant/ soon after hearing this news my condition deteriorated and I was rushed into the Intensive Care Unit. I was then placed at the top of the International Organ Donor Register.
On March 11th a liver became available and the operation was a success although I was it was touch and go at times. My donor was a 48-year-old man from Woolwich who had sadly suffered a brain trauma. Post transplant I had many complications and spent much of the next year in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. My condition worsened during October 2003 and after a biopsy I was told that the main artery in the liver was blocked and that I would need a 2nd liver transplant. I was put on the transplant list and was told my wait may be longer as I needed a perfect match. On April 26th 2004 I received the phone call at home that a donor liver had become available and the organ was suitable.
I travelled overnight with my husband and mother to Birmingham where the operation was to be performed on the 27th April. My second liver came from a 18 year old girl from Northern Ireland. She had died from bacterial meningitis. Post transplant I am making a steady recovery, I still attend the hospital in Birmingham for regular checkups.
My family have been a great support to me throughout these difficult times and I try to lead a normal a life as possible. I feel very fortunate to have been given this wonderful gift of life. I am very grateful to my donors and think about them everyday. I have joined the Northern Ireland Transplant Association because I wanted to try and help others and create awareness of how important it is to be an organ donor. Life is precious and since I have been given a second chance I intend to put it to good use. A very special thanks to my donors and their families, for giving me the Gift of Life