Just before my operation it was my boyfriend’s 30th celebrations. I had already purchased some of the gifts in January, as I knew I would be short from cash leading up to the surgery date. As I was working on a nil hours contract, I would not be entitled to any sick pay or holiday pay whilst I was not working. I had bought him a gift experience to feed the lions by hand at the local zoo. He has always loved lions and was fascinated by them. So I thought this would be a very unique and special gift. I also arranged a surprise party at TigerTiger in London with his friends, a huge personalised cake and booked us a table at Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus Restaurant in August. I was happy I had managed to pull enough money together for him to have a special celebration. Unfortunately, his parents did not bother much and bought him a chocolate cake and a shirt. But I understand every family is different. I suppose in my mind, I felt that if I treated him well and showed him how much I cared for him, he would stick by me for the operation and we would come out stronger the other side. But regrettably with most things in my life I was wrong.
In August a few days before my operation we went to Petrus a two Michelin star restaurant in central London. It was beautiful, the staff were wonderful and we did not feel out of place at all. We sat through the evening from 6:30-10:30 chatting and laughing. I remember for the first time in a long time, since having the facial pain and struggling through life, I felt happy. I felt like this was the place I wanted to be in my life right now and I would not change it for the world. I am sure the £60 bottle of wine I was drinking helped. But I really enjoyed the night. It was special and not ruined by anything or anyone. The menu was very apt for my jaw issues. I was able to eat everything on the menu, as long as I broke it up into small bite size pieces. For once in a long time I did not feel like a freak or feel like people were watching or staring at me. I felt comfortable in myself and at home. I sat there thinking I could actually survive this operation and everything would be great again. We toasted for many more happy moments like this.
During that day I also got confirmation that Sophie had received the lungs she had waited months for and had come out of having her double lung transplant. She was doing ok and was stable. She would remain sedated for a few days before they tried to bring her around to use the new lungs for herself. I would text her every day, even if I was not sure if she got it. I made sure she knew I was thinking and praying for her. If Sophie could fight to survive like that and still be so strong after double lung transplant, then I could do that too. We always said we would have our operations around the same time and recover together. Then after we had recovered, there would be no stopping us. The world would be our oyster and we could have all the fun and good times we had missed out on in the last couple of years. She was a real inspiration to me and I love her to this day.