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Recipient Stories

My Life Changed in an Instant

Thursday, June 23, 2005, I woke up with what I thought to be the stomach flu. My mom took me to the doctor and it was determined that I had the stomach flu and it had to run its course.

I was feeling better on Friday and went to a Clippers game with my friend. On Saturday, June 25, we had a birthday party for my sister and me. Sunday, we went to church and to see the movie, Herbie Rides Again.

Monday morning I woke up and was throwing up again. My mom noticed that my eyes were yellow in the corners. She took me to the doctor and he ordered a blood test. My doctor called my mom first thing Tuesday morning and he said that my bilirubin level was up and that we should go to Children’s Hospital.

I went to the Emergency Room and at that time, they thought I had Hepatitis A. I was admitted for further testing. The hospital started a vitamin K treatment and my liver numbers did not improve. They decided that it be best that I was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati since they have the best liver unit and perform transplants.

On June 30, they performed an emergency open biopsy. It was discovered that my liver was hard and shrunken. They started an immediate steroid treatment. I didn’t wake up very well from the biopsy so I was moved to ICU. Saturday morning, the doctor made the decision to list me as status one patient on the transplant list, which meant I needed a liver right away. The doctor told my parent’s I might not survive more than seven days without a liver. I was listed Saturday, July 2 at 10:35 a.m.

On Wednesday, July 6 at approximately 5:15 a.m., my family was told that a liver was available. I went to surgery at 11:30 p.m. that same day. My surgery was completed at 4 a.m. on Thursday, July 7. I began my new life and recovery. Tuesday, July 14, I went for my second surgery. They had to close the muscle layer. This could not be done the night of the transplant due to the swelling. This is very common. Things were a lot easier after this surgery but I was still in a lot of pain.

Tuesday, July 19 I was released from the hospital to the Ronald McDonald house. I was scheduled to go home on Thursday, July 28, my 6th birthday. However, the nurse called on Wednesday, July 27 and said my liver numbers had taken a very big jump. Thursday morning they ordered an ultrasound to check for a blockage. The ultrasound did not show any blockages so the doctor ordered a biopsy. The biopsy showed mild rejection. I was put on a steroid treatment that night.

I was released from the hospital on Wednesday, August 3 to the Ronald McDonald house again. Friday, August 5, Dr. Campbell allowed me to return home.

I am so thankful for organ donation, and for my donor – my hero. I thank GOD that I have a second chance at life. Take it from me; live each and every day as if there is not going to be a tomorrow. Your life can change in an instant!

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