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Decision to Move Forward with Living Liver Donor Transplant

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Hey everyone! For those who don’t know, this is Kortni writing the blog. My amazing, selfless sister Kelly is going to be donating part of her liver to me!

Why a blog? So I thought I would make a blog so people can keep up to date on what is going on and hopefully help others who are going through the same thing as me and don’t know what to expect. I guess I will try to make a long story short and do a quick back story.

In March 2007 I went to the emergency room where I was then admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. This was pretty shocking seeing as how I’m not a druggie, alcoholic, etc. About a month later they finally diagnosed me with autoimmune hepatitis. However, after that diagnosis from Kaiser, I was sent to UCSF where the doctors concluded that I may be part of the 5% of unknown cause of cirrhosis because I don’t have all the autoimmune markers to fit perfectly into the autoimmune hepatitis group.

My passion is natural health. So for 4 years I was able to put off having a liver transplant by using natural health. Some of these methods included clay baths, castor oil packs on the liver, milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid and other vitamins, herbs and nutrition.

Last October 2010 I started going downhill. I began having extreme fatigue as my thyroid took a crash. About 4 weeks ago I started gaining water weight (ascites), fast. To the tune of 1-3 pounds a day. I have also lost, well I would like to say weight, but I guess the more appropriate term would be body fat because I actually weigh more due to the ascites. I gained 30 pounds in about 2 weeks and in the last week to 10 days I have lost 25 of it. That is a lot of work for my kidneys! Which would probably explain why I got a kidney infection a few days ago.

I was able to loose the 25 pounds by having a paracentesis done (where they insert needle into abdominal cavity and drain off the excess fluid). They were able to get 3 liters. 1 liter is about 2.2 pounds. The rest of the weight loss I can give credit to my crazy high doses of lasix but most importantly, I am seeing a homeopathic doctor who after some trial and error, we were able to find a homeopathic remedy to get the weight off!

Now I am just trying to kill the kidney infection without gaining weight back, which doesn’t seem to be working. I have gained about 5 pounds of it back. I’m sure this is crazy complicated to those who have no idea about liver disease and for that, I am sorry. It seems my brain doesn’t think as clearly these days.

My MELD score has been pretty consistent for the last 4 years, it has maintained at 14-15. A few weeks ago, about the same time I started to develop ascites, my MELD jumped to 19. In case you were wondering….The Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) system is a way to prioritize patients waiting for a liver transplant. MELD is a numerical scale used for adult liver transplant candidates. The range is from 6 (less ill) to 40 (gravely ill). The individual score determines how urgently a patient needs a liver transplant within the next three months. The number is calculated using the most recent laboratory tests.

So, with the new turn of events and my jump in my MELD score, I have decided to move forward with getting a living donor liver transplant from my amazing sister, Kelly! She qualified two years ago to be my donor but because it has been so long UCSF is requiring her to do all of the tests over again.

As of right now, UCSF has given us a time-line for the transplant surgery date of somewhere around the end of July. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to live a normal life! I’ve been engaged forever now and just want to get married and move on with life. However, God has been so so good to me! His blessings every day are endless and I still can’t believe that my sister is willing to give me a piece of her liver!


About living donor transplant: They will completely take out my cirrhotic liver and then cut Kelly’s liver and give me 60% of it. Within a matter of 6 weeks-a few months both pieces of the liver will grow back to 100%. The liver is the only organ in the body that regenerates! Amazing…


About Kortni

I received a living donor liver transplant from my amazing and selfless sister, when it failed, I got a 2nd transplant 4 days later from my other hero! I have an amazing family and wonderful, supportive boyfriend. I love hiking, photography, natural health care, being outdoors and crafts. Did I mention that Jesus is my best friend and He has blessed me immeasurably!

