Laura passed away on Christmas Day 2006. We here at PHA Australia, extend all our love to Laura's sons, Alex and Michael as well as her family friends. We honour her couragious spirit. After being misdiagnosed with asthma for many years, I was finally diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (end stage) on the 27th February 2002. I was told that I was terminally ill and that I had 2 years of life at best. I was also told that a heart and double lung transplant could be my only chance of life. As a single mother of two boys, that news was particularly devastating! This was on top of news I had received earlier that month, diagnosing my eldest son Michael (then aged 15) with Asperger's Syndrome (a mild form of autism)
As you would understand I became very depressed and grieved for about 3 months before accepting my fate. My condition deteriorated very rapidly and within 5 months I was on supplemental oxygen. I was flown over to Melbourne for assessment for possible transplantation and in September 2002 i was lucky enough to be listed straight away. In fact, after my transplant one of my doctors said that when I came for assessment, "one hot day could have finished me off!"
Arrangements were made for me to move to Melbourne to wait for my transplant, which of course meant that I had to leave my boys behind with their father. My father, Peter Perryman, came to live in Melbourne with me as my full time carer. Meanwhile my Mum, Valerie, was also left behind. Dad and I ended up living in Melbourne for 9 months. Fortunately we had friends in Melbourne enabling Mum and Dad to travel back and forth to see each other. It must have been so hard for them.
To cut a long story short, I received my transplant on the 31st March 2003, and Dad and I returned home 3 months later, once the doctors were happy with my condition. When I woke from my transplant I had a whole new respect and appreciation for life. Prior to transplantation, Dad and I had many conversations discussing life regrets. Since I have been back home I have fulfilled many of those regrets. One of my regrets was not having a man in my life that loved and cared for me as much as I loved and cared for him. I visited a couple of online dating services in the hope to get out on the dating scene, make some new friends and hopefully find the man of my dreams.
Well guess what?! It worked! After five months of going on dates I finally met Steve. Our first contact was on 15th August but we couldn't wait. I told Steve that I was going into hospital for a procedure on 24th August at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and that it would be great if he could come and visit me. That he did. He appeared at my bedside with a single long stem red rose, how romantic! Dressed in my pink satin pyjamas with love hearts all over them, we walked down to a TV room where we spent the next 5 hours. We clicked just like that. Steve is the man of my dreams. Our relationship progressed quite quickly and by Christmas Day we were engaged.
Of course I had to put Steve through a few 'tests' before totally committing to him. Whilst I had been quite fit and healthy for some time prior to our first meeting, while participating in the Adelaide Transplant Games in September it became evident that I was becoming more and more short of breath. My health started to decline quite rapidly and I spent half my time at the RAH. During my stays in hospital Steve visited me daily and was a great source of comfort, support and happiness. He did all this while working 12 hour shifts. I determined from this, that he was a very loving, loyal, caring, compassionate, reliable and not to mention sleep deprived man!
I was sent home from hospital 3 weeks later but was back at the RAH within a week. The doctors decided that I must have been allergic to my anti-rejection medication. After a couple of weeks adjusting my medication, despite the fact that I still wasn't feeling well, the doctors believed that my condition had stabilized and I was sent home again. On Valentine's Day 2005 I was re-admitted to the RAH completely exhausted. Two days later I went into respiratory failure and ended up in Intensive Care. I was put in an induced coma to help me breath and Steve was told that I had less than 40% chance of surviving. The poor guy was a wreck but he stayed by my side. My parents were very supportive to Steve during this time and with their love and support managed to stay strong for me. He endured this for 5 days until I finally awoke. I guessed that Steve had more than passed all my tests and must truly love me to stick with me through all this. With this in mind, one of the first things I said to him when I woke up was, “So, when are we getting married?” and the rest as they say is history!
This was written by Laura's son Alex, it is from both himself and his brother Michael .........
Laura was loving and caring to a lot of people, even when she was diagnosed with her terrible condition. I have no doubt in my mind when I say that she was loved by all, whether it be as a mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt or just a friend. Before her illness, she lived a very healthy and active lifestyle, with an equally healthy social life. She was always able to provide for her family, whether her family needed sustinance, advice or just a warm hug. She was always there, always positive, always making our lives happier. She knew how to make us feel our best when we felt our worst. I never knew what I would do without her, and now that she is gone, I feel as if I have died inside, I feel an absence I have never thought possible, a gaping chasm. And, right now, I feel a pain in my heart, and tears rolling down my cheeks remembering my loving mother taken from us in the prime of her life. Her body may be no more, but she will live on forever in our hearts, our minds and our lives.