Learning to laugh again after double lung transplant
THREE years ago Renee Falconer had resigned herself to the fact she would die.
"I knew I was dying, there was no way to sugar-coat it so I started making arrangements for my death and talking to my husband and parents about my wishes," she said.
Mrs Falconer was born with cystic fibrosis and always knew her only hope of living a long life would be a double lung transplant but knew they did not always come up in time.
In 2015 her lung capacity had decreased so much she was put on the transplant list and was fortunate to receive a call informing her she would be receiving new lungs.
"Before my transplant I had 15 per cent of my lungs working so the equivalent of a 600ml bottle of coke and when I woke up from surgery I had 2.7L," she said.
The 28-year-old said a transplant was not a cure as some organs could fail after a period of time.
"Lungs are one of the most sensitive organs because they are directly linked to the outside so I have to take a lot of antibiotics on a regular basis to fend off infection," she said.
"I also have to take a lot of anti-rejection drugs which lowers your immune system and make you more susceptible to things like cancer and liver and kidney failure.
"But on the other side of the coin it's all worth it because I'm now able to experience a life I've never know before.
"I've learnt how to laugh again because I had stopped doing that because it was too painful and I can now walk from the car to the shops without worrying about breaking out into a coughing fit."
Mrs Falconer said not a day goes by where she was not thankful for the wonderful gift she had received through one person's decision to register as an organ donor.
"The rest of my life I will be thinking about my donor and their family and trying to honour them in how I live my life," she said.
"I'm now an organ donor myself. I don't know what they can use but I'd rather sign up and let doctors decide in the hope I could help someone like I've been helped."