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5 Years! Mrs Carl, RN

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It has been a long time since I have posted but thought I would give a little update. I have been so blessed these last 5 years. My first year post transplant was a rough year as I recovered from 2 back to back liver transplants. I parted ways with my ex fiance and went back to school to finish my pre-requisite classes for nursing. God opened the doors for me to get into nursing school on my first attempt ( which is unheard of for nursing school! Most people wait years to get in.) During that time I reunited with my college sweetheart of 2 years that I hadn’t talked to in years. That spark was still there and he was as handsome as ever and just like a hallmark movie, we reconnected and fell in love all over again.  I even discovered an old love note he had written me saying that one day he would make me Mrs. Kortni Carl. He is the most incredible man in the world. As for nursing school, it was a challenging and rewarding experience where I was blessed with lifelong friends. I have always loved school! After my first year of nursing school my sweet man got down on one knee with the waves crashing, the cool ocean breeze met by the warmth of the fireplace in our ocean front hotel room in Monterey. I said of course and started planning our wedding right away! I couldn’t wait to start my happily ever after and we got married last summer, August 1, in the middle of nursing school! Everyone thought I was crazy for planning a wedding and going to school but I enjoyed it. I graduated nursing school last December with a 3.8GPA, lifelong friends and a love for nursing.  Life has been a wonderful adventure the last 5 years.  I am so blessed with a healthy liver, a great job at a Christian based hospital as a RN, a wonderful husband and 2 of the cutest dogs in the world! Our next journey will be children, but for now we are enjoying this blessed life of ours.






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As I unwrapped my new oh so shiny, sleek, sharp and unwanted accessory, I instantly hated it. As I hate any needle. But being the good Christian girl I tried to stay strong. Have faith. Right?

My mom, a RN, was about to inject me and my mind was racing, I had to make it stop. Then I remembered the alcohol swab, “wait!!” as I ran away from the needle taking my sweet time to return.

I come back and slouch in my chair… I tell my mom NOT to jab me she convincingly said she wouldn’t and then jabbed me! What the ouch! I said no jabbing. I’m one of those weird patients that likes the needle to go in slow, it hurts less for me! Oh well, the show must go on.

She injected it slowly and did a pretty awesome job of pinching my skin so hard I couldn’t feel the injection pain too bad. Did I work myself up over nothing? It’s likely, I blame my fear of needles. It’s been 30 minutes and no side effects so far… Except for the pain at the injection site. Oh the burning. Not like a happy I worked out and maybe lost .3 pounds at the gym type of burn. More like a random bacteria that causes bone marrow to hurt and spit out little fighting cells has just been forced into your body type of burn.

Ok so I am dramatic. I am really ok though. Am I scared? Yeah maybe… The important thing is that at the end of my day I get to take that fear and lay it at the cross and give it to Jesus in exchange for His peace knowing that “He works all things together for the good of His glory”!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention once the injection was done I burst into years. I’m not sure if it was from relief, pain, anger or what but it only lasted about 1 minute. Next time I think I need to exchange my fear for peace BEFORE the injection. Oh and this was the injection for my low white blood count if you were wondering.


Immunity, Immunity, Where Art Thou?!

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I walked into the lab again, as I scanned all the familar faces, I saw him! My favorite guy. The one that gets that sneaky, rolly polly vein of mine. Except, this time, I was in for disappointment. It took two tries and a little wiggling to find it. Oh the heartbreak… and the pain. Oh well, I told him I wouldn’t break up with him, he is still my favorite vampire.

This would be the second time in a week that I was in the lab. Last Thursday my labs came back with a very low white blood cell count. An unfortunate side effect of the anti-rejection medications.  It should get better with some time. My WBC was 1.4, at the VERY least it should be 3, some hospitals want you hospitalized at 1.5-2. However, UCSF isn’t one of those hospitals. I had to go get retested this week, it came back low again. It was still only 1.5…  The doctor told me NOT to leave the house. Can you believe that? I’m on house arrest and I didn’t even get to steal an awesome car! Doctors, I think as little kids wanted to grow up and be cops. House arrest…

Now having a WBC of 1.5 means I get Neupogen injections. They are injections that stimulate your bone marrow to produce more WBC’s. Another trip to the pharmacy. Where I get to pick up needles, my favorite things! Then, per my coordinators directions, I have to find a “roll” (her words not mine!) I told her, “Rolls! I don’t have ANY rolls”. She’s never seen me so she didn’t know if she should take me serious or not. It was one of those funny awkward moments. Of course, I was joking, doesn’t every american have some jelly rolls somewhere or another! God bless the USA…

