Posted on Aug 8 2023 by Fiona Bailey
Gemma Jolly underwent two failed liver transplants before having a third operation in March 2021 which has been a success.
But, until that third and final operation she was extremely unwell, even forgetting who her family were at times. At one point her children “said their goodbyes” as her liver was being “eaten away” due to an auto-immune disease she was suffering from.
Gemma said: “It was an incredibly difficult thing for my children to deal with, watching their mum go through not one but three liver transplants. I was in and out of intensive care and at one point they were even advised to say their goodbyes.
“I’m enjoying being back at work and having things go back to normal now, I just hope my health can continue as this is the longest I’ve been stable after a transplant.”
After first being diagnosed with auto-immune hepatitis in 1997, a rare cause of long-term hepatitis where the immune system attacks and damages the liver, Gemma said it was not until after she’d had her children, in 2001 and 2006, that her health started to take a turn for the worse.
She said: “It started off as manageable, I’d struggle with tiredness and jaundice, things would improve with each pregnancy but after having my second son, my health went totally off the scale.”
In March 2021, the mum had her third liver transplant which was a success.
She said: “I’ve been really wary because things have gone wrong before but this is the longest I’ve been stable after a transplant so I’m hopeful that this will continue. It’s good to be able to plan for the future again, life goes on hold when you’re unwell.”
Now, Gemma is enjoying normality and family life, and has plans to go on her first family holiday in years. Regaining her health, and loving life, Gemma has said that “every day is a gift”.
She said: “We’ve always had to holiday in the UK as I couldn’t be more than four hours away from the hospital while I was on the transplant waiting list, so we’re planning a big family holiday to Crete for next year.