A 22-year-old British woman suffering from a life-threatening condition has opted to check off her bucket list instead of remaining on a waiting list for heart and lung transplants, The Daily Mirror reported.
Channan Petrides, of the eastern U.K. county Essex, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was three months old, and her health began to decline when she was 19. According to the Mayo Clinic, cystic fibrosis causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. The genetic condition causes mucus, sweat and digestive juices to secrete in a way that clogs passageways, ducts and tubes to the lungs and pancreas, making it difficult to breathe.
“Cystic fibrosis feels like having a plastic bag over your head and breathing through a straw, so a lot of patients who have transplants have to learn to breathe again because they aren’t used to taking in that much air,” Petrides told The Daily Mirror.
Doctors gave Petrides about a year to live and told her that her organs stood the chance of failing six months post-surgery.
“If it brought me another 20 years, of course I’d do it (the surgery),” Petrides said.
Petrides ultimately said she decided to take herself off a transplant list after she was rushed to the hospital in November for a chest infection. That ailment followed previous chest infections, as well as pneumonia and swine flu.
“I know I’ve taken a massive risk, but I want to enjoy the time I have left, rather than stick [sic] waiting to get a call that may never come,” Petrides said. “Nobody could say for sure that the transplant would work, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything on my bucket list because of risk of infection.”
According to The Daily Mirror, Petrides’ bucket list, which she posted on Facebook in December, includes meeting Ed Sheeran, and going on a safari and a helicopter ride. Her biggest dream is to walk the red carpet of the Brit Awards.
Meantime, Petrides is working to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis.
“People struggle to believe how ill I am because I don’t look it, but the truth is that I do only have a certain amount of time left to live,” she told The Daily Mirror. “We really need better understanding of cystic fibrosis and how to treat it.”