Gift of life for Cairns woman
WHITFIELD resident Anna Lillie received the gift of life five days before Christmas a new pancreas and a kidney.
The 33-year-old was given the organs from a 32-year-old man and the successful operation has completely changed her life.
In less than 12 hours she flew from her home at Bradford St, Cairns, to Melbourne, had the transplants and was recovering from the surgery. Ms Lillie hopes to be home before the end of the month to start the next phase of her life.
The donation and surgery means the end of a three-year "rough road''.
No longer does she have to use a dialysis machine every night for nine hours to have her blood cleansed, nor inject insulin four times a day.
Ms Lillie was diagnosed with diabetes 21 years ago and her kidneys failed three years ago.
"It's been a pretty rough road in the way I have to deal with everything,'' she told The Weekend Post.
"I'm stoked ... it's more exciting than anything.''
The former graphic designer had put her life on hold, anxiously awaiting the call that a matching donor was available.
With the strong support of her parents, Jill and Ian Lillie, she lived at home to undergo dialysis and injections.
Holding down a job was difficult after working on cruise ships, in a pizza shop and graphic designing. Travel was almost out of the question.
But on December 19 she received the long-awaited call at 3.30am.
Six hours later she was on a flight to Melbourne.
At 7.30pm she was wheeled into the Monash Medical Centre theatre and after a six-hour operation was in recovery.
Now Ms Lillieis waiting to ensure there's no rejection while she undergoes regular blood tests and takes several prescriptions.
"I'm in a bit of pain and the wound needs to heal, but so far so good," she said.
"It's a shock to the system not having the injections or the dialysis. Now I can eat what I want. It's awesome," she said.
The AFL follower expects to return home in two weeks and start a new career next month.
Inspired by her ordeal she has enrolled in a nursing course at James Cook University. She wants to specialise in diabetes.
Ms Lillie said she was "extremely grateful" for the organ donation.
Through the hospital she said she would write to the family expressing her appreciation and hoped to find out more about the donor.
Mum Jill Lillie said the family urged people to donate their organs.
"We are so grateful for his family. But, while we are rejoicing Anna's operation, we know a family is grieving," she said.
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New lease:Whitfield resident Anna Lillie has given away her dialysis equipment after receiving a new pancreas and kidney before Christmas.