This month we talked to Sheridan Darroch, former Queensland Heat representative long term softball player. Sheridan has Cystic Fibrosis, and recently underwent major surgery and has made it back onto the diamond already! Read on for more details.
Q1) At the start of this year you underwent a major surgery, tell us more about this?
I have suffered from Cystic Fibrosis (CF) my whole life, my health deteriorated and my lungs were failing, in January I had a Double Lung Transplant, thankfully it went really smoothly. Having a transplant is not a cure, a lot of my issues were related to my lungs, so I have a better overall quality of life now, but essentially I have traded some issues for other ones.
Q2) How is your recovery going and how has life changed this year?
My recovery is going really well, there have been a few minor bumps along the way and coping with some of the medication side effects, but it has definitely been and continues to be a big learning curve. Thankfully I have the most amazing team of medical professionals who support me through everything.
My life has changed dramatically, I think it is the little things I do everyday that make the most difference…being able to walk around, talk, laugh, shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, wash my hair, things that were almost impossible to do in the months leading up to my surgery.
Q3) What does the future hold for you now?
The future definitely looks a lot brighter now than it did this time last year which is exciting. I am still learning how to live this new version of my life. At the moment I am just enjoying being able to work, go to the gym, be active and to be out all day without fatiguing as much. I definitely have a different outlook on life and don’t take anything for granted anymore, I am so grateful to my donor, none of this would be possible without them, they are my hero and I do my best to honour them.
Q4) Have you been able to get back into playing or being part of softball again? How is/isn’t this different to how you were involved before your health deteriorated and your subsequent surgery?
Yes I have returned to playing softball. I set a goal to make it back for Open Womens State Titles in September. I started training in the middle of the year and took my time building back in to it slowly and getting my body used to it again, I worked hard at the gym and was doing my own training a couple of times a week. I was very happy & proud to achieve this goal and returned to the diamond only seven & a half months after my surgery and I played 7 out of 10 games.
The difference between playing before my surgery and now is unbelievable. Beforehand I would feel tired right from the beginning of warm up and then any form of running would be extremely hard and it would usually send me in to a coughing fit. Now I am currently playing A1 in the Brisbane comp and I am able to run bases, field, bat and get through a game so much easier, it is a great feeling.
Q5) You recently wrote a book, A Big Journey to a New Life, which is available on iTunes, can you explain a bit what this is about?
I did write a book, it was a way for me to get information out and raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, Transplants and Organ Donation. I had a lot of people who were very interested in the process and wanted to know more, but it was such a big process with so many different stages that the easiest way for me to document it step by step was to write it all in a book.
Having a transplant is a very scary thing to go through, and it came with a lot of unknown, the doctors gave me as much information as possible and I asked a lot questions, but speaking to friends who had been through the process was very helpful to me, so my book also became a source of information that other CF’s could read in the future.
I have a Facebook and Instagram page, My Life With CF, and I post updates and share information about what my life entails now.
I am hoping that if people understand what I have been through it will encourage some of them to register to become an Organ Donor, because it truly is amazing and can change so many lives. Donate Life Australia is running their annual Thank You Day campaign on Saturday 19 November. This day provides an opportunity for Organ & Tissue recipients, (and their family and friends) to say thank you to their donors. I thank my donor and their family every single day, but will take this opportunity to thank not only them, but every person who has been a donor (and their family) and every person who has registered to become an organ donor, they are the true heroes of this world.