Ivy Ashworth-Crees talks about how much better her life is since her double kidney and pancreas transplant.
"Over 30 years ago, I started to have diabetes and had to have insulin injections four times a day. I also had to work hard on my diet to make sure I didn’t eat too much sweet food.
"After about 25 years, I got kidney failure and, in 2003, I had to go on kidney dialysis. The kidney dialysis was very uncomfortable. It was a drain, having to do it four times a day, as well as having the diabetes injections four times a day. I felt like my life was on hold.
"I was on kidney dialysis for two years when they put me on the list to have a kidney transplant. The surgeon suggested that I could probably benefit from a kidney and a pancreas transplant, which meant I wouldn’t be a diabetic any more.
"When I got the phone call to say that I was going to Manchester for the transplant, I was absolutely hysterical. I was a bag of emotions, both thrilled and terrified.
"When I came round after the operation, I was in intensive care. I stayed there for about three or four days, then I was taken to the main ward.
"The most difficult part was getting out of bed and starting to walk. They walked me up and down the ward for weeks until my legs got strong enough. That was very, very difficult. The pain was very bad, but it’s all been worth it.
"The doctor asked me to reduce my weight, so I joined the gym. I enjoy swimming, I think it’s helping me to keep active. The only problem is that I can’t walk too far.
"It’s vital that I take the immunosuppressant drugs. If I don’t, my body could reject the kidney and pancreas. I have to take them for the rest of my life.
"My life’s changed dramatically. I now take it for granted that I can eat what I want, including chocolates! I’m back at work, I don’t have an injection after my meals, I don’t have to rush home for dialysis and my kidneys and pancreas are working well.
"I feel blessed that I’ve been through this operation and it’s worked so well."