I dreamed that my life would be big.

October 16, 2013 — 5 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of being great. I knew I could not settle for a domestic life, working a nine to five in the suburbs. Now I would give anything for that, but let us not dwell on what cannot be. I hadn’t quite decided what I was going to be great at, because I have a tendency to occasionally be hugely indecisive. I thought I might be a singer, or an actress, or a writer, or a photographer. I needed to be creative and, being incredibly insecure as a teen, have people validate my efforts by telling me how amazing I was.

Then I found out I had cancer, but that was okay, because I would get better and be fine. Then when I relapsed, and I was told I had an 80% chance of dying, I realised it might not be so simple. My second transplant was tougher than the first, but I was still okay. The side effects were difficult; the GvHD was making its way through my different systems, causing my skin to be paper thin, covered in a rash and blisters, my eyes were incredibly sensitive to light and hurt literally all the time for a month when I lived in the dark, then my eyes started turning yellow and liver failure set in. I had the liver transplant and the accidental third stem cell transplant, spent six months rehabbing and went home, but I was still going to be okay. I’d chosen photography by now, because what I’d documented so far was pretty niche. I didn’t need to be able to breathe or walk very far to publish photographs of a journey so many of us take but yet so few that don’t experience it directly know much about.

In the past year or so, I have let go of all my previous ambitions. I met Jimmy Carr when he came to the TCT unit at the QE, and we ended up having a relatively lengthy conversation. He told me that I should talk to people. As in, for a living. Or maybe not for a living, but that was what I should do with my life. I have an extraordinary story, and different elements will resonate with different people. I don’t claim to know how anybody else has felt when going through cancer or a transplant or an eating disorder, but I hope that my story raises awareness of these issues and how they can be compounded. I don’t want people to be sad about my departure; be happy for the life that I have lived. I have learned so much in the past six years that I could not have known any other way, and this situation brought me to some magnificent people, some of whom I will join, wherever it is that dead souls go. Today I have had such support on social media – retweeting is a powerful tool. So many people I don’t know in person or at all are sharing my posts and are signing up to be organ and bone marrow donors. Surely this story is press-worthy. My life can’t be saved, but I can save the lives of other people, however indirectly. I want the statistic of one in three people dying on the transplant list to disappear. I can help do that. I can share my experiences and make it easier for anyone else that goes through something like this. I can live big.

5 responses to I dreamed that my life would be big.


    There is no real way for me to understand what you are going through, but what you have written gave me enough of an insight for me to register straight away for Organ Donation, something I have just always ‘meant to do’. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for whoever retweeted and retweeted your blog so that I saw it. Kind wishes xxxx


    K you are great at being you. For saying it as it is and making the rest of us sit up and think! Your life has been for a great reason and. you are strong enough and the right person to make that difference, now, then and forever. I truly hope that your story makes the news, makes TV, and is shared with the world. Your story, YOU need to be listened to and you will and it will make a difference. In the 5 years I have known you I have learnt so much from you. You ARE a great person, more than you will ever believe. I am so very lucky to have you in my life, to know you and I am so very, very proud of you. You are an inspiration, fact and you WILL make a difference. Love you xx


    Wish you all the best. I would suggest a start on TED talks. If you have a great story or something to share, you can register and they will train you. And you will get this incredible opportunity to share and raise awareness with so many people in person and through internet.


    sharing with my husband’s PSC Liver Transplant support group. I have to spread the word. Much love to you, Kat!!! facebook.com/groups/Determined.Mike

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