In January 2018 we were invited to the transplant centre at Oxford University Hospital to meet the surgeons and learn about the potential operation. We were told the operation would have to include two stages:
- Opening the abdomen, removing the large and small intestines and all the tumour mucin
- Transplanting a healthy bowel from a donor
It could take up to 15-18 hours and would be done by two main teams of surgeons. On the day when a suitable donor is found the first team from Basingstoke PMP Centre would arrive and complete the first stage of the operation, before the Oxford transplant team take over.
Reza would be the 9th patient in the world to have this operation. We were told that some made it through the operation and now enjoy a good quality of life, albeit after a long recovery. Their inspirational stories helped us to stay hopeful and positive
. Adam Alderson, who was the 4th PMP bowel transplant patient, supported us along the way and even came to see Reza later in Oxford. Adam's story is here
The first ever person who underwent this complex multi-visceral operation was former England rugby league player, Steve Prescott. He survived the 32-hour operation in 2013, but sadly died as a result of graft-versus-host-disease, a complication that can occur following transplants.
He was 39 years old. Steve Prescott's foundation can be supported here
Since our first visit to the Oxford Hospital another 9 months followed. Reza continued being in and out of different hospitals, still working though and keeping active whenever he possibly could.
At some point Reza's abdomen literally burst and a river of pus and tumour came out. Nobody in the hospital has seen anything like that.
Then, at 10pm on a Saturday night in September 2018, just after listening to Abraham Hicks audio, Reza's phone rang. A nurse from the transplant centre invited us to come to the Oxford University Hospital - a potential match was found.
We drove that night to Oxford for Reza to have many necessary tests through the night.
At 7am Mr Reddy, one of the leading surgeons, who strongly doubted Reza's latest fitness level, told us they were pleased with the match and that they are going to go ahead with the operation. Being exhausted by the large tumour, feeling unwell with no energy, Reza was very happy to be put to sleep and hopefully wake up the next day cancer free. He was looking forward to getting strong again
Reza's mum, my daughter Dasha and I spent what felt like a life time in the relative's waiting room praying for good news.
Six hours into the operation Mr Tom Cecil from Basingstoke and Mr Reddy came to say that the first part of the operation was competed - it all went well. Reza's condition was stable and now the small intestine was going to be transplanted.
The waiting hours were long.
At 10pm Mr Reddy comforted us by saying, "So far so good". The next step was going to be the insertion of a permanent piece of skin - a sentinel flap - from the donor onto Reza's arm to be able to visually observe the potential organ rejection.
At midnight Reza was moved from theatre to the intensive care unit (ICU) and we were able to see him the next morning. Two dedicated nurses were taking care of him around the clock.
As soon as the next day, Reza was taken for a walk and transferred to the transplant ward.
The process of recovery was bumpy. Another 2 hour operation had to be performed to clear old blood and clots which collected in the abdomen. Every day was difficult and different but Reza managed to maintain high spirit, endlessly repeating how happy
Reza's mum and I took turns to support Reza daily. Reza also received weekly visits from his close friends and family.
of nurses, doctors and the most talented surgeons was phenomenal. It's not possible to name all outstanding people different origins and nationalities that saved my husband's life but here are some of them:
Mr Brendan Moran
Mr Tom Cecil
Mr Faheez Mohamed
Mr Srikanth Reddy
Mr Georgios Vrakas
Dr David Nasralla
Professor Peter Friend
Some exceptional Nurses: Jorge, Natali, Sergio, Katarina, Lovella, Alex, Sara, Ancy, Jose.
Simon Turley from the stoma team was kind and helpful beyond measure. According to Reza, "He is better than a rocket scientist".
Jo Roach, the transplant coordinator, in her unimaginably organised way, was making everything happen swimmingly and effectively.
We love you with all our hearts and we are eternally grateful
for all that you are.
Marzanna was not just a tea lady, she is a colossal inspiration. She cured herself from the breast and lymphatic cancer with simple chickpea therapy
and now shares this approach with anyone who is open.
We would also like to thank Dr Charlotte Pither, Professor Forbes and Norfolk and Norwich Guist ward for taking a good care of Reza while the way appeared for him to get well
Incredible support of the charities: Star Throwers
, Big C
, Brundall based charity made an enormous difference on our journey.