Tatum’s Story

I’m 23 and live in Newtownabbey, I had my transfusion in the summer of 2015 as I had just finished my second year of university in Liverpool. I was constantly tired, had nose bleeds, lost a lot of weight, turned almost translucent in skin colour and always ate ice (I now know that was my body’s way of shocking me to keep me awake). I went to my GP one day to talk about something completely unrelated to my blood, during this they had taken a sample. I got a phone call that afternoon telling me to go straight to A&E as my blood levels were very low. It hit me as to how serious it was when I was taken from A&E in a wheelchair and whisked off to the cardiology ward. I had six pints of blood during my transfusion as my blood levels were 3.2, which I am led to believe is very dangerous! The doctors were not able to understand how this had happened and said that I was very lucky to have not had a heart attack, as my heart was having to work three times as hard to pump the little amount of blood around my body.

The doctors, nurses and every other staff member were amazing during this. I had been admitted during the afternoon and before midnight I had my first three pints of blood ready to be transfused.

Almost three years on and I have thankfully not needed to have another transfusion, I am on iron tablets for the foreseeable future. I moved back home to Northern Ireland and I am now a teacher while studying for a Masters in Queen’s. Without my transfusion, I wouldn’t be here today.