On May 5th, 2013, I lost one of my best friends to non-alcoholic liver disease. She was only 27 and should have had her whole life ahead of her. She took a weight loss pill in high school and it escalated her disease. What should have hit her later in life, instead effected her in her twenties. She fought the disease for years and was never ‘sick enough’ to get a transplant until the very end. Rachelle stayed with me for a couple of nights after being released from the hospital. She had had a bleed out prior to that and was finally at the top of the transplant list. However, the second night that she stayed with me she she asked that I call her an ambulance. I rode with her to the hospital and waited in the ICU as the doctors and nurses worked to get her stable. Her blood pressure had dropped extremely low and they needed to fly her to OHSU about thirty minutes away.
It was discovered that she had had another bleed out and was life flighted to OHSU as soon as she was stable. Once she was there the medical team did all they could for her. They did a TIPS procedure which basically bypassed the liver and gave her a little more time. Unfortunately, during the 6 days that she was in the ICU, she was too sick to get a new liver. In the end, we had to let her go.
For those who knew Rachelle, she will be greatly missed. Despite her disease, she was always so full of life and love. She had many friends and even though she had been dealt a rough hand in life, she made the best of what she has. While she won’t be able to have the children that she dreamed of, I am thankful that she was able to at least Marry her husband Alan last year.
No one should ever have to go through what she went through, and it was unfortunate and unfair that she lost her life to it as well. While I miss her dearly and it will be some time before the tears stop coming, I know that she would want me to move on in life and to do the things that she was never able to do.
Why am I sharing this with all of you? Because she’s a wonderful woman who the world lost too soon. If there had been a liver available during the short amount of time she was at the top of the list, I believe she would still be with us. There isn’t anything that I myself, or anyone else, can do to bring her back. However we CAN try to prevent the deaths of others. If you aren’t already an organ donor, please consider donating. People die every day waiting for livers, and I know there are many people out there who still aren’t donors for one reason or another.
I haven’t figured out how exactly, but I plan to spread the word on donating as much as I can.
In memory of Rachelle, I am starting this blog. I’ll use it to keep myself on track, doing the things she would want me to do and generally living/enjoying my life. I will also use it to spread awareness of liver disease and organ donating.
I love you Rachelle and I will never forget you.