Oh, there you are. Hi, how are you? How’s work going? How’s the kids? Good, good. Have you seen Gloria Estefan’s hair lately?
Wait. Wait. Where are my manners? Please allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Michelle, but you can just call me Joi (pronounced Joy), or Queen of the Universe. Whichever works for you. (How do you get Joi out of the name Michelle? Find the answer to that question and I’ll give you the answer to why is a raven like a writing desk).
I am a recipient of a kick-ass 1960’s model liver. Total American classic. Fresh paint job and everything. This baby rocks! Okay, enough joking around. Let me tell you my back story because it is pretty darn wicked.
On August 3, 2008 I walked into my local hospital, (Stanford to be exact. Hoo-Rah!), with what I though was a stomach flu. At the time I was 6 months pregnant and everything was going okay. We only came to the hospital’s labor and delivery as a precaution. (I have Sickle Cell Disease so I was already considered a high-risk pregnancy, which means I’m always cautious.) If I had not been pregnant I would not have gone to the hospital at all. In the next 24 hours I would slip into a coma as my liver began to shut down. I had acute liver failure.
My life and the life of my unborn child was slowly ticking away. My unborn child’s survival rate was only 25%, while mine was less then 15%. At one point my husband was even advised to start planning funeral arrangements for us. But what my doctors did next was something that many would have considered impossible. On August 8th, with only hours remaining, they performed a rare back-to-back C-section and liver transplant to save both our lives.
Our son, John, was born and fought for the next six months outside the womb, but lost his battle in February of 2009. My husband and I are in eternal thankfulness to the doctors who had the courage to do the impossible. Without them I wouldn’t be here and we would have never had six wonderful months with our son. The Liver team at Stanford rocks the Casbah!
Now before you start trying to play doctor here, let me tell you that my liver was tested for months after the surgery, undergoing every test and exam known to men. My liver failure was not due to my Sickle Cell nor was it caused by my pregnancy. I don’t drink very much and I’ve never tried drugs. They even tested me for the rare Hepatitis E, which is not even in the United States. Despite all the testing done, to this day, my doctors still do not know why my normal healthy liver suddenly failed.
So, there it is, people. Now, let’s get on with the story that is my life. . .