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#WillowStrong

Willow was your average 5-month-old, exploring the world around her, eating, napping and staring at her siblings make silly faces. Her dad was holding her while mom finished up dinner when dad asked her mom to look at Willow’s eyes. They looked a little yellow in the whites. Her parents took her down to the Urgent Care where her blood work came back showing her liver enzymes had spiked.

They were rushed to UCLA where she was admitted with Acute Liver Failure. Thirteen days later Willow’s doctor came up to her room in the PICU to say they had found a liver for her. It was a happy/sad day for her family because they were told that the liver was coming from another baby who was just a few weeks younger than Willow. They were overwhelmed with emotion, knowing now that their daughter would have a new liver to thrive, survive and grow with. Overwhelmed with emotion that another family was feeling the pain they hoped to not feel. Overwhelmed that during this difficult time for the other family that they chose to choose life and donate their child’s organs so that other children may live.

Willow went down for surgery and her parents waited for her in her in a room in the PICU for hours. The OR called to give updates but they were still on pins and needles. The surgeon spoke with them before she was brought back to the PICU. He explained it was a difficult transplant, that this was the smallest liver he had ever done, and he’s been doing this for a long time. But he was hopeful. Every day since her transplant he has either come to her room to check on her or called to see how she is doing.

 

A few days after the transplant her LFT’s began to improve. She was no longer a yellow-orange color, her eyes began to show signs of being white again. Rumors of moving to the PEDs floor were circling around and we were excited to finally start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But her LFT’s took a bump and an ultrasound was done. She was rushed down to the IR because her artery showed little blood flow. Her artery was clotting off. She was relisted on the transplant list again. Her family was yet again overwhelmed, but this time with complete sadness.

As the days went on she seemed to improve. Her LFT’s dropped down again. She began sitting up with the help of PT and even went on a few wagon rides. The liver team told her parents they are going to hold off on another transplant because her liver is showing that it is working, it is thriving, it’s keeping her healthy.

There are rumors of the PED’s floor again and her parents are hoping it’s soon. It’s been 5.5 weeks since Willow has been home with her siblings. They all want to be reunited soon.

#WillowStrong

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Anna Schwinger

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