Alive And Kick­ing

Brave Lynette fought back from death to have a baby…

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

Adding an­other bauble to the Christ­mas tree, I stepped back and ad­mired my work. ‘Not bad,’ my mum Diane, 54, smiled, im­pressed.

It was De­cem­ber 2012 and I was look­ing for­ward to all the fes­tiv­i­ties.

Mince pies, turkey, lots of presents – I couldn’t wait!

And the big day cer­tainly didn’t dis­ap­point.

I spent it with Mum, my dad Robert, 58, and my brother Robert Jnr, 24.

Spend­ing qual­ity fam­ily time to­gether dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son was lovely.

But like every year, it was over too quickly.

Be­fore I knew it, it was 2013 al­ready.

A few months into the year, I started to feel a bit run down.

I thought it might be a touch of flu.

But my symp­toms got more se­vere.

Fever, headache, chesty cough…

‘You’ve got swine flu,’ a doc­tor di­ag­nosed.

I was im­me­di­ately ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal.

See, as a baby, I’d been born with cys­tic fi­bro­sis (CF) – a con­di­tion in which the lungs and di­ges­tive sys­tem be­come clogged with thick, sticky mu­cus.

Any kind of flu could lead to a se­ri­ous lung in­fec­tion.

Un­luck­ily, over the next few months my con­di­tion de­clined. The flu dam­aged my lungs.

All a blur

I ended up on a breath­ing ma­chine, as my lungs were strug­gling to cope.

I was so sick and weak, it was all a bit of a blur.

But I kept hear­ing whis­pers about a lung trans­plant.

‘It might be her only hope,’ a doc­tor told Mum and Dad.

I’d al­ways known I faced a lung trans­plant in the fu­ture, due to the CF.

But I’d al­ways as­sumed it was a long way off.

Hear­ing it dis­cussed now brought home just how sick I was.

So I was put on the trans­plant list.

Six months on, though, I was still in hos­pi­tal.

So I asked to be treated at home.

It’d been adapted for my needs, with a walk-in shower and breath­ing ma­chine.

Doc­tors agreed – but, with each pass­ing day,

I got sicker and weaker.

I couldn’t breathe by my­self, my lungs were giv­ing up on me.

I was con­vinced my time was al­most up.

‘For my fu­neral, I want ev­ery­one to wear bright colours,’ I told Mum.

She and Dad were in bits. Be­fore we knew it, Christ­mas was ap­proach­ing again.

Usu­ally I looked for­ward to it. But this year was dif­fer­ent.

‘All I want for Christ­mas is a new set of lungs,’ I told Mum and Dad.

Then at 5am on 5 De­cem­ber 2013, Mum came rush­ing into my room.

‘Lynette!’ she cried, wak­ing me. ‘Doc­tors have some lungs for you.’

With no time to waste, I was rushed by am­bu­lance to hos­pi­tal.

And, later that day, I was taken into theatre.

When I came round after the op, I took a deep breath. My first words?

‘I can breathe!’ I smiled.

I just couldn’t be­lieve

I was con­vinced that my time was al­most up...

how dif­fer­ent I felt.

For the first time in months I could breathe by my­self and I in­stantly felt stronger.

It was like I’d been given a fresh burst of life.

After four weeks in hos­pi­tal, I was well enough to go home.

And able to spend Christ­mas with my fam­ily.

It was an emo­tional day. ‘My lungs are the best gift I could’ve been given,’ I said, be­yond thank­ful.

Guess what?!

Within weeks, I was even back at the gym, work­ing out.

I felt like a com­pletely dif­fer­ent person.

Then in Au­gust 2014, I re­alised my pe­riod was late.

I can’t be preg­nant, though, I thought.

I’d al­ways been told that, with CF, I’d strug­gle to con­ceive.

But I did a preg­nancy test, any­way. Pos­i­tive. Surely it’s wrong, I thought, con­vinced there must be a mis­take.

It hadn’t been long since I’d bro­ken up with my ex.

We’d al­ways used a condom, but it ob­vi­ously hadn’t worked.

Then an­other test con­firmed the preg­nancy.

I was hav­ing a baby! And I was over the moon. ‘It’s a mir­a­cle,’ I laughed, un­able to be­lieve it.

But when I told my doc­tors, they were con­cerned.

They weren’t sure how a preg­nancy would af­fect my new lungs.

‘Go­ing through with it could dam­age them,’ a doc­tor warned me.

They ad­vised me to ter­mi­nate the preg­nancy for my own safety.

‘No chance!’ I said, with­out think­ing twice.

I didn’t care how risky it was for me, I sim­ply re­fused to abort my mir­a­cle baby.

Mum and Dad were wor­ried sick, but they sup­ported me.

I con­tin­ued with the preg­nancy, de­spite the warn­ings, and doc­tors mon­i­tored me closely.

And as my bump grew, so did my ex­cite­ment.

Luck­ily, the preg­nancy didn’t seem to af­fect my lungs or my breath­ing.

In fact, ev­ery­thing was go­ing well.

But then, in Fe­bru­ary 2015, when I was 28 weeks preg­nant, I went into pre­ma­ture labour.

Ari­ana ar­rived, weigh­ing a 2lb 2oz. Re­mark­ably, though, other than her size she was OK.

‘Hello, beau­ti­ful girl,’ I cried when I had my first hold.

I loved Ari­ana more than any­thing in the world.

‘I’ll be the best mum,’ I beamed, proudly.

She was kept in hos­pi­tal for three months to build

I still have to pinch my­self to be­lieve she’s here!

NEW LUNGS and a NEW Life as a mummy!

up her strength.

When she was al­lowed home, I couldn’t stop ad­mir­ing just how per­fect she was.

She’ll be 3 next Fe­bru­ary and thank­fully she doesn’t have cys­tic fi­bro­sis.

I still have to pinch my­self to be­lieve she’s here.

Re­ceiv­ing life-sav­ing lungs in time for Christ­mas was an un­be­liev­able gift.

And now that I have Ari­ana too – well, it’s noth­ing short of a Christ­mas mir­a­cle!

Rushed in for my trans­plant...

Now 3, ex­cited for Xmas!

Tiny Ari­ana weighed just over 2lb

Lynette Ar­mitage, 26,

Fallin, Stirling

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