All joking aside, I am not looking forward to this. I have to take claritin and tylenol to help with the side effects. Likely side effects include a fever of up to 102-103, headache and bone pain and more. Some of the more “serious” side effects include paralysis and spleen rupture but hey… it gets my white count up! I don’t understand medicine, it seems crazy to me to take this. I guess it is quite dangerous though for me to have such a low immunity. Transplant patients can and have died from catching a common cold because they have no immunity to fight it. So, I’m praying my white count comes up fast! I’d like to get on with my life.

I also have a bit of good news, for a few days it was a question if I had CMV, a dangerous virus for transplant patients that can take months to get over. If my results came back positive I could have been hospitalized. I am so thankful God answered our prayers as it came back negative.

Not this past week but the two prior to that I’d been feeling awesome. I was out running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I had so much energy! Then, wam bam thank you mam, I lost it. The last week I’ve been laying around the house looking for that energy. I think it ran away with my white blood cells. If you see either, please tell them to come back, I quite enjoyed being a headless chicken.

The Scale by Amy Tippins

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As most of you know, I am a liver transplant patient.  Life as a transplant patients has it’s complications due to drugs.  Side effects from these awful over priced life savers are cancer, kidney failure, loss of hair, osteoporosis, etc, etc.  I could go on and on, but I don’t know how to spell half the names of the complications possible, nor do I have the patience to look them up.

These past 2 weeks, I have had the fun of dealing with the possible risk of multiple complications.  I found a lump in my breast which thankfully turned out to be nothing and my doctor thinks there is a small chance I am “pre-diabetic”.  Combine that with a case of the shingles (all diagnosed in a 72 hours) and you can tell it has been a stressful few days.  What I have failed to share with you is the critical mass of stress was the trauma of “THE SCALE”!

When walking into the doctor’s office nothing makes me want to tear up faster than the idea of “the scale”.  Yes, it sits down the hall right next to the bathroom taunting the female patients and bringing a smile to the face of the male patients.  The phrase “could you please step up on the scale” strikes the fear of God into any woman over the age of 30 and absolutely makes her want to strip in public just to reduce the number that shows up by a half of a pound.   I am a 150% convinced that the doctors have gone into business with the diet companies to reduce women to an emotional wreck who end up spending the next 10 days eating rice cakes and diet shakes.  I have not figured out how there is a 15 pound difference between my scale at my house and “The Scale” at the doctor’s office, but it’s there.  When I step on the scales at my doctor’s office  I expect to see 155, like I do at home.   Instead, I see “Hey chubby, you are 170!  You better lay off the Reese’s!!!”.  I will absolutely admit that I emotionally eat when I am headed to a doctor’s appointment that could have some bad news.  It is what I do, but I have never been known to eat 15 pounds of food in one sitting.  I am starting to believe that the doctors have a small camera coming out of the front of the scale that does a close up on the face of the patient when the number pops us.  These doctors take the video, edit to it, adding their own monologue and show it at their medical conventions during the entertainment hour.

Whether or not my doctor wants to admit it that there is a problem, I will always consider “The Scale” beyond repair until further notice.  There is nothing medically positive that can come from the mindset of me acknowledging the 15 difference between my scale and “The Scale”.  While evil doctors sit around and laugh at the faces we make, I will stay strong and not succumb to their taunting and sick sense of humor.  In the meantime, could you pass the ho-hos?



Written by Amy Tippins

Owner and Founder of Rock Scar Love, a clothing company that embraces the beauty of scars as they are marks of strength, beauty and perseverance! She is also a liver recipient of 18 years and as you can tell, has an awesome sense of humor. I can relate to this post because I recently gained a few pounds! Oh the woes of that one dreaded word. Scale! haha I just had to share. Go check out Amy’s company, her shirts are stylish and have a message. I would love to get one of her shirts I just haven’t got around to it yet!



Goodbye Stitches! Hello… scorpion?? Hmm…

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My mom, who is a RN, took my stitches out for me Sunday! It kind of hurt, who would’ve guessed. Well, it was still infected so I guess it’s not a huge shocker. Now… as it is healing… my scar looks like a scorpion! Can you believe that. I feel like I was given a tattoo I didn’t want. I hope as it heals it will clear up.

