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Personal Stories
Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard
Sir Prof Magdi Yacoub

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Steven Tibbey
Denise Darvall
Rebecca Nix
Natalie Brown

Artificial Heart
Jim Braid
Matthew Green
R
obert Tools

Heart Transplants
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Andrea Barrett
Shannon Curran
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Lizzie Rogaski

Adults
Post Op Diary
Louis Washkansky
Carol Agle
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Reg Chisholm
Delia
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Gay Eberhart
Jill Edwards
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Bob Enos
John Fisher
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Charlotte Jane Tate
Ann Woodbridge

Heart and Lung
Diana Chandler
John Rueben
Peta Capello

Domino Transplants
Peter Allinson
Shonqueela Mallory
Andrew Wilson

Lvad's
Jonathon Holmes

Carers Story
Helen Nutman
Sandra Taylor

Waiting For Transplant
Diana Chandler


Sandra Taylor
My Sister Has Her Say

I am John's twin sister, I was born on April 24th 1962 at 9.30pm and he was born at 9.31pm.One persistent twin brother has set this task upon me and I hope that I am up to the task. 

In some ways I have been spared a lot of the worries as I live so far away in Australia and so only seem to find the really really big news gets through to me.  Good or bad. 

So when I received a call from my mother to tell me of John’s first operation I was sent into panic mode.   Everyone else had had time to come to terms with the results of his last tests.   I was on the telephone to John within seconds of speaking to mum and then on the next flight from Sydney to London.   

Arriving in the UK and seeing John I wondered what all the fuss was about he looked so healthy and it was not until I made the trip to the hospital with him that I realised how serious things were.   His operation went well apart from the fact that he had to have a mechanical valve instead of the pigskin he had planned.   I remember Jan and I speaking to Marcus the surgeon and thinking he is not going to like this. 

ICU was very frightening for me as I remember every move I made the equipment went into some kind of frenzy and I was not in control of all my emotions.   Seeing him lying there was just too much for me and there was something wrong with one of the drains I believe too much blood was coming out and the nurses just rushed around but did not really seem to tell us what was happening. 

Once John was on the ward things eased a little and I was more myself but when he kept asking about the noise he heard. Neither Jan nor I wanted to tell him the news about the mechanical value.  I remember the incident with the bathroom and the noise as he called us in there and asked us what we thought it was.  We had spoken and decided it was best for Marcus to explain it all to him, as we knew he would not be happy. 

I must admit all the time these things were going on I was having thoughts about my own health being a twin and no one knowing how or why John had this problem I was worried.   I am glad to report that after arriving back in Australia I had numerous tests and I am healthy.  I felt guilty for having these thoughts and then thinking thank you it was he and not I.   I am being honest and I think numerous people would have felt the same. 

After John’s operation I of course had to return home but we keep in constant contact and I begin to relax and feel all is well.  The set backs he had were hard for me to handle but I could not keep jumping on a plane to be there as I have a family too who’s lives go into turmoil each time I leave. 

The highlight was when John arrived in Australia to stay with us for a week.  I must admit I was worried about him flying and I believe if the doctors knew just how far he was flying a few words would have been said.  But John has determination and no one says you cannot do this to him.  I picked him up from the airport and to be honest I still thought he looked good, nothing like a person that required a heart transplant.  I mean once at home after a 24hr flight he was in the yard with the kids on pogo sticks giving them a run for their money and even swimming in what I called a freezing cold pool. (To prove a point I think).  Friends I had spoken to about John being sick looked at him and thought I was completely crazy he seemed to have to much go and energy.  Even I fit, had trouble keeping up with him.  He wanted to see it all and would not let up for one second.  He was always saying why should I let this get me down if I am going to die I want to say I had a good life.  I think I have even learnt a few lessons from him. 

Jan and Geoff my husband got together as they have never met before and compared notes on us twins and it seems even though we had not lived in the same country for 16 yrs and looked nothing alike we were of the same mould in personality and likes/dislikes hence living with us for that week was hell for both of them. 

John and I speak to each other every weekend via the internet and this particular Sunday I was online at the normal time to get this message DAD’S HAVING HIS TRANSPLANT.   Stupid me read the note and writes back I never knew dad was sick.  Never thinking one of John’s kids had sent me a message.  So here I am waiting for John to come on line and sending all kinds of messages as he was late.   Eventually I read my emails and discover it is actually John having the transplant and panic mode again.  On the phone trying to find out all the information I can.   Again I want to jump on the next flight home, but everyone is telling me to calm down and play things by ear.  I end up staying in Australia but my phone bills are going to hit hard I must have driven mum and Jan crazy.  I could not stop crying I was happy it was all taking shape, but really worried of the outcome.  Those days were really hard for me and in some ways the distance seemed to help probably as only my husband and kids knew what I was going through.   

The daily updates from Jan and Mum were encouraging and I was planning my trip home. John’s recovery seems to be so unreal he just seemed to bounce back into action.  I know that he has a long hard road ahead of him but he seems to have so much energy. 

I have spoken to him on numerous occasions now and feel he is so positive and this web site he has set up seems to be keeping him going.  Where he has found the strength to do all this is amazing to me.   Unfortunately I am not going to be able to make the trip home as I had planned.  But we are planning a big bash for our 40th, which we feel we can now plan.  Two years to go and I do not care if it is only the two of us to celebrate.  I am just so glad we will be able to do it together like we use to. 

I would just like to say John that at times like most brothers and sisters we have our differences but I would not swop you for the world.  I LOVE YOU HEAPS and am so pleased you have been given a second chance of life.

Sandra x



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