Nicole & Christina
My nurse coordinator called me and asked, "Would you like to proceed with the evaluation?" I gave a resounding "yes". ~Christina - Nicole's Liver Donor
Nicole and Christina had been friends for several years and although Christina knew that Nicole had health problems and it had to do with her liver, she never asked for details. When Nicole’s health began to decline rapidly, Christina inquired about her friend. What followed was a crash course on the rare liver disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), that Nicole was battling. She also learned about organ transplants and that Nicole could benefit from a living donor transplant.
Christina was amazed that Nicole’s life could be saved by a living donor coming forward and began to research the process. She discovered what many people don’t know – you can donate a part of your liver as a living donor, saving a life and still living a full, active, happy, healthy life yourself. There are so many myths surrounding organ donation and Christina took the time to do the research and understand the facts.
Christina contacted the Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) Transplant Center and asked to register as a potential living liver donor for Nicole. Following a brief medical screening and some bloodwork that determined a possible match, the transplant nurse coordinator called and asked, "Would you like to proceed with the evaluation?" Christina gave a resounding "yes".
What followed for Christina was bloodwork, X-rays, an EKG, an MRI, a CT scan and additional tests focusing on her liver function. She attended an informational session informing her of the donor evaluation process, the surgical procedure, and recovery. She met with the transplant surgeon, pharmacist, and psychiatrist. A Transplant Coordinator and Social Worker were assigned specifically to her and walked her through every possibility including the best and the worst of any outcome and how it would be handled. At every point, it was made clear to Christina that she could change her mind. However, her team was clearly focused fully on Christina and her best interests, and she felt confident moving forward.
All information was sent to the Living Donor Advocacy Panel to determine Christina and Nicole’s liver compatibility and the result was positive. On the morning of Tuesday, October 15, 2019, Christina gave Nicole the true gift of life in a portion of her liver.
Surgery for both was very successful and this year, they celebrated their second “transplantaversary.” Nicole and Christian are both happy, healthy, and living life to the fullest and Nicole could not be more grateful. Christian shared, “Some decisions can be hard to make, and I can be indecisive, but this was the best one, and the easiest one, I have ever made.”
Organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person. Organ donation can occur with:
a deceased donor, who can give kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart, intestinal organs, corneas, and tissue at the time of death.
a living donor, who can give a kidney, or a portion of the liver, lung, intestine, or pancreas and continue to live a full, healthy life.