The (not so) funny part is that my bedroom has a scorpion problem. No other room in the house gets the little buggers but my room (which is also 20 degrees colder than the rest of the house). I’ve been stung two separate times and I found one in my bed! Now my scar looks like one (everyone agreed that it does). Funny life joke? I think not!

Now, in the last 5 months, I have 7 new scars! One big transplant incision scar, a JP drainage scar, a central line scar on my neck (yes, a giant IV), a scar on my back from an unknown source that I woke up with after my transplant, 2 scars on my back from biopsies and a biopsy scar on my stomach.  I am a ROCK SCAR! It’s ok, they each one tells a story of perseverance. I hope that anyone reading this that has a scar and doesn’t like it is reminded that it is a story of them overcoming something. It is a part of who you are and who you have become. It makes you that much more beautiful.


Slice and Dice

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Today, somehow, I don’t quite understand where the time went but… I AM 5 MONTHS POST TRANSPLANT! It blows my mind. I still feel like it was yesterday. Probably because recovery is taking forever and I’m so tired. I just have to keep reminding myself that I had TWO transplants and almost died, it can take a while to come back from that. It is so frustrating though and I feel like people expect more from me. Not that it matters, or it shouldn’t matter to me, all that matters is what God thinks and I know He is proud of my progress.

Today I went back to the hospital. I had a surgery appointment. If you remember last month I had 4 moles removed and 3 of them came back as suspicious and they wanted more surrounding tissue removed. Well they sure accomplished the more part! They went about 3/4 inch deep. I have a total of 14 stitches for the 3 removal spots. It has been a really rough day. I waited an hour and the procedure took an hour and that room was so cold I was shaking like a leaf! I guess this is part of the post transplant life. But I’m really thankful that I have doctors to take care of me and that make life livable with all the crazy side affects caused by my medications. I am pretty sore right now as the local anesthesia is wearing off. On top of having yet another cold, my body is pretty tired.

I have good news! My really good friend KC is moving to CA and is coming to stay with me for a week next week! I can’t wait, so much to do and see!

Oh!! I almost forgot the awesome news! Kelly’s scar developed another pus pocket so finally her plastic surgeon agreed the best thing to do is to put her under, cut out the bad scar and sew her back up, nice and clean! I’m so excited for my sister!

Oh I’ve also started taking biotin and b vitamins to help with the hair loss that my medications have caused. The hair loss and fatigue/slow recovery are the hardest part of the entire transplant process for me. I know that sounds crazy but I guess I’m impatient. I have also starting juicing again! I love juicing vegetables. My favorite is beets, carrots, apple, ginger and cucumber. It’s so good. Even my 5 year old nephew likes it. If you’ve never tried juicing you should try it, it’s so good for you and really increases your energy!! I have an Omega juicer and I love it.

Another exciting thing… Today is Thursday. Thursday are epic life (college group I go to). If your looking to be encouraged you can watch online tonight at 7:30.

Here is a picture of me and Kelly and some of my delicious juice!

Have a great week!





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I had my first dental appointment since my transplants. UCSF asks that you not have any dental work done for at least 6 months after your transplant but I begged because I didn’t want to miss out on this years benefits/coverage. I know, who begs to have dental work done! I have a lot that needs to be done though because I also have Lyme disease which destroys your teeth regardlessly of how well you take care of them.

In the past I haven’t been able to get numb at the dentist or best case scenario the numbness would last 30 seconds and then I would need another shot. I was of course terrified to go again this time because of the insanely barbaric memories I have of sobbing shaking while my teeth would get drilled on with no numbness (this includes not being numb for root canal). Nobody could go with me this time, it was me myself and I…. Well, Coleman was able to stop by for 5 minutes before he had to go to work and give me a hug and kiss. He is so sweet.

I told the dentist that I was confident that all it took was a new liver in order for me to get numb. And with that, the numbing shots began. He started with his best stuff, no playing around with little old lidocaine.

You know what? It was a lot better this time! It only took 4 shots and one during the middle to fill 2 cavities! I also had a bunch of people praying for me. It is my New Years miracle.

I understand why they don’t want you to have dental work though until 6 months out. It kicked my butt! I’m so tired! They also put you on antibiotics for a week before so you don’t get an infection. My mouth is still very sore for some reason.

I’m glad to have that done and over with! Now on to a New Year!!