Kim Case of Williams Lake is one of 36 people in B.C. waiting for a liver transplant.
“When I went on the donor list in February I was told it would be a six month to a year wait,” the 36 year old said. “It has been 11 months.”
Kim was diagnosed in 2010 with Chronic Autoimmune Active Hepatitis, a rare liver disease where the body’s own immune system attacks the liver. It is not contagious.
“At first I was worried I had Hep C, B or HIV Aids because I was a medic and had interaction with blood, but all the tests came back clean,” Kim said.
It is evident she has nurtured a positive attitude.
“Once I decided to accept this journey it has given me the patience I need as I wait for a call that I have a donor,” she said, adding her dad Joseph Case is waiting for a kidney transplant.
Kim is from Tsi Del Del (Redstone), but has been living at the Friendship Society’s shelter because she needs to be within half an hour from a hospital.
“I also go to ambulatory care at the hospital on Mondays and Fridays for albumin infusions through my PICC line,” Kim said during an interview at her apartment. “I spend four hours there each time.”
Before she was diagnosed she began feeling nauseous. She lost her appetite to food and drink, was pale and had jaundiced eyes.
“It happened so fast and I was in and out of the hospital,” she said. “When my liver almost failed I had to be looked at by specialists at Vancouver General Hospital.”
Eventually a specialist from VGH came to Williams Lake to work with Kim and determined albumin protein would help her regain some health.
The albumin has restored her appetite but she still has chronic pain which hampers her sleep.
“I cannot lift anything heavy because I cannot get hurt in any way, and I have to stay away from crowds because my immunity is low,” she said.
Every four months she has an appointment at the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Healthy Centre at VGH because she is on the transplant waiting list.
Kim said there are many people helping her out, including her mom who will travel to Vancouver with her for the transplant.
“We are trying to raise money for the three months rent will have to pay when that transplant happens,” Kim said.
Kim also hopes more people will consider signing on as donors.
According to the BC Transplant society so far in 2015, 64 people have had a liver transplant.
Sometimes a healthy person can donate part of a liver because a healthy liver can regenerate most of its own cells, she said.