Source: Diamond Valley Leader
|Bree Smith, liver transplant recipient, with her precious daughter Indianna Catherine, 2 weeks old.|
If it hadn’t been for an organ donor the three-week-old bundle of joy wouldn’t be here - and neither would her mother, Bree Smith.
At the age of four, Mrs Smith was diagnosed with sclerosing cholangitis, which caused the bile ducts leading to the liver to scar, severely disruption the liver’s ability to function.
The only cure was a transplant.
After battling the illness for 10 years, Mrs Smith’s condition worsened to the point that her lungs were also struggling to cope. “I was on full-time oxygen for 12 months while waiting for a transplant,” she said. “It was getting to the stage where I was going to have take a part of my father’s liver. “That was the last option and would have been high risk ... an absolute last resort.
“It was just before Christmas (1995), and they said if nothing came up by Christmas, that’s what they would do.”
But on December 22, a liver became available, and after the operation at the Austin Hospital, Mrs Smith began the slow and painful recovery process.
“I had to stay on full-time oxygen for six months after the operation, and it took another 12 months after that for me to start feeling better,” she said. Mrs Smith missed plenty of schooling at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar, and everything else a healthy 15-year-old does.
However, those difficult years were just a memory now, she said.
Seven years ago Bree met Brendan through friends. They married 2 1/2 years ago and now they have welcomed Indianna, who fittingly, was born next door to the Austin at the Mercy Hospital.
“Having a baby was always something they (doctors) weren’t sure about,” Mrs Smith said. “It was always going to depend on what sort of medication I was on. It was a case of trial and error but we have her.
“She is fantastic. I certainly can’t complain; she’s a miracle.”
To register as an organ donor, go to donatelife.gov.au