Wednesday, 29 October 2008


So I'm famous again this week. Page 7 gal and all. Hehe just a small article in our local paper about my trip to Wythenshawe, we didn't even know it was going to be in at all but I guess the more publicity the better. This evening some guy knocks at our door completely oblivious it seemed as to where he was and whose door he was actually knocking at. Mum answered “that girl, that was in the advertiser last week, do you know which house on this close she lives in?” Mum frowned a little “it’s this one why?” Long story short he is from a local charity called ‘Just Help Foundation’. I’ve looked at the website and it doesn’t seem like the sort of charity to help a cause like mine… The headline being ‘Fighting extreme poverty, saving lives’. But I guess with the charity being local, actually based in my town their making an exception? Who knows? I think going through something like this really restores your faith in ordinary people. We have raised so far almost £10,000 just in the last week doing local fund raisers.
I think also the publicity from my article in Closer magazine which came out yesterday has been a great help and I am very pleased with that. So thank you to Emily for sorting that out!
Now something that a couple of people have mentioned, what would happen to the money if either my time ran out or we had any left over (heres hoping on that one!)? I am more than happy to talk about this as people have been kind enough to donate so its only fair they know what will happen to their money. I have had a think about it and it would be near impossible obviously to give each donation back to each individual so instead I’ve decided I’d like it split between some charities. Willow Wood Hospice, the local hospice that has been looking after me since I deteriorated in August. I recently spent a month in the hospice for symptom control and I now attend their day hospice twice a week, most of the staff that work there are volunteers because like most hospices it is grossly under funded. The British Lung Foundation, the only charity in the UK that aims to cure all lung disease their motto being ‘One person in seven in the UK is affected by lung disease. We are here for every one of them’. Also I have recently had a wish granted by The Willow Foundation. I had a pamper weekend away in Centre Parcs (html'ed for my American readers ;-)). They are an adult wish foundation, granting seriously ill adults a wish. The world of adult medicine is pretty ruthless and having spent alot of time in ITUs, HDUs and recently Willow Wood I have seen (or heard) the blunt end of it. So this foundation deserves some recognition.
So I think that about sums this blog up.
Oh one last thing I started antibiotics on Saturday for a possible lung infection. And its a good thing I did as for a few days now I've had bad back pain. I mentioned this at day hospice on Tuesday and long story short I have a Kidney infection. I've been to see my chest consultant today and probably haven't got a lung infection (had my sats checked on 60% oxygen/12Litres and they were 92%, woohoo), its just further deterioration in my lungs but I need to stay on the antibiotics for the Kidney infection.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

From Jamie

When i met Rachael i knew what i was getting myself into cause iv'e been through near enough the same thing with the pulmonary hypertension but never realised how hard it is on the other side of it, what i mean is when i was waiting for my heart and double lung transplant i was the only one who wasn't worried i had the attitude that if i die i die i'm not gonna know about it so i will not let it bother me and just let my family do all the worrying for me and try and live my life as best as i could. Well now i know what they went through cause the thought of losing a loved one is unbearable for anyone and i'm worried sick thinking about Rachael 24/7. It's weird cause when i'm not with her i'm worried about her and when i'm with her i'm worried about her. I try really hard not to let it show what i'm feeling when i'm with her cause lets face it i'm not good showing my feelings never have been and probably never will be although rachy is the first girl who has made me cry (thanx Rach :-)). I guess what i'm trying to say is that i believe our lives are set in a certain way and challenges are sent to test us and the thing is we can beat them if we don't let them get us down and just try and live our lives as best as we can and the most important thing for me was STAYING POSITIVE. Iv'e done it and Rachael WILL beat this illness and get her transplant cause she is a fighter she was ill 6 years before i met her and now she just needs to stay positive which i know is really hard to do but you know the saying "what goes around comes aound".. Stay positive.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Transplant Choices...

I started this blog so I could be totally honest about my life and what goes on in it and damn it that’s what’s gonna happen in this blog.

So this afternoon I went a place I swore I would never go back to again. I'm not going to name names but it was my local transplant centre.

