Featured CDH International’s United Kingdom Ambassador is Jacqui Taylor-Jackson. Jacqui is a CDH survivor.
I was born with undiagnosed CDH in the 1960s, and my parents were told one day after my birth that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving an operation to repair the hernia. There were no synthetic patches then, so the surgeons had to use ‘natural materials’! After 30 years of relatively good health and no surgery, I became seriously ill when bowel was discovered in my chest following the birth of my twin daughters by emergency C-section. After a few years of operations and complications (involving perforated bowel, colostomy, a lot of infection, the insertion and removal of a patch!), I am now stable. I have no patch and my chest cavity and organs below are separated just with scar tissue in place of a diaphragm – I’m not sure if anyone else has been left like this, but it seems to be working!
Regarding my working life, I am a University Associate Professor in Psychology and I enjoy both teaching and research. I do become breathless sometimes when lecturing, but I manage this with showing some short video clips of relevant examples roughly every 15 minutes during a 1 hour lecture to give my lungs a break.
Outside of work, I enjoy walking my Border Collie and spending time with my husband and three grown up children at our beach hut at Sandbanks, Poole. It’s located at the most amazing beach, so if any of you are in the area please email me and I can give you the code to use it. I also love cycling, but increasingly I have found it difficult to cycle up hills due to my shortness of breath. So last year, I invested in an e-bike which has given me a new lease of life in cycling!
To watch and listen more about Jacqui’s journey, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az42Jm_rPsI&feature=youtu.be. Her interview did not fully play during the telethon and we want to share the entire interview.