An inspirational blogger who captivated Twitter as she underwent a double lung and heart transplant is back on the waiting list – after her body rejected the lungs.
Brave Stacie Pridden, 26, spent three tortuous years on the transplant waiting list and touched people around the world with a blog documenting her journey.
The risky transplant went ahead in May 2015 and she posted a photo to her Twitter followers saying: “I’m alive guys – thanks for your messages 🙂 xoxo”.
She appeared to recover well until she got an infection and was diagnosed with chronic lung rejection in July last year.
Her lung functionality dropped from 80 to 25 per cent in just six weeks and doctors have now told her she will need another double transplant.
Stacie is relying on oxygen and a cocktail of medication to stay alive and doctors have been unable to tell her how long she may have to live.
However, she is at the back of the queue for a donor and a “transplant on top of a transplant” operation has only been carried out twice in the world.
But inspirational Stacie, from Pinehurst in Swindon, Wilts., has refused to give up hope.
She said: “Whereas the first time around I had 20 years of deteriorating this time I had six weeks to deal with it.
“While I was deteriorating I did feel like I was dying and every breath was my last. It feels a lot more urgent this time.
“A double lung transplant is even rarer the second time around. I believe it has only been done twice in the world.
“Nine out of ten people can’t go back on the waiting list for various reasons.
“I’m just extremely lucky that I’m still young and that my drugs haven’t had time to destroy my other organs yet.
“I’m still regular old me, I’m just very ill again and I’m using a wheelchair again and I can’t really walk very far.
“General day-to-day stuff is very hard for me yet again. But I still feel very happy and positive.”
Stacie was born with three holes in her heart and endured operations every year until she was 13.
She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002, a rare blood vessel disorder in her lung, and knew an organ transplant was the only thing that would keep her alive.
Stacie was officially put on the transplant list when her condition significantly worsened after her 18th birthday and was given three years to live.
On her blog – Life is Worth The Fight – she took her readers through the ups and downs of her illness.
But she finally underwent her organ transplant at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge in May 2015. Her body has accepted the heart well.
Stacie is now seeing specialists every two weeks, is on 20 different medications a day and relies on oxygen machines – but has vowed to battle on.
She says her unrelenting positivity is what keeps her going as she faces going through another risky operation to regain her health.
“Everyone knows when they have a transplant that they will eventually go into some form of rejection,” she said.
“I kinda hoped I would reach the five-year average but unfortunately I was one of the unlucky people that went into rejection sooner.
“I think my family find it hard watching me go through it again because this time I’m a lot iller than I was the first time and they’re having to do a lot more for me.”
She is now urging people to join the donor register. To join the Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk