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Stories of hope

Emma: excited to give back

Emma, sitting on hospital bed, smiling, with hand on small dog

My name is Emma. I am a recent liver transplant recipient as of October 17th, 2023. A young woman saved my life by being an organ donor and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life thanking her, and thanking her family.

When I entered the ER on September 14th, 2023, I was having trouble breathing and all around felt like death. I was jaundiced and incredibly swollen, and I thought that I had pneumonia. I had been struggling to breathe for days. I died in the ER that day, and one other time during my five week transplant vacation. When I was in the ER with what turned out to be something called hepatopulmonary syndrome, they had to drain my lungs, urgently. When they inserted the needle through my intercostals and into my lung, I saw my father, who had passed away. He said, “It’s okay, I’m here for you, breathe”. My lung collapsed, and I went unconscious, and was code-blued.

The coming weeks were a whole slew of tests, ending with a transplant evaluation; I was determined to be in acute liver failure with stage 4 cirrhosis. I was in bad shape and looking at my mortality at 30 years old.

By some miracle, I was listed for transplant on October 10th, and I was on the table being given my new liver on October 17th. It was a harrowing surgery, as I was in bad shape going into the surgery, and I essentially said goodbye to my family before I was taken back. But, not only did I survive, I thrived. I was discharged from the hospital to recover at home on October 21st, and my recovery so far has been peaceful.

I am so excited to help other transplant recipients and their families, as well as to get involved with donors. Transplant is a lifesaving gift, and I am ready to spend the rest of my life using my story to reach others.

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