June 7, 2005 at 8:37 PM CDT - Updated July 26 at 6:35 PM
Two Years After a Liver Transplant By: Wendy Ray
DEXTER, MO --Dorothy Richard of Dexter, Missouri is celebrating a special anniversary. Dorothy received a liver transplant two years ago June 7th a
nd it could not have come at a better time. She was so sick, doctors told her she would have died two days later if she would not have had a liver transplant. Dorothy never thought about organ donation, but her experience has completely changed her mind.
"The doctor gave me two options," Dorothy says. "I could stay like I was and maybe live two years, or I could go on a transplant list. Obviously I chose the transplant list." Dorothy decided to go on a transplant list for a new liver after several months of sickness and testing. Dorothy has primary biliary cirrhosis, a rare autoimmune disease that affects the bile ducts in her liver. She was so sick, she was sent home in June of 2003 to die, but a phone call from the transplant team changed her destiny. "It was maybe an hour or so later they called back and said we have a liver," Dorothy says.
Dorothy's husband Carl rushed her to St. Louis. She had the operation the next day, even though her health was terrible. "The doctor told us later if he had saw me before they put me in the operating room he would never have touched me. He said I would have been dead within two days," she says.
Dorothy was in the hospital 107 days. Her muscles had become so weak, she had to learn to walk again. Recovery was tough, but she eventually got to come home. Now two years later, her time is spent with her grandchildren, not in the hospital. She's grateful every day for the person she doesn't even know, who donated their liver, so she could live. "The good Lord above is the reason I'm here today," she says.
Dorothy goes to the doctor every year for a check-up. She'll have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.