It’s been just over seven months since Claire McLaughlin underwent life-saving transplant surgery.
The Inishowen mother-of-three was literally days from death last September when an eleventh hour liver donor was found, giving her a second chance at life.
“They told me that I wouldn’t have made another day without it,” she says.
“My life has changed completely since my transplant. I wasn’t even able to get out of bed in the morning, go to the bathroom myself or do anything with my kids, but now I have great energy and feel like I’m able to do anything.”
“I thank God every morning when I open my eyes and feel so great, something which I’ll never again take for granted.”
Now firmly back on the road to recovery, Claire recalls how she almost succumbed to ‘Wilson’s Disease’, a rare genetic disorder that eventually caused severe cirrhosis of her liver.
“It was surreal to think about death but I did every day, and at times my body was in so much pain I just wanted to die.”
“I feel so guilty for thinking like that when I look back now, but I felt I needed to talk about it. At that time my health had deteriorated so badly that I was starting to plan my own funeral.”
A native of Moville living in Falmore, Gleneely since 2003, Claire had resigned herself that “the call was never going to come” when suddenly everything began to change for the better.
“It was heartbreaking watching my family be so brave in front of me but they never stopped encouraging me.
I thought the call was never going to come and didn’t know how much longer I could hold on.”
“But then a nurse entered my hospital room and said Dublin rang and they had a donor. Well I cannot begin to tell you how much that phone call meant, not only to me, but also to my family and my whole community.”
For more, see this week’s Inishowen Independent. On sale in shops across Inishowen, Donegal and Derry.
Digital edition coming very soon.