The last time I was at this hospital... Well let’s just say the consultant and I had a fatal fall out. He told me at 17 to go live my life because I could if I wanted to and I was just choosing not to and there’s nothing more he could do because there was nothing more to be done anyway.

I had the diagnosis of a lung disease which was serious and progressive but that didn't seem to matter and although I had originally gone to that hospital for a transplant assessment it was pretty clear I wasn't going to get one there.

I wasn't happy with what he said to me and without asking his permission I asked to be referred by my GP to a top London hospital I had been to before and knew well.

He didn't like this and after my referral he wrote a letter, a series of letters, to every physician I had ever met in my entire life stating quite clearly I had psychological issues and whatever was wrong with me lung and diaphragm wise was completely within my control and I would become ill at difficult times i.e. when he was on leave and not in the building just for more attention.

He made out I was completely none compliant with my medication. Which is very untrue, of course I'm gonna say that but taking tablets and nebulisers is something I've done for years and although I wouldn't say I enjoy doing them, they're a chore but they're something I can do to make/keep myself well and that gives me some piece of mind that what I'm doing is making that difference and I'm doing the best I can for myself because nobody else can do anything for me! There was one tablet which I had an issue with and those taking it will understand why, at that time I was on a hefty dose of Ferrous Sulphate that was the only tablet I hated taking and would try and avoid and that’s how my 'major none compliancy' came about. Ferrous Sulphate is an evil drug it left me hunched over a water bottle most of the day after taking it and dashing to the loo and from talking to a doctor friend of mine compliancy issues with Ferrous Sulphate are very, very common just purely due to its nasty side affects.

Since all this emerged my London team have read through the letters and were 'disgusted' with what had been written about me but knew they had to take at least some action on it. So I under went a full psychiatric profile and I'm pleased to say he said he was wasting his time because there was clearly nothing wrong with me.

So anyway I saw the transplant consultant this afternoon and he went over all the issues why transplant isn't an option for me here in the UK so here they are:

  • I'm not physically fit, mobile or well enough, having just spent a month in bed in a hospice that doesn't surprise me much.
  • My weight is unstable (I have lost 2 stone recently unintentionally).
  • The psychological and compliancy issues have to be investigated and ruled out completely (post transplant drug none compliancy is very dangerous).
  • Diaphragmatic issues need to be explored further.
  • I also need a proper diagnosis for my lung disease at the moment its 'Idiopathic Interstitial Lung Disease' which basically means: An unknown lung disease which affects the lung tissue, my consultant believes its some sort of Interstitial Bronchiolitis or Obliterative Bronchiolitis but we don't know for sure. Knowing would mean we would know if it could strike again post transplant.
  • I am currently on 30mg of Prednisolone a drug they also use alot of post transplant and they don't like you being on more than 10mg a day pre transplant due infection and wound healing issues.
  • I have osteoporosis - That could cause problems with bone healing post transplant.
  • Lastly the UK lung transplant list is just too long, you could wait upto 4yrs for a donor in the UK that is time I really don't have. It would be such a shame to work on the other issues when the list is just too long anyway.

You see how my rant above links in now?

The above list seems like a long one but they are or most are things that can or could be worked on if we had the time and really wanted to make it work in the UK. But we don't have the time, the transplant list is just too long but you see my predicament? My local transplant centre are now saying they need more information, but its a possibility so they have not said "NO you can't have a transplant here so go away" and Duke University haven't said yes yet. I've not been accepted at Duke yet, I'm fund raising because I need to be accepted there because the UK transplant list is too long but Duke could also say exactly the same as my transplant centre have today.
So what do I do now?!
Although the UK transplant list is too long I have not been officially turned down in the UK, yet, that’s pending more information from my London team. But I have not been accepted by Duke either; they’re also after more info on me.
I think having had some time to reflect this afternoon I need to carry on fund raising to get to Duke because I don't have the time to wait around for these lungs in the UK, my time is running out and my consultant who I had a chat to this afternoon agrees with this. But I should also let things run their course at the local transplant centre because I guess it can't hurt right?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

photo shoot pic

Longer post coming tomorrow after my trip (Rachy) to the local transplant center who have already refused me a transplant over the phone stating "she doesn't fit the criteria" but have invited me to an appointment anyway and well I can't very well say no. So I'm dragging my deoxygenated butt to the center tommorrow to hear what I already know... I don't fit their criteria.

