MUM-of-two Christine Thornton knows the agony of waiting for a life-saving lung transplant.
She has been left barely able to brush her own teeth, forced to give up her job and sleep downstairs, by a genetic disorder which is gradually reducing the function of her lungs.
For almost a year the 45-year-old has been on the NHS Organ Donor Register waiting for a transplant that will give her a second chance at life.
And, to back The Star’s Gift of Life campaign to recruit 12,000 more organ donors, she is writing a Star blog about her experience.
Here is the blog from Christine, of Alexandra Road, Aston.
“As you know a couple of weeks ago I came close to getting my double lung transplant.
“I hope it won’t be too long before it really happens because there are days when my illness does get me down, because i can’t go out on my own, not even just to pop to the shops.
“I never know when I’m going to start struggling for my breath. I have to take my portable oxygen out with us as some days I’m okay while out in the wheelchair and might not have to use it, only my sprays, but then another day I might go out and I will have to use oxygen maybe because it’s cold or windy.
“At about teatime I will start to struggle and will have to use my nebuliser as well as oxygen.
“My illness is causing my lungs to age quicker and anything I breathe in will do more damage to my lungs than it normally would. So if I get a cold or flu, it will make me really ill and I will have to go to hospital.
“I also get a lot of chest infections due to my illness.
“I do try to do bits in the house when I can, so it helps my daughter out, but I have to do things in stages.
“I have to keep stopping to get my breath before I start again but over the years I’m getting worse and the things I do are taking me a longer to do.
“I wish I could just get up and wash the pots without struggling.
“We all spend days wishing we could just sit watching telly, chilling most of the day, and do nothing but when you’re doing it most days it gets boring and you just want to be busy.
“Me and my daughter have registered on the donor list because we know what it’s like for people and their families who need a transplant.
“I can’t give my lungs but the rest of my organs are working so I would like to think I could help someone like me get their life back.
“I became a grandma in November last year and it has upset me that I’ve not been able to have my granddaughter overnight because I wouldn’t be able to look after her. I would love just to be able to take her to the park or seaside.”
“When I first found out I had my illness it took a while to sink in and i didn’t realise how much it would affect my family as well as me.
“As I’ve got worse my daughter and son have had to help me with things like the housework and shopping and when I have bad chest infections, which I get a lot, I was took in to hospital and they not only had the worry of how I was but they had to look after the house.
“For the last two years I’ve been really bad with my breathing. I’m now on oxygen when im walking around, my daughter has had to give up work to be my full time carer.
“It takes me a lot longer to do things so my daughter helps with the housework and taking me shopping and needs to be around just in case I need my medicine, which I take a lot of.
“I’ve got three different inhalers, I’m on steriods a lot, I have to use my nebulisor two to three times a day so first thing in a morning I have to take most of them which takes at least half an hour.
“I will be glad when i can just jump out of bed and get ready .
“It’s taken me two years to get on the transplant list.
“I will be so happy when I get the transplant, not only will I get a second chance, but my daughter will get her life back as well.
“In the last two years I’ve got more tired and have found it more difficult to do things.
“I can’t even remember what it’s like to breathe normally without struggling for my breath and last week I thought the day had come finally.
“I got the call at 1.30 in the morning, it’s the first call I’ve had and didn’t know what to expect.
“It was a mad rush, I had to wake my daughter up so she could help me get ready and so she could come with me. I felt a bit sick after I’d put phone down, I know I’ve been waiting for this day for ages but it sunk in then that I’m going to have a major operation.
“I felt a bit scared, the ambulance came within 20 minutes. It was so quick they had to check if I was ok and then it was a long wait to find out if the lung was okay.
“But it turned out to be no good. It was a disappointment for me and my family. but it made me have a bit of hope that I’m getting closer to having the transplant.”
“Hi, my name’s Chrissy Thornton.
“I am 45 years of age and I have Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is affecting my lungs.
“I was diagnosed with this in 2002 and am on the lung transplant list waiting for a double lung transplant.
“I have two children, Mark Barton aged 22, and Naomi Barton aged 20.
“I struggle with daily activities, for example house work and even making a meal for myself, due to my illness.
“ I also have oxygen which I have to use for everything except when sitting still.
“Because of this my daughter Naomi is my main carer, my son Mark lives in Stoke-on-Trent so he can’t help out as much as he’d like to, but she gets a lot of support off very close friends Tasmin Tingle and Amy Taylor, which is a big help.
“I’ll be writing a blog for the Star over the coming weeks as part of the campaign to recruit 12,000 more organ donors before the transplant games.
“Please keep reading, get in touch and let me know what you think of the blog.”