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…