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Courtney's Double Transplant

Organized by: Sam Lynch

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I am a 25 year old who has been given a tough hand to play. When I was 4, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; in high school we discovered I have Graves' Disease, degenerative disc disease, and was starting to show signs of acute kidney failure. However, it was presenting strongly so we were told to just keep an eye on things. Over the years things seemed to stay the same. Nothing was getting worse, but nothing really was getting better. To put even more of a strain on my already unsteady body, when I was 15 I developed an eating disorder. Bulimia would eventually almost take my life. There are many times I will refer to my eating disorder as an "abusive relationship" and his name is ED. Leaving ED was the hardest task I've ever had to do. He comforted me when I was sad; he held me when I was alone; he told me all the things I wanted to hear; but he also tore me down. Ed made me feel like my life was never good enough, that I was never good enough and if I would just listen to him, then life would be perfect. I quickly lost all control of my life and who I was. It was almost as if I just went through the motions to get through everyday. I basically starved myself for 9 years before my body literally started shutting down on me. My diabetes was constantly out of control which led to some retinopathy and some slight neuropathy. A month after my 24th birthday (so July 2013) I was rushed into the hospital with full blown acute kidney failure. My kidneys were functioning at about 5% total together. At this time, we also found out I have Lupus. I guess when it rains it pours!

I was in the hospital for about a week when they decided that I would have to go on dialysis until I was stable enough to get a kidney/pancreas transplant. Part of the deal of getting the organ transplant was I had to have kicked ED out for atleast 6 months solid. So on July 25, I had my first dialysis treatment. Scared would definintely be the understatement of the century. However, I put a smile on my face and toughed through it! I was now embarking on a whole new book in my life, not just a new chapter, but a whole new book. My life, as I knew it, would never be the same. I would never look at life as I had before.

Now that treatment was underway, it was time for me to focus on tackling my eating disorder once and for all. However, we had no idea the bumps in the road we were about to encounter. Because I was (and still am) on dialysis, no impatient treatment center was willing to take me. My mom and I as well as some of my close personal doctors, called over 100 facilities around the US trying to get me in a program. Basically, because of being on dialysis and how bad my blood was, I was too much of a liability to be under any facility's care. This, basically, was telling me that my life wasn't worth saving. I was so close to dying that they didn't want to be responsible if I were to die on their watch. This was a very hard pill to swallow. I was, for once, trying and reaching out so hard to get the help I needed to get my life on track. I was begging for the help. I barely weighed over 80lbs and my life was hanging in peril. Finally, we found a center that was agreeing to accept me into their intense inpatient program and help me get my life back. The name of the facility is The Eating Recovery Center of Denver. I thought I was going to an amazing recovery center that was going to help me cope and gain control of my life back; little did I know what I was about to have to go through.

Within the first 24 hours I was in a whole entirely different fight for my life than I thought I would ever have to face. The "nursing" staff neglected my diabetes so terribly, I ended up in DKA for the first time in 20 years! I was begging the staff to pleace call 911 or take me to the hospital. I needed IV fluids and insulin via IV. All the staff members gave me nothing but the cold shoulder. I was told "no, we can't do that," "just give it some time," and I was completely ignored. I watched as they rolled their eyes at me and whispered to one another about me when I had walked away. I was begging for help for my life, and I was given attitude and passed off like I didn't know what I was talking about. I was finally able to call my mom who had me on a flight home back to Georgia by later that afternoon. I got to the airport and was so sick I slept on the airport floor for 5 hours. I then had to sit on a 2 hour or so long flight back to Atlanta. (When a patient goes into DKA it causes intense stomach pains and overall feeling of being intensely ill.)

I finally arrived back in Atlanta. I felt relieved to be home and surronded by my family and the people who love and care about my well being. My boyfriend picked me up from the airport and literally almost had to carry me to the truck. We got home and I went straight to bed and slept for almost 2 weeks straight before I was able to start functioning normally. So, now I am home and I felt like I had taken 10 steps backwards in the whole ordeal. At this point I was going to have to make some harsh decisions. No where would take me help me, not even the out patient facilities in Atlanta. MY spirit was so crushed. Now I had 2 options to choose from: 1. let this defeat me and die , or 2. kick its ass myself. I chose the latter. I moved into a house closer to my mom with my dog, I got back into the gym, I learned how to count macros, I set goals, and I have consistantly busted my butt to make sure I kill those goals and keep moving forward. I have had to over come so much completely on my own. I have lost almost every single friend I thought I had. I lost the man that I wanted to marry. But I had to make choices that were going to better my life and make me healthy. For once, I have put myself first and I have never be healthier. I have been able to put on over 30 pounds and I dedicate my days to my work outs and my meal plans. I am headed towards a fitness competition in the next couple years. To come back from the brink of death, to watch the color fill my face again, to see the world through all new eyes, is nothing short of a miracle. I pray for the strength to be able to take on everything and anything each day may throw my way. My life isn't near perfect, and it's harder than most people will ever have to endure. But my struggles, and my hardships make me who I am. I look forward to getting my transplant done and being able to turn around and help change the lives of other people who are going through tough times, whether it be medically or something completely opposite, I want to make an impact and help save the lives of people or at least to inspire people with where I have come and where I am going.

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Organized by

Sam Lynch

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With love 4 years ago

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