A Kirk Hallam woman is waiting on standby for a complex operation to replace most of her digestive organs, hoping it will give her a new lease of life.
Michelle Oddy, 43, could receive a call any day now to travel to the world-renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for the revolutionary surgery.
She said: “I’ve suffered from Crohn’s disease since I was 14, and had years of surgeries. I’ve had my colon and large bowel removed, only have a minimum amount of small intestine left, and now have intestinal failure and so much scar tissue that I can’t digest food properly.
“This huge transplant will give me half a new stomach, large and small intestines, a new pancreas and liver. It’s a 20-hour operation that will either kill me or save my life.”
In 2015, Michelle was left days from death after her weight dropped to just four stone, and she has been on an artificial drip feed with round-the-clock nursing visits ever since.
As her immune system has been severely compromised, leaving her susceptible to frequent infections, resulting in another near-death illness last September.
Michelle said: “I went into septic shock. I had 23 doctors, nurses and a crash team in my room with me working on me.
“My family were all called in and my wife was told I may not make it. Luckily I made a full recovery.”
There was second positive outcome too, said Michelle: “It was because of that night that me and my now wife Laura got married just six weeks later.
“We’ve been together nine years, and she’s been like my right arm when I’ve been limited in what I can do for my daughter and things like that.”
Laura and Michelle’s daughter Keira, 14, will be helping her pull through after the operation, and all are focused on the future despite the dangers involved.
Michelle said: “I have to stay positive. My life depends on this transplant and not having it will eventually kill me, so it’s a risk I must take.
“This operation will give me a new lease of life. I’m looking forward to being able to eat, get a routine back, make plans to go out on a weekend or go on holiday. I want to enjoy the things that a lot of people take for granted.”
The operation will require input from a huge team of surgeons from across the country and, of course, donor organs become available.
Michelle said: “Before I needed a transplant, I hadn’t thought about organ donation. This has opened my eyes.”