Teresa’s story: “There were no symptoms, so I didn’t take heed.”

Alcohol played a big part in Teresa's social life for many years. She shares her story of alcohol, liver disease and liver transplant. 

I will be eternally grateful to the donor’s family and everyone in the NHS for giving me a second chance.

"I started drinking as a teenager. Lager, cider, sherry – I didn't like the taste but I liked the feeling it gave me. It made me interesting, I thought, and made other people more amusing.

"When I was 20 on holiday in Greece I met someone and returned that winter. It was a miserable existence. I spent a lot of time alone but had the retsina, ouzo and Metaxa to keep me company.

"I returned to England after two years. I worked in an office and also as a barmaid with plenty of afterhours drinking included.

"Then I found my ideal job as a holiday rep in Greece which involved a lot of socializing and, of course, more alcohol. After seven seasons I thought it was time to settle down and found a long term office job in England. Then after 15 years I took voluntary redundancy and became a self-employed tutor.

"I was advised about 15 years ago that I had a fatty liver and was told about the possible consequences if I didn't curtail the drinking. There were no symptoms, so I didn’t take heed.

"So, to fast forward, about 3 years ago the years of alcohol abuse began to take effect. Massively swollen legs, ascites, jaundice, bleeding from the nose, gums, coughing blood. I had a lot of tests but no one at the time put the symptoms down to liver cirrhosis.

"Then, one evening after a blood test, the locum doctor said I needed to go to hospital immediately for a few days, which ended up being nine. My all-inclusive Christmas holiday to Cyprus had to be cancelled, which in hindsight was a lifesaver.

"I was advised to stop drinking otherwise it could be fatal, which I did.

"Unfortunately, not soon enough. My liver was irreparably damaged and I was put on the transplant list. That was in January 2020. In March I had a call but the liver wasn't suitable and then April 26th had the transplant.

"I will be eternally grateful to the donor’s family and everyone in the NHS for giving me a second chance. Life is good."

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