Having been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease on her 12th birthday, doctor visits, hospital stays, needles and pills were just a part of growing up for Amanda Missildine. However, nothing could have prepared her for the spring of 2005, when Amanda went into liver failure. On Mother's Day 2005, she received a liver transplant and a second chance at life. After her experience, Amanda decided to become a nurse in the ICU where she was once a patient. "Working alongside the physicians and nurses that took care of me was a tremendous gift to be blessed with," said Amanda.
Having been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease on her 12th birthday in 1998, doctor visits, hospital stays, needles, pills and outpatient procedures were just a part of growing up for Amanda Missildine. However, nothing could have prepared her for the spring of 2005.
It was Amanda's senior year of high school. After not being able to breathe very well on a trip to Flagstaff, she wondered if something was seriously wrong. Doctors immediately assumed it was her Crohn's Disease. As she exhibited more symptoms, it was apparent that it was something else. Doctors were totally at odds over her lab results. Blood tests were taken three times a week, with as many as fourteen vials of blood at a time. Nothing was pointing to any particular affliction or disease.
It was April, and Amanda's condition continued to get worse. She called her doctor and explained her urine now looked like coffee and she was feeling much worse. They wanted to see her immediately. When Amanda arrived, she could barely walk from the waiting room to the doctor's office without fainting. The doctor immediately recommended that she be checked into the hospital because of her jaundiced skin and eyes, indicating of liver failure or hepatitis. "From then on, it was a blur," said Amanda.
Amanda woke up one month later in a different hospital, not able to move or talk. She had no idea what had happened to her. Amanda learned, as she recovered, what had happened over the course of that month. She had gone into liver failure, and all of her organs began shutting down. The only option was a liver transplant.
On Mother's Day 2005, she received a liver transplant and a second chance at life. However, the battle was not over. Because of many complications, her doctors put her into a medically induced coma. She slowly began waking up about a week later. Miraculously, she had no brain damage. However, her muscles had deteriorated because she had not moved for weeks. So Amanda faced another battle: regaining all of her muscle mass. When she first woke up, she could not move or talk. By the time summer ended, she could walk, talk, and pretty much function normally. Amanda still had to work hard to gain strength and keep up with her friends.
Amanda also learned the cause of her liver failure: Wilson's disease. This genetically recessive condition prevents the liver from excreting copper from the body. Thanks to her liver transplant, she is now cured of that potentially fatal disease.
After her experience, Amanda decided to become a nurse. Upon graduating from nursing school, she worked in the same ICU where she was once a patient. "Working alongside the same physicians and nurses that took care of me was a tremendous gift to be blessed with," said Amanda. She now works at a different hospital, in a Liver and GI clinic, helping patients who are awaiting transplants and with other liver and GI diseases.