Student nurse from Westonzoyland has the world at her feet after pancreas transplant (From Somerset County Gazette)
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Student nurse from Westonzoyland has the world at her feet after pancreas transplant
A BRAVE woman's life has undergone a 360-degree turnaround after she received a pancreas transplant.
Student nurse Nicky Knight, 41, of Westonzoyland, had struggled to cope with the debilitating effects of type 1 diabetes after being diagnosed at just 11 years old.
The first time her blood sugar levels plummeted below a safe point - known as hypoglycaemia - and she fell into a coma she was 14, but it became progressively worse.
It has impacted hugely on her life and on those around her, not least her partner, Jamie Easman, and daughter, Amy Knight, 15.
Nicky said: “It was scary. I was very tired all the time and always going hypo when my blood sugars dropped below a safe level.
“I'd have to test my blood sugar levels every hour by pricking my finger with a needle to make sure I wasn't going hypo because there were no warning signs.
“My fingers were very sore. It was horrendous. I was very stressed a lot of the time. I was so scared of going to bed because I often went hypo at night.
“It was like living on a knife edge all the time. I couldn't enjoy life, I couldn't do anything energetic and I was just forced to sit around.
“I could just about go to work, but I had to make sure I had sugary and starchy foods with me all the time.”
Nicky's life changed on August 31, 2010, when she underwent surgery at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
She said: “Investigating the possibility of having a transplant took about two years in total, but got quicker and quicker as the process continued.
“I went in for tests at Southmead Hospital in Bristol in March, 2010, and was live on the organ transplant by July - I got the call at the end of August.
“To say it has been life-changing is the biggest understatement of the century. It's absolutely amazing.
“I've now got so much energy I'm bouncing off the walls. I can live a normal life for the first time in as long as I can remember.
“My personality has changed - I'm so much more relaxed, which means my family can relax more, too.
“It was a huge worry for my partner, Jamie, and daughter, Amy, before, especially when I was out on my own.
“I wasn't told anything about my donor, but I did write the family a letter explaining what life had been like before and how the transplant has improved it.
“My friends and family have all signed up to be donors now they've seen the difference it can make.”
It hasn't all been plain sailing since the surgery, though. Nicky said: “The first year was really tough. Everything that could go wrong after the operation did, but I'd go through it all again to get to where I am now.
However, Nicky has even more to celebrate now - after deferring a year of her nursing training, run through Plymouth University, Somerset College and Musgrove Park Hospital, she is due to qualify next month.
With a promising career and life ahead of her she couldn't be happier.
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