For now I thought I'd leave you with a cute pic from the photo shoot...

Monday, 20 October 2008

Jamie's First Rant

Ok so this blog has been up for a while and I know there has been a lot of posts from Rachael and I know this is about both of us the way we are as a couple and the way were both feeling about what Rachael is going through so I thought I better write something. I went to see Rachy at the weekend and she was having a really rough time infact so rough she could hardly even look at or talk to me about what was wrong with her apart from the obvious but one thing I did work out for myself she is seeing everything from a negative view instead of positive I'm trying so hard to make her smile and try to encourage her to stay positive but she keeps throwing it back in my face. All I know that is that I love her so much and I really want her to make it through this. She did however tell me about some arse who left a comment about her putting it on and to just 'get over it'. Well whoever you are you mysterious commenter I wouldn't wish right now what Rachael is going through even on you (though you probably deserve it).

Sunday, 19 October 2008

One last plea...

Not that I'm begging or anything but please, please help me get to America.


Friday, 17 October 2008

Closer mag

So I had my lovely visitors this afternoon and we had our giggles, can't quite remember at what (I've had alot of Diazepam and slept since then) but they were funny at the time I'm sure.

Wasn't so well this afternoon but all the staff could think to do was drug me up with Dizepam and put me on my ventilator and leave me to 'sleep it off'. With me, probably not the best option but there was no harm done.

Mum is, in desperation, for some money for my funds, bag packing tomorrow at a local Morrisons. I so feel for her, shes absolutely desperate to get me the money and get me to America. I may ask for some leave from the hospice and go show my face. In the mean time I have been thinking of other ways to pull on people's heart strings. Talking, at the moment is somewhat of a challenge for me so a video appeal maybe the way to go. I recorded something on my laptop and if I can work out how to upload it in the right format I will.

A Journalist from Closer magaazine is coming on Monday to take my story so shes been on the phone to me on and off all day asking about stations/times etc. I will be in Closer Magazine on Oct 28th!

I am going to go now before Jamie completely empties my cupboards (post transplant readers you'll understand me) seen as I don't have a fridge well its cupboards instead...



So in this blog I feel the need to set a few things straight. Some not so very nice comments have been left on the main guest book on our website.I am not going on Granada Reports (local new station) tonight because out of 'courtesy' the local transplant centre after refusing to even give me a primary appointment have decided they could just about manage one and have given me one for the 24th of this month. I will be attending (even though I would just like to tell them where to stick their appointment) to find out exactly what 'criteria' it is I don't meet.

After a discharge meeting at the hospice yesterday, social services, after us asking until we were blue in the face if mum could be my carer agreed she could be under 'special circumstances'. Usually a family member that lives under the same roof under the care package I have cannot be the primary carer but they have decided to allow this in my 'special' case.

So I am looking at discharge on the 22nd. Will be going to day hospice twice a week opposed to the usual once a week so I have day hospice on the 23rd then transplant appointment on 24th. My primary consultant is aware and has agreed if I can't cope he will sort me out a bed in hospital, something we really want to avoid but bottom line is my lungs are just not good enough for me to be at home. It doesn't matter how many carers and how much help they will give us if I'm not well enough I'm just not well enough.

Anyway back to the reason for this post. I don't know who you are and which one of us that "I know someone who works at the hospital and has looked after you and theres nothing wrong with you, so get over it" comment in our guest book was aimed at, I can only guess me due to my recent press coverage but seriously if you can be that pathetic and think a comment like that in our guestbook is going to make a difference, well, how stupid are you?...

More later when I'm in a better mood at the moment I have lovely visitors I must get back to :-)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Front page News...

I Know I/we said this blog would be the thoughts and journey of a transplant couple and believe me in time it will be but for now it's other peoples thoughts... Rachael made front page news today. Below is the article but you can see it for yourself here:

‘Help me before it’s too late’

by Adam Derbyshire (For the Tameside Advertiser)

A TEENAGER whose crippling lung disease was triggered by the family’s pet cockatiel desperately needs a transplant to survive.

