We love to share our young people’s stories on our website and we know how valuable many of our families find them. Twenty two year old Akua Kezia, who is in her final year studying for a degree in Probation and Community Justice, has taken that sharing a stage further by publishing her own book. Here she tells us why!
“My ill-health journey started in May 2010 at the age of 14 when I was diagnosed with liver failure after experiencing very few symptoms. I was rushed to my local hospital in north London after passing out on my sisters back at home, where I was told that I would be transferred to Rays of Sunshine Ward in Kings College Hospital, which is the largest pediatric liver ward in the world. I was there for three and a half months before I was put on the top of the transplant list and had my liver transplant two days later, in July 2010. In addition to my liver problems I was also diagnosed with ulcerative Colitis, high blood pressure and iron deficiency anemia. Over the years, I was further diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, and depression.
Being in hospital for nearly four months completely shaped me. I had to get used to taking over twenty tablets a day, having constant blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound scans and many more procedures that come with having auto-immune liver disease. Because I was only 14 at the time, coming out of hospital, going straight back to school made it hard to accept that I wasn’t able to be in certain locations, participate in certain activities, and do normal ‘teenager’ stuff like my other friends. I struggled and rebelled with my own self. Over the years, I became suicidal, and fell into a deep depressive state. Now, at 22, it’s still quite hard to get myself and people around me to understand that although I may look perfectly fine, I’m not on the inside so I cannot necessarily do all the things that they can do. My health is my life and I treasure that to the fullest now.
I still have my many moments where I have my mental relapses, or I get rushed to hospital because one of my many health conditions is deteriorating once again and it does still knock me back a step or two. I also still have to take numerous amounts of medications and still do suffer with many symptoms which also sets me back with some daily activities. Despite all that I’ve been through, I managed to go right back to secondary school after my liver transplant, I then went to College. I began writing my book, ‘The Transplant Girl’ two years ago, when poor health meant I had to leave my university course. It was really a form of therapy for me. Although I am obviously so grateful to still be here, I feel as though my youth has been stolen from me. I have always enjoyed writing and it helped to express my feelings in this way.
‘The Transplant Girl’ was written to inspire many young people Battling ill-health and to spread more awareness about auto-immune liver disease, the dangers of it, ways to overcome ill-health and advice to seek help when you are struggling mentally and/or phsyically. Not only that, but to be the brave face for many sufferers who may be scared, shy or even embarrassed to share their story because they feel like they may not be ‘accepted. You can overcome every obstacle you face with your health because it does not define you!
After university, I would like to become a full time mentor, entreprenuer, inspirational speaker, and also become a bestselling author as I plan on publishing more books for both children and adults to relate to. I will also continue to work with many more organisations to help spread awareness of organ donation and to share my story.
My book, ‘The Transplant Girl’ will be available on: Amazon, Ebay, iBooks, Waterstones, Foyles, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookbub, Google Play, Indigo, Playster and Scribed in either ebook and paperback format.”
CLDF understands the huge amount of time and emotion that Young People have to invest into their unique liver disease journey, we also understand the impact this can have. There are many organisations who are trained to give emotional support and guidance to young people. Please see below for the following links:
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.