With liver cirrhosis and pulmonary hypertension, Mike Adams has been through a difficult journey with his health. But despite the challenges, and a lot of unknowns, the 63-year-old is determined to stay positive. This is his story.

As told to the PHA UK in 2024

“I’ve had a problem with my liver for 23 years and four years ago, I went for a transplant assessment. You’ve got to be well enough to be able to get through the operation, but you also have to be sick enough to have the operation, so the decision was made to wait – and three years went by before everything went pear shaped and I became very ill again.

Around then, doctors noticed that I had a problem with my heart and lungs – even though I had been telling them for over a year that I had been finding it really tough to breathe.

Eventually I spoke to one of the top consultants at the hospital and he said, ‘I’m sorry Mike, but you are now amongst the three percent of people with liver problems who get problems with their lungs and heart as well’.

I couldn’t believe it. I’d spent all those years trying to get myself together with my liver, but now that went on the backburner, and it was all about the pulmonary hypertension. But the medication is helping, and my pulmonary artery pressures have come down, so it looks like I’ll be put on the list for a liver transplant soon. It’s been a long time waiting, and a real journey.

I’ve had to be positive right from the start. When I was first hospitalised with my liver, I said to the doctor, ‘I’m not ready to die, so whatever you throw at me, I’ll do it.’

That’s the way I’ve got through life; being positive and making changes. I gave up smoking and drinking, and although there’s still a chance I won’t get a transplant, I’m not looking at it like that.

When the PH was discovered a few years ago, a lot of people around me got very upset but I said, ‘I’m alright, I’m alive and they’re going to keep me alive. They’re doing their best to get me the right drugs and get me through all this and now it’s down to me’.

I am a firm believer in not sitting on the sofa and thinking ‘my life is doomed’ because you’re not going to be able to do anything mentally if you’ve got that attitude.

The people around me help me to stay positive, especially my wife Sue (pictured above with me), who has been absolutely fantastic. I’m not allowed to drive anymore, because some of my liver medication affects my brain, so she takes me everywhere, and she understands everything. She’s part of all my medical appointments because she can take it all in.

She’s always been there for me. I think it’s really important to have someone there to help you and to give you the odd nag, for example to remember to take your drugs.

Sue and I ran a restaurant together until the PH made it too difficult, so now we have a part time gardening business together. We do a maximum of four hours a day, three days a week, and it works. It keeps me active, which helps me physically and mentally.

I’m feeling good about 2024. The idea of a liver transplant is scary as it’s major surgery, but I’ve been told that my recovery should be good because of the way I approach life. I’m feeling very positive about it all and I’m grateful for what I can do. I can work, I can get up and down the stairs, and I can go out for walks. At one point, I couldn’t walk 20 paces without having to rest for 15 seconds.

My message to someone else struggling with their health is to accept help. There are always people out there who will help you, but you have to let them. Listen to your doctors, take the medication they prescribe, behave, and keep your head positive. You’ve got to get on with life and do what you can.”