2019 LIVEr Champion
In October of 2017 I was told that I needed a liver transplant because not only did I have polycystic kidneys, but I also had a polycystic liver as well. I was placed on the transplant list for a new liver and the eating game had begun! Six months later in May of 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer! As if needing a new liver wasn’t enough to the process and to deal with during this time, I knew that a cancer diagnosis would automatically put a hold on the liver transplant. I felt like I was living in a whirlwind where everything was going around me, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next!
My journey doesn’t begin here though. I was only 17 years old when I was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys. I know that at some point in my life I would need a kidney transplant, or I would need to be on dialysis but i never imagined that this diagnosis would lead to a new liver!
I have always believed that everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to know the reason why and other times we may never know! While I didn’t understand why any of this was happening to me. I did know that I had a choice on how I responded to the situation. Sure I was mad and thought that life had been unfair at the moment; but I also knew that if I stayed mad that it could lead me down a very dark path so instead I chose to remain positive as I could and hold on to hope that everything was going to turn out positive for me in its own time.
So I had started my treatments and had surgery for the breast cancer diagnosis and did everything that the doctors had asked me to do, as I knew I was walking towards a bigger goal and I could not give up – I needed to get back on the transplant list as I had people that I loved very much depending on me. I finished my treatments for radiation in August and in the fall of 2018, I had received the all clear to be placed back on the transplant list!! I felt victorious even though I knew that I could still have a long wait ahead of me before they had found a donor for me!
I had a lot of friends and family that had gotten tested to see if they were a match since the minute I had been placed on the transplant list but nobody had been a match in my family – it looked as though my best option for a transplant was going to come from a deceased donor as my list of family and friends was getting short. While my liver continued to function best as it could, my symptoms were beginning to get worse and really affected my everyday life as my liver continued to grow inside of me and smash the rest of my organs! Everyday tasks like getting ready or walking caused me to become short of breath. I struggled to eat food as my poor little stomach was being smashed and I was becoming tired very quickly by the simplest of tasks!
Then on January 26th, 2019, I received the call that would change my life forever! I will never forget the emotions that I felt at the moment, nor the call itself from Amanda at UCHealth. She told me that they needed me to come to the hospital as they might have a liver for me, but they would not know for sure till later today. After a couple of phone calls to family to get our kids situated, my husband and I headed to the hospital. Once we checked into the hospital we sat and waited to see if the liver from a deceased donor would be a match. There were different things that took place throughout the day that had “prepared” me for the surgery just in case the donor and I were a match. Eventually I made it to the operating room and received a new liver and my road to recovery had begun! I will forever be grateful for my donor as it gave me a life free of pain and I gained back some of the independence that I had lost due to the symptoms that I was experiencing! I can enjoy life with my children, my husband and family which is an awesome feeling!
While my journey is far from being over it has taught me a few things along the way, this past year and a half. The first was to ever give up hope no matter what the circumstances you are facing. By staying positive and not giving up hope I was able to make it through! The other thing that I had learned is that I am stronger than what I had been giving myself credit. I found an inner strength that helped me get up and out of bed each day, make it to all the appointments and eventually my transplant and recovery! Sometimes you must take it one day at a time and that’s okay – Just don’t give up and you will make it through.