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Life After Liver Failure

By July 25, 2012March 27th, 2023Moments
Life after liver failure
A Classic employee for over 19 years, Andrea suffers liver failure at a young age. Her story is one of courage, strength and the ability of the human spirit to persevere despite enormous challenges.

Andrea Experiences Liver Failure

In October of 1996, Andrea was 24 years old and working as a Classic LifeCare Nursing Supervisor. She began suffering from extreme fatigue, fluid retention, yellowing of her skin and eyes, severe itchiness and short-term memory loss. Her doctor quickly determined that her liver was failing, it was 1/4 size of a normal liver. Andrea was diagnosed with Auto Immune Hepatitis and referred to BC Transplant Society.

Over the next few months, Andrea would suffer debilitating pain, weight loss, jaundice, and mental confusion due to toxicity. She spent months in the hospital as her body slowly shut down. Andrea needed help. She could no longer engage in daily living without the assistance of a caregiver.

The Gift of Life

She waited seven months until she got the call – there was a match. Andrea received her first liver transplant on July 9th, 1997. What a gift, it was her parents’ anniversary.

Andrea returned to work for Classic within 10 months of her transplant and resumed helping people meet their health and home care needs. She says that after being so ill and relying on the help of others, she came back with more empathy for those in similar situations.

Then came the summer of 1998. More bad news just a a week before her wedding. Her liver was failing. Again. Despite the looming challenge, Andrea and Jeremy Warren married and took on another two years of pain, reconstructive surgeries and lengthy hospital stays together.

A second, life saving, call came on September 13th, 2000. There was a donor and it was another match. Within six months Andrea reclaimed her position at Classic and began living a healthy, active life for the next ten years.

Liver Failure After 10 Years Healthy

During the summer of 2011 Andrea’s Auto Immune Hepatitis attacked her liver again. Declining quickly, doctors tried everything to save Andrea’s second liver. She suffered a hepatic hemorrhage and required an emergency 3rd liver transplant in September 2011.  Within 24 hours of her hospitalization, and literally at Death’s door, she received her third miracle. Her family and friends gathered in a waiting room outside the OR and celebrated the great news together that Andrea was going to survive.

Appreciation for Good Health

Fast forward a year… Andrea is truly a miracle. This past year she skied, hiked, boated, enjoyed cooking and socializing with friends and family. Her husband Jeremy has been a positive, strong and loving support to her during the darkest times of her illness.

In Andrea’s words “I never take my life or good health for granted, I always remember to tell my family and friends how much I love them and how thankful I am for their love and support. I’m so grateful for the individuals who saved my life and who registered to be an organ donor. Without their act of personal generosity and kindness I would not be here today living life. There is no easy way to thank those including my donors for saving my life so I lead my life in a manner that I would like to think would make my doctors, nurses, family and the families of my donors proud.”

Andreas Classic LifeCare Journey

Andrea has taken on many roles and responsibilities in almost 20 years with Classic LifeCare, and she takes every opportunity to give back to people with health challenges in a personal way.  Beginning as a front line nurse for a client with a traumatic brain injury who wished to be at home, Andrea was promoted to Nursing Supervisor in 1996. Now enjoying great health, energy and drive, Andrea was a natural to take on the role of Executive Leader at Classic earlier this year. Andrea’s experiences both personally and in the field are unmatched, and we are excited about her leadership in helping others manage their health while remaining at home.

Please register to be an Organ Donor at www.transplant.bc.ca – it takes less than 5 minutes and you can give someone a chance at life.

Also Give Blood – it’s in you to give. Contact Canadian Blood Services at www.blood.ca for more info.