Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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Interview with Stacie Pridden.

Welcome to the second instalment in my week long feature for National Transplant Week. I thought it would be great to talk to those who have undertaken the experience of having a transplant and what better person to talk to than fellow blogger herself, Stacie Pridden. I found Stacie's blog 'Life Is Worth The Fight' back when I used to sit and read Louise's blog Sprinkle of Glitter religiously! I was instantly drawn to her optimistic attitude and fight to raise her condition/transplant journey. I knew in an instant that when I decided to do this week long instalment of blog posts that Stacie would be somebody I would like to feature, So I am over the moon she agreed to do a interview for me!

1. Firstly can you introduce yourself and your condition?
So my name is Stacie, I am 24 years old and my condition pre transplant was Advanced Secondary Pulmonary Hypertension which basically just means I had extremely high pressures in my lungs that was caused by the 3 holes in my heart that I was born with that in turn put more pressure on my heart and made it twice the size of a regular heart.

2. When did you know you would need to have a transplant, how did it make you feel? 
So I knew at the age of 11 that I would need a transplant one day before I was diagnosed they actually toyed with the idea of giving me a heart transplant because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me (this would not have worked as we later discovered I had a lung disease also). When I was then diagnosed with PH they did tell me that the only way to "cure" PH and my particular kind was to have a Heart and Double Lung transplant but that would only become a option when the medication stopped working which it would eventually. I remember being quite scared about it when I thought it would be in my very immediate future as a child but when my medications started working it kind of just went to the back of my head and was something I would just have to deal with later on. When I was told in 2011 that I would have to go on the list now I was quite calm about the whole thing really because it was something I knew I had to do, it was something I always knew would happen one day so for me it was just the next step. 

3. What was it like to be on the transplant list? Was there moments you think you wouldn't get one and how did that feel?
The transplant waiting list is HARD! It's the not knowing that does it. I like to think I'm a very positive person and I believe I was for the first 2 years I was on the list but I hit 2 years and I do not know what happened but doubt starts to creep in, you dare not believe that you will get your transplant because you just don't want to disappoint yourself or give yourself any kind of false hope because at the end of the day being on the list does in no way guarantee you your transplant. Death is a very real part of your life while you are on the list and I made sure I never forgot it because I didn't want to give people unrealistic expectations of what may potentially happen. You feel very alone on the list and I definitely did towards the end. I didn't know anyone who had been waiting as long as I had and it started to make me a very bitter person I stopped interacting with other people on the list because in my mind they were just going to get their transplants before me even if they had only been waiting a month or a year. You become very insulated whilst on the list and I definitely became so towards the end.  

4. How did you feel when you received THE call? Did it feel unreal?
Ummm when I got my call I just thought "oh here we go again another false alarm" it was a inconvenience in my mind because it 'obviously' wasn't going to happen and they were just robbing me of my sleep lol. Even though we knew this call felt differently I still refused to believe it was happening until my coordinator came in with the wheelchair saying we were going. That's the moment... and even then you still doubt it, I said "what?" about 10 times. 

Stacie looking incredible 48 hours after her transplant! 

5. How are you feeling now it's over? Does a transplant 'cure' your condition?
Ummm it's a weird feeling now it's happened. I feel amazing in that I'm not in pain anymore and I can do all the little things that I missed being able to do like take a proper shower without having to try and avoid the line in my chest, walking and talking at the same time, walking up the stairs, not having a blue tinge to my skin. All those things are just amazing! So my transplant has officially "cured" me of PH, I no longer have it but transplant in itself is a whole new condition that I now have to manage but hopefully a better one that gives me my quality of life back. 

6. Are you on the organ donor list yourself?
So before my transplant I had signed forms that meant my organs would go to research if I died because a lot of my organs would be useless due to my medications but they could still help medically to further understand CHD and PH. But also anything else that could be of use would be used also. I have a donor card and carry it around with me everywhere. 

7. Why do you think people don't sign the list? 
I think that's a complicated question and there are a lot of reasons people don't sign the list. There will be those who just don't like to contemplate their own death and don't want to "tempt fate" if you will. There are those that it hasn't even crossed their minds. Those who mean to but just never get round to it. People with religious preferences. There's a lot of reasons. Some people don't even think about it until it affects them and their lives which in my mind is understandable unless something affects you you can't really begin to grasp it. 

8. Do you have anything to say to those considering it but just haven't yet?
 I would say to anyone considering signing the donor register for them to think if they were ever in the position that they needed a organ would they accept one? If the answer is yes then in my opinion there's really no reason for them not to be on the donor register because if you are willing to take an organ you should be willing to give one when your time comes. Also even if you aren't sure to have a discussion with you nearest and dearest so if they are ever in the position where they have to decide for you they know what you want and that would make a very terrible time for them much easier.


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