All Stories

Sue Doughty – Liver Recipient

I was diagnosed with liver disease in 1984 after a routine physical. My internist referred me to a U of L gastroenterologist who would oversee my progress for the next twenty years. I was told from the beginning that I would need a liver transplant, but that the disease was slow-acting. Unfortunately, there was very little information about my disease and few resources available. I continued with my job and personal life for many years with no symptoms. I began to see a hepatologist at UofL about fifteen years into the progression of the auto-immune disease called Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.

The diagnosis of end-stage liver disease came in 1999, but I was not sick enough to be placed on the transplant waiting list. As time passed I began to exhibit symptoms of PBC – fatigue, higher liver enzymes, and encephalopathy – and was no longer able to work. I slept much of the time, had little energy to walk and my muscles atrophied. I don’t remember most of the final months prior to transplant.

My hepatologist sent me back to Jewish Hospital Transplant Center for another work-up and it was determined that my condition was deteriorating rapidly and I was placed on the waiting list on May 7, 2005. On May 17th   I received a life-saving liver transplant and after a fairly short time, I was a healthy individual again. I am very fortunate to have met my donor’s family after corresponding for about a year. They are wonderful people and live near us.  I am luckier than most people; I have two families to love.

My life is full and rich and I feel absolutely great! My husband retired recently and we do volunteer work for an organization called Second Chance at Life of Louisville to inform the public about the need for organ and tissue donation and to ask them to sign theKentuckyor Indiana Donor Registry. We also do volunteer work for KODA, Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life, UofL Lions Eye Bank and National Kidney Foundation of Kentucky. I look forward to many more years of good health and volunteerism. Life is good!