For someone who has been through what she has in the space of a year, Corinne Hutton doesn’t need much to make her happy.
Last January she got the double hand transplant she had been waiting more than five years for, and feared would never happen.
This January, she will celebrate her “handiversary”, a year since a surgeon handed her back her independence.
Cor, from Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, finds the little things the most emotional now. And the mundane the most empowering.
Being able to do the simplest things for 11-year-old son Rory means the world to Finding Your Feet charity founder Cor.
“From an emotional point of view to be able to do things for him – make the packed lunches or the washing, or do the ironing is great,” she said.
“But on top of that, being able to hold his hand, fluff his hair, little things that might not be hugely exciting to him – but they matter a lot to me.
Cor became the first Scot to undergo a double hand transplant when, in a 12-hour procedure, Prof Simon Kay attached two donor hands to her arms at Leeds General Infirmary.
The 48-year-old lost her hands and feet in 2013 after suffering acute pneumonia and sepsis, which almost killed her.
After more than a dozen false alarms over the years, a match for her own blood group, skin tone and hand size had been found.
Much celebration and wonder was made of the news that the transplant had finally happened, but the aftermath was far from easy.
Recovery was slow and blighted by infection.
Cor explained: “I’ll be on immune suppressants for the rest of my life. In the beginning it’s a huge dose and you have no immune system whatsoever. So I was catching every germ and bug going and was in and out of hospital for the first six months of the year.”
But by the time May arrived, Cor realised her “nearly-new” hands were doing better than her stumps. She had spent “far too many months” in hospital.
‘A great gift’
She said: “Not being able to drive and asking people to pick you up, drop you off, take you to hospital, go to the chemist. And the little things that carry on like you have to get your kid to the dentist, go to the post office – all these things need done and you are relying on other people doing it for you.
“But the second half of the year was constant progress. It has been a great gift for me – a hard year but a worthwhile one.”
She was driving with her stumps but has recently started to drive again using her new hands.