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Courtney's Organ Donor Story

February 14th, 2018 |
Awareness & Education

by ashleysartcloset | Survivor: Liver Cancer    Connect

Today, I am sharing a story with you. One about a girl name Courtney who went to the hospital for one thing, slipped into a coma and when she woke up, had a new liver.

Courtney and I met through my sharing about liver cancer awareness one year with the IHC community. It was then she commented she was a liver cancer survivor. Because, I have a constant thirst to hear people stories, I encouraged her to share more of her story. Courtney told me she received a liver transplant to overcome Fibrolamellar, liver cancer.

I asked Courtney how her transplant came about? Peek at her response,

My transplant wasn't really planned. I unknowingly had a tumor that was taking up the majority of my liver and causing ammonia to go back into my system. This caused me to go into a coma, while I was in the coma my family was informed that a transplant would be my only option. Once I was on the list everything went better than they had planned and I woke up to find out that I had not only had a tumor but was now a transplant recipient.

My mind wandered, what was recovery like? I mean here you are in the hospital, knowing you had a tumor, then to wake up as a recipient. How does one deal with such a life-giving experience?

Because of my situation recovery for me involved a longer hospital stay, physical and occupational therapy. It was rough getting used to the amount of medication I would be on and trying to return to normal life but over time things got easier.

Last week, I checked in with Courtney to see how she’s doing this far out with her transplant.

She happily shared, I am currently 3 1/2 years post-transplant and my liver is doing fantastic. I haven't had any major issues with the transplant itself. I am currently undergoing treatment for a recurrence of cancer that I have had but my transplant is fine and overall, I am very healthy.

She talked further with me about her reoccurrence. Because one would think since you rid the trouble-making organ, you'd be good to go with no additional issues. It was much to my surprise, and maybe yours, you can still have health issues. My question was, so it was in the lymph nodes?

She said, yes, very very small, like millimeters. Her doctors are watching her very closely. Over the last year, she's had chemo and radiation. Her recent scan showed stability and shrinkage. She mentioned the removal of a few lymph nodes but the chemo seemed to work best at this point.

Later in our recent conversation, I mentioned to Courtney sharing her story with you, IHC community. She was very up beat in sharing with hopes of helping others save a life. It was then I snagged a few more responses from her, What would you say to the giving family?

Thank you, though that doesn't even begin to cover it. Their choice helped me have a second chance at life.

If someone were standing here in front of you today thinking of checking the donor box on their driver's license, What would you tell them?

Do it! I never thought about organ donation or transplants prior to my getting one. I just checked the box when I got my drivers license but you never know whose life you may save.

Friends, IHC community, reading this, I am not sure about you but Courtney's story forever has touched my heart!

Speaking of hearts, most people think of February 14th as Valentine's Day, a day to express love to a special person in their life. Some have gone as far to marry on this calendar day.

I'd like to think deeper!

Did you know February 14th is also known as National Organ Donor Day?

Let me be honest for a second, it's not a day I've always known existed. However, organ donation has always been important to my family and I. My father was working on the paperwork to receive a transplant when he passed away. After his death, my sister registered to be an organ donor. She did this while renewing her driver’s license, just like Courtney.

Are you an organ donor? Will you, or have you, checked the organ donor box on your drivers license? Let’s together tell others how much we love them this National Donor Day.

Let’s save a life.

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ashleysartcloset's picture
Ashley is a mix media artist, two time self-published author, photographer, wife, mother, Jesus Lover and 16 year Liver Cancer Survivor. Ashley enjoys shining a ray of hope in all areas of life, especially the cancer community. She lives in the great state of Mississippi. Click here to visit her blog.