Life after a liver transplant: skin cancer, a wedding and a baby

Emma Thomas, who had a liver transplant, with her daughter Hannah in Kilmacow, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan
THE IRISH TIMES | Danielle Barron

Emma Thomas, from Kilmacow in Co Kilkenny, first realised she had liver problems when a persistent kidney infection wouldn’t clear up at the age of 19.

“I finally went to hospital in Waterford and they realised I was jaundiced too. I was transferred to the Mater hospital in Dublin and was soon diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis.

“Everything was attacking my liver and treating it as a foreign object.”

Immunosuppressive medication was used to try to stop this process, but Emma was in and out of hospital, and found herself much sicker than usual. “It wasn’t that I got a cold, I would get full-blown flu. My immune system was compromised, I would get everything much worse than everyone else.”

In addition, Emma suffered with oesophageal varices, where new veins formed in her oesophagus, causing bleeding in the stomach, a common problem in those with liver disease. Continue reading
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