Monday 27 March 2017

'I was on oxygen 24/7, but I feel terrific now' - young woman forced to quit college because she was so ill now 'has her life back'

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Leigh Bagnall was so ill from cystic fibrosis that she had to quit college and could barely summon up the energy for a short walk outside her home.

But just months after making medical history as the first Irish woman to get reconditioned lungs, she is planning to take part in a 10km charity walk.

Her lung transplant gave Leigh her life back.

The young woman from Drogheda now plans to return to college to do a make-up artist course.

Consultant Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgeon Karen Redmond with Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, Co. Louth Picture: Caroline Quinn
Consultant Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgeon Karen Redmond with Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, Co. Louth Picture: Caroline Quinn

She said: "I love exercise but was forced to just stay at the finishing line of the walk with my oxygen last year."

She was on the waiting list for a transplant for just over eight weeks when she got the vital call from the Mater team, after being told it could take up to five years.

Consultant Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgeon Karen Redmond with Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, Co. Louth Picture: Caroline Quinn
Consultant Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgeon Karen Redmond with Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, Co. Louth Picture: Caroline Quinn

"At that stage, I was on 24/7 oxygen and was in and out of hospitals and on antibiotics. I feel terrific now.

"I was out of hospital after the transplant in three and a half weeks. It was only when I got to the theatre that I got nervous but the whole team in the hospital were terrific."

Consultant Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgeon Karen Redmond with Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, Co. Louth Picture: Caroline Quinn
Consultant Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgeon Karen Redmond with Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, Co. Louth Picture: Caroline Quinn

Leigh was cared for as a child in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda and later in Beaumont Hospital.

"I am on a load of tablets, to help with rejection, and a nebuliser," she said.

"I still have cystic fibrosis in other organs but have not been in hospital since the transplant."

Leigh thinks of her donor daily and she urged others to carry a donor card.

Irish Independent

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