(Guest blog post by Sandra Corbett, a Liver Transplant Recipient)
My story began when I was 3 years old and was diagnosed with and autoimmune Type 2/Cirrhosis of the liver. My disease certainly caused many terrible days of feeling off, fighting fevers, missing school days and special events, but despite this I still attempted to live a relatively normal life.
My mother made sure of this and I cannot thank her enough for helping me live normally despite my situation. We had decided that we wouldn’t let this disease define who I was, just because I had this condition, nothing would stop me from living a well-rounded life. I went to school and was involved in many sports and enjoyed spending time with my family and friends.
Unfortunately, my condition began to significantly worsen by the age of 21. At one point, I became very sick and was rushed to an emergency room. As a result, I was immediately flown to Toronto General Hospital for testing. From this, I received the devastating news that I would need a liver transplant and was added to the transplant waiting list.
The next 5 years that followed were extremely difficult and included many surgeries, biopsies, blood transfusions, hospital admittances, and countless days where I could not get out of bed. I also had to make many tough decisions along the way, such as making the decision to sign my DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form and agreeing on who would be in charge of my medical decisions if I became incapacitated.
At such a young age, I never thought I would be needing to answer these questions, instead of focusing on my future. For me, I could not even think of the word future, since it quite possibly could not exist for me.
On September 9th, 2010, at approximately 11:39 at night, I was suddenly awakened by the abrupt ringing of a telephone. Little did I know that this phone call would bring great news. I was surprised to hear that it was the transplant coordinator at Toronto General Hospital informing me that they had a liver transplant waiting for me.
Suddenly, all that I had been worrying about and all that I had been preparing for, dropped from my mind. The next day at 6:40 am, my husband, mom, and I boarded a plane and headed to the Toronto General Hospital.
This is where I received my second chance at life and I am so genuinely blessed to have received this second chance at life. I cannot thank my husband, mother, family, and friends for being so supportive throughout this whole journey.
I am so very thankful to the individual who signed their donor card and gave me the gift of life and a second chance to continue reaching my goals, following my dreams, and living my life.
They have given me the chance to live again and I am so grateful for this gift.
Sandra is a 31-year old liver transplant recipient living in Canada.
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