After being accepted early December 2001 for the Liver Transplant Programme, I found the hardest time for my caregiver and me was waiting, then finding out that when you thought you were first on the list, suddenly you were number three.  However, we accepted in the beginning that this could happen.  I now remember Dawn's words - "It'll happen when you least expect it!"  How true those words were to be!

The day after being told I was 3rd on the list in my blood group, I received that much awaited phone call.

It really does happen!

Keeping a positive physical and mental attitude is most important pre- and post-transplant.  I found the positive attitude of the people from the Transplant team, the nurses, the caregivers and friends rubbed off on me, and helped my quick recovery.

The whole procedure from operation to where I'm at now, i.e. nearly one month down the line (from the transplant), has run smoother than either my caregiver or myself ever dreamed of.  We had both decided, early on, there would be no "cotton wool wrapping" and to get back to normal life as soon as possible was my main goal.

After the operation I came to in the Department of Critical Care Medicine [D.C.C.M.] with what seemed like a maze of tubes protruding from my body, and this tube (the ventilator) down my throat.  I had heard about this procedure from other patients.  Some had said they found this most uncomfortable.  My thoughts were - "it's just for a day or so, relax and don't fight it, and try to breathe at a comfortable pace in harmony with the ventilator."  It does help, and the tube was taken out that morning.

After a day and a half in D.C.C.M. I was taken up to Ward 7B, where I celebrated my 58th birthday with family and friends - wow, what a birthday!  Over the next few days tubes were removed, my strength and energy increased and I was able to get up and about.  This was a good confidence booster.

The next buzz was seeing all those ugly liver spots (spiders) and skin growths magically vanishing and a decent colour returning to my skin.  To get out and see people you haven't seen for weeks and they comment on how well you look is wonderful encouragement.

Eight days post-transplant I was discharged from hospital.  The day after returning home I had this urge to play a game or two of Pool (Eight Ball) with my partner and caregiver - Karen.  I had heard and read of some of the side effects of medication, such as vision and tremor effects, so this outing was to prove to myself that even with 40 metal clips in my abdomen, I could still play a reasonable game.  The result was positive, so I contacted a buddy of mine - Steve - and arranged with him to play as partners in the "Mens Doubles" Trophy Competition at our local pool club.  This was to be played up to and including the semi-finals on Tuesday evening, 11 days post-transplant, with the Finals on the following Tuesday.

When I told Dr. Gane of my plans the day before we were due to play, he gave me this strange look and asked me if I felt well and able enough.  My reply was that I wouldn't attempt it if I thought I wasn't able, so he gave me the nod.

Once again, I found myself in the position of having nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Our game plan was to relax and let each other play our own natural game.  Happily, we won our way to the Finals.  This was to be decided the best of 5 games and so the icing on the cake was our winning the Finals 3-0 in just 25 minutes.  A positive, relaxed attitude works wonders and our game really clicked that night.

Thank goodness there is no steroid testing in pool competitions, if there was, maybe I'd be banned for life.  [Transplantees are on Prednisone].

My next goal is to get back surfing next summer, that's the ultimate fun.

My last and most important thought is for my Donor, who has given me the chance again of the greatest thing in life - good health.  To that person and family I shall remain forever grateful.