What is your story?
In the late 1990's my twin sister and I were driving home on a summer day, and out of no where a car came across the street, hit us on my side, nearly pushing us across 4 lanes to oncoming traffic. My sister's knee was pinned and we had bruises and concussions. The police and firemen came and we were transported to the hospital. They ran a bunch of tests and x-rays. They found our platelets count to be very low so they referred us to a blood specialist. The blood specialist found we had blood issues and sent us for several different bone marrow biopsies to rule out any cancers. Those tests came out negative. They then told us it was maybe our liver, so we went to another doctor, and found out that our liver was very lumpy and showing signs of Cirrhosis. We never drank or did drugs, so we assumed it was genetic.
I soon got pregnant and it advanced my condition. I was having complications with my pregnancy and at 24 weeks I had an emergency c-section, and as they were taking him out, they noticed my liver was not normal. It was really lumpy. The doctors told me that I was lucky because both of us could've died.
In 2003, my aunt noticed I wasn't looking well and said, "Millie, you are not looking good. The Holy Spirit told me that you need to get checked out by a doctor." I went to Northwestern to see a general doctor and they ran some labs. They had me wait for the results. As we waited, a nurse came to tell me that I needed to be admitted because my bilirubin was very high and was showing liver issues. The doctors came to my room, and told me that I needed a liver transplant. I was about to enter the end stage of liver failure so they began the testing process for a donor with friends and family but no one matched except my younger sister. She was only a part match and her liver was smaller than mine. My husband was tested and it turned out to be a perfect match. He agreed and we began the process for surgery.
March 26, 2003 was our surgery date. After my surgery, the doctor said that as soon as they opened me up, my liver stopped functioning and it was shriveled and green. They also said that if I waited any longer, I would have died. As I was recovering from the surgery, I got a blood infection, so they gave me antibiotics. I began to have pain, and they decided to do an ultrasound on my liver. The results showed I had a huge clot in the hepatic artery leading to the liver. The blood supply was cut off, so the transplanted liver wasn't receiving blood and as a result was dying. I needed to have another surgery, after we got the news. The doctor told me, "Don't give up! I need you to stay strong with me, I will get you through this." My mom and began to cry, but, I heard a voice in my ear that said not to worry, I would be fine.
I was in the hospital for a while due to high fevers from the infection. They decided to release me and send me home with a home healthcare nurse to give me my medicine through an IV. I was also sent home with a pager to notify me when a donor liver was available. I was paged several times, but they weren't a match. Then June 14, 2003, I was paged that another liver came in and it was a match. We went to the hospital and waited with several of my family members in my room before the surgery. When it was time they came and took me for surgery. It took longer then expected and it was on a Saturday. They never do surgeries on the weekend, I knew God was in control of the whole thing. He provided the cadaver donor for me in which I found out later she was Christian and had died in a car accident.
My mother was very worried because the surgery was taking longer than expected and she noticed the doctors kept coming in and out of the procedure room. The doctor came out and told my mom that my pressure went down and my heart stopped. I was so swollen that they needed to leave me open and wait until the swelling went down to close me up. My mom was so upset that my aunt said that they needed to pray for God to turn it all around. After they prayed, my pressure went up, my heart started again and they were able to close me up.
My recovery was long, hard, and painful but I never gave up hope. I kept reading God's word praying and worshiping Him. It's what got me and my family made through this difficult time. I give God all glory for being our strength during it all. I have been doing well but a few issues have come up, that have the doctors keeping an eye on me. Since I have been on my anti-rejection meds for a really long time, they can affect my kidney function. So they are constantly running blood test to keep a watch on them. I have been living day by day following my doctors instructions. With any signs of pain, bleeding, or bruising I notify my doctors and get my labs done. I take my medicine as instructed. Through it all, I try to live my life as normal as possible. My faith in Jesus has kept me strong. I use my oxygen everyday, and am waiting for my next evaluation from the respiratory therapist. It is helping to make my lung stronger, but I'm hoping they can take me off of the oxygen soon.
How has your story shaped who you are today?:
It has made a strong person both in character and in faith. I know God saved me from the brink of death more than once. I am so very grateful to Him, my family, friends, and church for their support.
What compelled you to share your story with us?:
I believe people need to know I am a true living Miracle of God, and that miracles do exist in these days. God is REAL!!
What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:
Keep a positive attitude and hold on strong to whatever your beliefs are. Have faith, believe, and trust it will give you strength.