At the Thanksgiving and Remembrance Service in May 2011, Brian Guy, a heart and double lung recipient and one of our members, shared his story of thanks. The Service is conducted under the auspices of DonateLife, the Victorian Organ Donation Agency. Brian is happy to share it now with you.
Good afternoon, my name is Brian Guy. I am 46 years of age. I am a heart and double lung recipient. Today I am here with my wife Cathy, son Zachary (almost 10), Daughter Natalie (8). We live in the suburb of Hoppers Crossing in the West of Melbourne. Please let me share some of my journey with you.
At approximately the age of twenty three I was diagnosed with asthma. I remember my first attack very well. I was with some friends down at Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road. We were celebrating the end of our Diploma course. It was about 7 pm at night and we had just left the venue where we had been having dinner. As I walked across to my friend's car I suddenly realized that I was having trouble breathing. My friend asked me was I asthmatic but I said NO. He was asthmatic and had a puffer and so offered me some which made me feel much better. Because it was getting late we decided not to head back to Melbourne but rent a 6 birth caravan for the night. (All ten of us).
Early in the morning (about 6 am) I woke up and was struggling to breathe again but this time it was worse. I got out of the caravan to try and get some fresher air outside but by this time was starting to get distressed. My best friend came out to see what was wrong and I said he had better get me to hospital as I did not feel so good. So we went off to Geelong Hospital and they fixed me up. When I got back to Melbourne I went to see my GP, was given a puffer, and was diagnosed as being an asthmatic.
For about 10 years life went back to normal. I had three or four minor attacks in that time frame but other than that life was pretty good. Until one day I had a major attack while at work. I ended up in the Sunshine Hospital where they had to knock me out and intubate me to get my breathing back under control. When I woke up I had been transported to The Alfred by ambulance.
After this experience I was sent off to see the Respiratory Medicine doctors at The Alfred where I was diagnosed with a condition called Bronchiolitis obliterans. By this stage it was discovered that I had about 52% lung capacity. Over the next 10 years my lung function was continually monitored by The Alfred and progressively got worse over time. I went from 52% down to 30% down to 20% and eventually to 13%. At about 20% I was told that I really needed a lung transplant and should go on the waiting list. However for a long time I put it off thinking I was ok, till one day I had a big scare.
After 5 courses of antibiotics I still had not got rid of a chest infection I had and it was then I realized I was in trouble. So off to the doctors I went and asked to be put on the waiting list.
- I now weigh a healthy 54kg, which is better than 43 kg
- Have a lung capacity of 88% which is far better than 13%
- And every day that I get to spend with my wife and family is a blessing
- To date my wife, my children and I have talked to well in excess of 1,000 people about the benefits transplantation and organ donation
In conclusion please let me finish with this -
To my wife Cathy, I love you. You are my number one and always will be.
I thank the doctors and the nurses, your skill, your care, your love and dedication is beyond words.
And to my God above who takes care of me, I thank you.
But above and beyond all of these things -
I wish to thank the donors and their families for the gift that you have given. Your compassion, your love, your kindness and the gift that you have given in a time of sorrow is beyond measure. Without you none of this would be possible.
Brian Guy, heart and double lung recipeint