My name is Brogan and I am 18.
As a young child I was often sick. Whatever was going around I would catch it – endless ear infections and one dose of ’flu after the next. When I was five, I went through episodes of unexplained unconsciousness. I would be unconscious for about an hour and after EEG’s, blood tests, CT scans and nights spent at a Sleep Lab, I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
I have had 19 surgeries to date, innumerable blood tests, scans and X-rays, and I have had pipes and scopes shoved in places that I never knew existed.
In Grade 10, I was admitted to hospital to have my appendix removed. I returned from the theatre without my appendix, and with a cut which had been used to perform a liver biopsy. Whilst removing my appendix, the surgeon had noticed the condition of my liver.
After the biopsy, I was told I had Cirrhosis of the liver, a life-threatening disease which cannot be cured. This was a life changing moment for me. Obviously, none of us is immortal, but the reality that I would not live forever suddenly it became a very real thing.
The investigative procedures continued and I was diagnosed with auto-immune Hepatitis 3, a disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the liver.
A healthy functioning liver is critical for survival. It is the engine room of our bodies and the body cannot function without a liver, so it really struggles to function with a diseased, Cirrhotic liver.
Living with this condition is not easy. I have very little energy and I feel washed out most of the time. In order to get the most time out of my current liver I have to take strong medication which suppresses my immune system to try and prevent it from attacking the liver. I constantly have to be aware of sick people around me because I am susceptible to anything in the air. Recovering from a tummy bug or dose of ’flu takes me twice as long as it would take anyone else and when I am sick, I am man down. There are days when I can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed to face the day. There are days when I feel I can’t even lift my head.
I have been blessed with devoted parents who have stopped at nothing to support me. I have the best team of doctors in SA to take care of me and get me through the liver transplant that I will eventually need to have. During my last doctor’s visit, a month ago in Johannesburg, I was told I could expect my liver to last about five years. Of course, this might mean I have as many as 10 years ahead of me, but it could also mean less.
Eventually, I will have to rely on someone to give me the gift of a new liver so that I will not die.
Daily, we hear stories about tragic loss of life. We never know when our time is up and although we can’t change the amount of time allotted to us, we can change the choices we make whilst we are still here. By making the choice to be an organ and tissue donor, each one of us could be giving someone else the gift of life or helping to improve a life.
You can easily register through this page. Click on the register here button and it will take you less than 3 minutes. You will also be a hero to a person and family one day leaving a special legacy.