Carers Association

"Shattered Dreams" by Mandy Bayliffe

Get your own downloadable copy of the totally inspiring and heart wrenching book - all 259 pages - HERE


mandys book

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This is an excerpt from Mandy's heart wrenching book...

“If you are going to have any chance at all of a normal life, Mrs Bayliffe, 
then the only choice is to have a heart transplant.” 
The room began to spin slightly around me, and I knew this couldn’t 
really be happening. 
The consultant was still looking at me earnestly He was a kind man, 
and I could see he was trying to understand what those words meant to 
me, but how could he possibly conceive the depth of my feelings just then, 
or, indeed, how it was all going to affect me? He had changed my world 
at a stroke. 
After all, this was MY life he was talking about. My very survival. I 
suddenly felt that I was hanging on to that life by a very slender thread 
indeed, and that, worse, that thread held not just me but the future of my 
little family. 
Nothing would ever be the same again – whatever I decided. I knew 
that much already. 
For months now I had been trying to persuade myself that I would 
be lucky. The doctors had been waiting for several months to see whether 
my heart was going to improve at all by itself after its ordeal. It was not 
to be. Now I was here at Papworth Hospital to receive the consultant’s 
verdict. Now I had to let go of that fragile dream, and see everything that 
I ever feared become a reality: a reality that I did not want to accept. 
Everything had become a nightmare, and there was no chance that I 
would wake up and find it gone. 
Surely there must be options . . . hopes? I clutched at that thought, 
aware that I was shaking from head to foot. 
“You say ‘choice’. Do I have a choice?” I managed. 
“Well, – yes.” 
“Then, how long – how long could I expect to live without a 
The consultant shook his head slightly, and his eyes sought mine. 
“We are talking months not years, Mrs Bayliffe,” he said, gently. 
The words seemed to hang in the air between us, and I suddenly 
wondered what my husband Terry must be feeling. For his sake, and the 
children’s, I had to be brave about this. 
“This is not a solution, you understand – only an alternative,” 
continued the consultant. 
“So – how long if I do have the transplant?” I asked. 
“Ten years – if you are lucky, and everything goes your way, and with 
medicine and technology at its current level.” 
There seemed to be a lot of ‘ifs’, and a transplant didn’t sound a 
complete cure. Somehow I had imagined that it might be. 
A thought struck me – a note of hope. 
“Is it possible to have a second heart after the ten years?” I asked. 
“No. I’m afraid not. For many reasons that just isn’t a feasible option 
at present.” 
* * * 
To many people ten years must seem a long time, but it didn’t to me. 
I was only twenty four years of age, with a very young baby who was 
growing and changing all the time. I had lost four babies, and had a long 
and difficult labour with this one, almost losing my life in the process. 
Was it somuch to ask that I should want to see him growup? My precious 
Daniel. If I survived until he were, say, twelve, he would be at an age 
when he could be very traumatised. If I could get through the next couple 
of years, give him lots of love, and see him through the baby stages, he 
would not be quite so aware of my dying then at, say, two. 
What does anyone do in this situation? Should I think in the short 
term, or think of the unknown? 
“Months, not years”. Thewords came back into my thoughts to haunt 
Yet – supposing I did not survive the operation at all? Then Daniel 
would never have his mother’s love throughout the baby years at all. Or, 
if I survived, perhaps I would be so weak from the operation and the antirejection 
drugs that I would be unable to do much for my family anyway, 
and would be a burden to them. 
So many unknowns. How was I supposed to decide? 
Every caring mother knows how special motherhood is, even in a 
subdued and limited form. Nevertheless, even thoughmy fate is probably 
sealed already, sometimes there is a point beyond which we cannot go, call 
it cowardice or whatever. I personally believe that we have to look inside 
ourselves and find our own particular limits. Perhaps, maybe, you will 
reach the same conclusions as I did. However, we are all different, and 
some would not make the same decision. 
I accept and respect that. 
I hope that you will do the same for me. 
* * * 
When we are young, we have our dreams, and we think we know 
what joys life will hold for us – a career, love, marriage, children. We even 
imagine we are in control of all that fate. The thought of any disaster other 
than dying when we have grown old does not come into the equation. 
I have experienced some of these joys, but my life has been short, and 
now I may have little chance or ability to do much more. I wanted to be 
able to achieve rathermore in my life than just having a baby – wonderful 
though he is. 
Maybe, if I write everything down, I can at least accomplish writing 
this book. Maybe, too, it will help me to understand and release all the 
muddled thoughts and inhibitions that are trapped inside me. 
This account is not fed on pity, but is intended to show how difficult 
and different life can turn out to be, even when we do everything “by the 
Hopefully it might help people like me, if only others can understand 
through my account how we feel. 
It is also a chance to say how much I have valued my lovely, lovely 
family. How I appreciate what they have had to do for me. If I could turn 
back the clock, maybe I still wouldn’t have changed anything. I wouldn’t 
want to miss the experience of Daniel, not for the world. What is difficult 
to take is that I am having to pay the ultimate price for that joy.... 

Get your own downloadable copy of the totally inspiring and heart wrenching book - all 259 pages - HERE

 A Message from our Founder

 Mandy Bayliffe

Mandy Bayliffe

"I have come to realise the courage and determination shown by carers and families   every hour of every day.

  I would like to offer all
  disabled people, their carers and families, the holiday, respite, support and advice they  deserve"
  Mandy's ambition was to see this in operation
  within her lifetime.
  Regrettably she died on August 28th 1994 before her dreams could be fulfilled.

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