18 responses »

  1. Misty Barrett

    Kortni…I am looking forward to being able to keep up with your experience. I think you are an amazingly strong. Godly woman and I will pray for both you and your sister throughout this process! On another note…I thought you were diagnosed earlier than that. I thought we “met” in 2006? I could be wrong, but that is when I really started to learn about natural treatments and I thought we met right away.

    • Hey Misty! Thank you so much for your sweet compliments! I really appreciate the prayers. I’m not sure when we met but I will never forget the day, March 3, 2007 being at Kaiser Manteca being diagnosed, on accident by the nurse who mentioned “my cirrhosis”! Haha that was a big shocker. It’s been so fun having you as my liver buddy haha it’s so hard for people to understand the toll it can take. I’m so glad that you are doing well and I’m so excited for baby #2 for you!

  2. krista & sean

    We are SO excited to hear this news–and July, wow! We will be praying for you and Kortni and that everything goes smoothly. We love you and pray that He would do immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine!

  3. Rebecca Kujath

    What an amazing journey!! I am passing your story on and we will all be praying for you!! Sending you so much love and praying that God continues to provide the positive attitude, the heart of thankfulness and also that the Lord would have his hand on each and every person involved!!!

  4. Rebecca Kujath

    P.S. I went to high school with Toby Bowker and have been FB friends with him and your sis Kristin for years now. (just thought I would identify myself…somewhat).

  5. Hi Kortni,

    Your journey is an amazing testament! Know that we are praying for you and Kelly through this extraordinary time!

    Brock and Dalia Rose

  6. Hi Kortni,
    I am so glad to hear you are going to get the liver transplant so soon. It is amazing how God created our bodies that a liver can fully restore itself when healthy. I will pray for you and your sister for complete and speedy recoveries and full restoration of all the liver functions.

    I would like to keep up with your blog as you go through the process. I clicked on “be notified of new posts” below. I hope that will keep me connected. If not, please let me know what I need to do to connect with your blog.

    Love and blessings for God’s presence, provision, peace and love throughout this process for you and your family.

    Sondra White

    • Hi Sondra! I think that should notify you. Blogs are kind of new to me too! Livers really are amazing, God sure knew what He was doing. Thanks for your prayers, Coleman and I miss you guys! Hopefully after the transplant we will be coming up to Redding!

  7. Kortni I wish nothing but the best for you and that special someone…your sister has to be just as amazing to be willing to do such a selfless action!!! you and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers…I will keep reposting your blog so ppl can be aware of what is going on and I will also be following it myself!!!

    • Thank you so much. Yeah, I can’t wait until my fiance and I can get married! And my sister is truly amazing, you’re right! Thank you for the prayers and for sharing the blog.

  8. Laura Phillips

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Congrats, Kortni, this is very exciting news. Can’t wait to hear more about how everything is going and hearing about you getting back to a normal life. And I also can’t wait til you and Coleman can finally set a date for the wedding, because as soon as I find that out, I will be purchasing a plane ticket to fly out there for the wedding. Anyways, will be praying for you.

    • Thank you so much for the donation aaron! I can’t wait for our wedding either, we will have a good time for sure! Thanks for the prayers!!

  10. You where such a blessing to me reading your story my darling husband has never done drugs or drink either my heart has been SI crushed for 2 yrs now things every day get worse they sdid his was caused by severe trama which he went threw a winshield of a car at 75 miles an hr in 1990 my God is big he is great he is mercyful I keep telling him to trust beleave god won’t allow any more on us than we can bare look at Job amen we some times think .. Well this isn’t fair well the first 4 letters in testimony is Test with out our testimony how are we able to help others jobs wife stood by her man they lost all there children there farm etc there friends yeah where there for them but not uplifting by then jobs wife lost he faith and told job … Why Dint You Curss God And Die … My husband I can’t take no more seeing you suffer as you know he kept his faith praise god others around us pull us down but with ones tests in there trials they can stand with that person and help them beleave oh praise God it’s 4 am here in Mo I always get up early to seek my father I wish you much happiness in your new hubby to be soon god bless you Sis Deborah


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