At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC). PBC is an autoimmune disease that causes irritation and inflammation of the bile ducts, which over time can block the flow of bile from the liver. By age 47, the obstruction had become so severe that I was experiencing jaundice, the classic symptom of liver disease. I was dumfounded the day my doctor mentioned that it was time to think about a transplant.
After a whole battery of tests to determine if I would be a liver recipient candidate, I was placed on the transplant list. After what seemed like a long month and a half, I finally received the call that we had been waiting for. For me, my liver transplant has allowed me to return to my normal, crazy life. Since the transplant, I’ve returned to work, traveled to France twice, to England once, and attended our daughter’s graduation from Butler University and watched her begin law school at the University of Cincinnati.
My experience has given me a greater appreciation for life. I try to live each day like it is going to be the best day ever, always remembering that everyone will need a helping hand—or at least a smile—at some point in their life! Becoming an organ and tissue donor is the ultimate helping hand. I would encourage everyone to give the gift of life so that others can live.
-Amy Pannell, Liver Transplant Recipient