Rachael Wakefield, 20, is fighting for her life in Willow Wood Hospice and admits time is running out.

Specialists in the UK have refused to offer her the lung transplant she desperately requires, telling her she doesn’t "fit the criteria".

Rachael was struck down by the mysterious disease at 13.

She said: "I am dying — this is the last roll of the dice. My only other alternative is a wooden box. I’m on morphine and oxygen round-the-clock. Every single breath is a struggle."

The family needs to raise £400,000 to pay for a transplant at the world’s leading lung clinic the Duke University in North Carolina, America.

Rachael, Dukinfield, Cheshire, underwent years of tests but her illness continued to baffle doctors who diagnosed everything from childhood asthma to pulmonary fibrosis.

Two years ago, it emerged the culprit was cockatiel Penni who had lived in the family home since Rachael was eight.

Specialists at a top London children’s hospital told Rachael she has hypersensitivity pneumonitis, more commonly known as ‘bird fancier’s lung’.

Dust from the bird’s droppings wafts into the air like an aerosol. It is harmless to most people but can trigger chronic breathing difficulties in a minority of people.

Throughout her teenage years, Rachael was hooked up to oxygen 24-hours-a-day. While her pals enjoyed nights out she was "trapped in the body of a pensioner" — a virtual prisoner in her own home.

Regular stays in Hospital led to her contracting MRSA twice. And last November she "died" during surgery and had to be revived after antibiotics were given to her too quickly.

She even underwent a course of chemotherapy in January in a bid to "wipe clean" her immune system.

But she deteriorated in August and after yet another spell in Hospital she was transferred to the hospice three weeks ago.

Rachael added: "No one who can help me is willing to do so — I feel like I’ve been left. It is so rare they just don’t know how to treat it. But every day I’m getting worse. And if we don’t raise the money I will die."

Mum Lynnette, 41, said: "It’s heartbreaking. They have told us there is no shortage of organs at the institute in America. But we have to find the cash."

Rachael has set up a website where people can donate to her fund at

Although Paypal is a quick, trusted and easy way to donate they're taking their fees. Out of a £1.00 donation they will take 37p. So cheques can now be made payable to 'Rachaels Future Hope' and sent to: 32 Rosehill Road, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire, OL6 8HR. A Seperate bank account has been opened for the transplant fund and account details will be published on the website ASAP.

I promise tomorrows blog will be a personal one!


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A desperate plea

I was going to blog tonight about how horrible I have felt most of the day and the local newspaper coming to take my story, then Katie, my best friend sent me something she had been working on whilst in hospital so I'll leave this blog to her:

Over 20 different medications, nebulisers, inhalers and other numerous aggressive treatments, 24hr oxygen, and non-invasive ventilation, is a scary prospect for anyone let alone a young 20 year old girl. This is the norm in the life of Rachael Wakefield, battling to keep herself breathing, living and enough oxygen in her body. This was her (pictured) only a few months ago, enjoying life as best as she could, not letting things get in her way. But over the last few months things have got much worse for Rachael very quickly, and very dramatically.

My best friend Rachael Wakefield has a rare interstitial lung disease that has unfortunately left her so unwell that she desperately needs a lung transplant in order to continue living. Over the years her lung disease has progressively got worse and her lung function is now less than 15% of what it should be. This is not a great for anyone, let alone a young 20 year old woman who has her whole life in front of her. She has battled for many years doing everything that she can to try and improve her condition; in the mean time she has raised the awareness for others with rare lung conditions. Providing families with a friendly understanding ear, sympathy and often much needed advice. Her latest mile stone is setting up a website;, which is helping to further share the stories of sufferers and explain to others the trials and tribulations of living with a rare lung disease.

Unfortunately all medical treatments available for the treatment of her lung disease have been tried and regrettably have not worked, the only way for her to continue living is through this much needed lung transplant. Sadly, all options within the UK have been exhausted and there is nothing left for the doctors to even suggest except being able to refer her for receive this lifesaving treatment, a lung transplant, in America. In order for her to get to America to receive this much needed transplant she needs to raise as much money as possible. This is where YOU can help...

