A BRAVE mum who underwent a heart and liver transplant 12 years ago has been told the devastating news that she may have to go through it all again.
Tammy Clark, now 29, has been told her body is rejecting the new organs.
She was born with a congenital heart defect and it was discovered she had a one-in-a-million blood condition which meant her blood had to be regularly cleaned of excess cholesterol on a special machine.
She had that treatment for years until doctors decided on a transplant.
After waiting just 10 months, a suitable donor was found and at the age of 17 Tammy underwent the 12-hour lifesaving heart-and-liver swap at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital – the first operation of its kind at the hospital.
Now Tammy, who works as a nurse at Bolton Hospital, is awaiting news from doctors who will tell her whether both heart and liver will need to be replaced again.
Tammy, who lives on Rhoden Road, Oswaldtwistle, with her two-year-old daughter Libby and fiancé Nick Neal, said: "I have to go for routine scans, X-rays and blood tests every six weeks.
"The last set of blood tests showed there was a problem so I went for a biopsy and that’s when they told me I would need a transplant because my heart has started to reject my liver. It was quite a shock.
"All the tests I had last week were to see whether I was fit enough to be put back on the transplant list.
"My heart is fine at the moment but when you have a transplant you get antibodies that build up. If I have a lot they will give me a heart as well because it will be safer to do them both at once."
Putting on a brave face, Tammy said: "There are risks with the transplant, such as the risk of infection, the risk of being under the anaesthetic for so long and the risk of rejection. But I’ve done it once, I can do it again.
"It is quite worrying, but at the moment I feel quite well. I just want to get it over and done with really."
Tammy, who got engaged to her fiancé last year, had booked St Paul’s Church in Oswaldtwistle for her wedding and Samlesbury Hall for the reception on 7 February next year – but it has now had to be postponed.
Tammy, who was brought up in Spring Street, Accrington, and later moved to Brookside View, Oswaldtwistle, said: "When they told me I needed another transplant we decided to call off the wedding.
"That was probably the hardest and most upsetting thing about it all, but everyone has been very understanding and supportive.
"I just want to be happy and married and carry on being a mum to my little girl.
"I’m going back to Newcastle Hospital in two weeks’ time so I will find out then if I need both, and then I will just have to wait for the call to say a donor has been found."
Former Rhyddings High School pupil Tammy and her family spearheaded an appeal to raise £20,000 for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, where she had her initial treatment.