Therefore I am asking you from the bottom of my heart to donate money or anything you can to this special person so that she can get the treatment she desperately needs. She is my best friend, and watching her deteriorate so quickly over the last few months has broken my heart. I can’t stand by see her struggle to live anymore knowing that there is a hope of dramatically changing her life, through this transplant. Unfortunately I, her family and friends can not cover the costs for this treatment, and I find it heart wrenching to think that it is only money that will stop her from dying and save her life.

Please visit to donate and also for further information on this unique and truly special girl who deserves a chance at life.

Many Thanks from a desperate best friend,

Katie Mason

I think that pretty much sums up this blog


P.S Happy Birthday Katie x

Monday, 13 October 2008


So, today, for me, has been one kick in the teeth after another. I had an email from the Duke transplant guy (I don't know exactly what he does at Duke but he is something to do with lung transplants (obviously)) and he tells us the 'deposit' for the assessment and lung transplant is... wait for it... $718,000. I saw the email and cried. Alot. That works out at about £360,000. Where that amount of money is going to come from in a matter of the weeks I have left is beyond me. I am seriously getting very worried now and starting to think realistically. That amount of money, unless a famous celeb comes along and donates it is not going to come in time for me. I have spent the majority of the day in tears.

To put it bluntly, if I don't get this money in the next few weeks I will die. That, I'm afraid is the bottom line.

I am still feeling no better yet still leaving the hospice on Thursday (yeah Thursday instead now). My kidneys have packed in for the 2nd night running having not being able to pee for 24hrs I have just had to be catheterised again. For the past few days every time I've felt the need to pee I've had to get Jamie to run a tap for me and believe me it works!

Had a chat with the nurse here tonight, she hasn't properly looked after me before but isn’t happy about this leaving on Thursday business. I still can't talk in full sentences and can do very little for myself, I’m covered in bruises from keep wobbling into things (mainly the edge of the bed) and although the Morphine and Diazepam take the edge off the breathlessness for a while it is not the be all and end all. But it maybe that the hospice have reached the end of what they can do for me and it’s just my condition deteriorating further which is something they can obviously do absolutely nothing about. She’s handing it over anyway to the sister in the morning, I mean its not that I don't want to go home its just I'm not really any different after spending 3wks in the hospice which is, for me very disappointing. Anyway I will stop rambling now.

Oh one last thing, local friends, watch out for me in the Tameside Advertiser this week (maybe front page) they're coming tomorrow to take my story. For everyone else I will post a link when the story is up online.


Rachaels future hope...

I (we) felt as a first post we should do some what of an introduction but I think our profile pretty much describes who we are and why we started this blog. So that really isn't needed... I don't think. Today has been a some what interesting day at willow wood (the hospice Rachael has been living in for the past 3wks). Hospices despite the work they do receive so little government funding it is unbelievable. The care they provide for their patients both in and out is truly outstanding. They have said today that they feel they have done all they can for Rachael and need to think about getting her home so other patients can come in to the hospice. Rachael, unsurprisingly is disappointed with this, still feeling unwell and nervous at the prospect of home morphine she has managed to convince herself coping at home is going to be absolutely impossible and has already started making arrangements to go into hospital. Hospital is not a good place for her to be at this stage, the risk of her picking up infection in hospital is... well... HUGE. But none of us really have a choice in the matter and she will be going home on Wednesday... probably. We're trying to persuade the hospice to keep her in, it's only going to be a matter of weeks until we can get her to the USA for her transplant the thing with this is Rachael and her mum are not happy for her to go home so if the hospice make Rachael go she will be going straight into hospital which as we said puts her at a BIG risk of getting an infection and Rachael is in the position now where if she gets an infection its gonna put the transplant in America in real danger and potentially kill her so we feel the hospice is making a massive mistake in kicking her out. But it could and probably is going to be out of our hands.

Anyway for now we'll leave you with her appeal poster.

Rachael & Jamie

You can donate to help us get Rachael to America HERE
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