Liver Transplant

My name is Kimberly Linker. I turned 40 this year and was recently diagnosed with End Stage Liver Failure. I am a proud mother of three children 21, 16, and 15 years of age. The thought of missing their lives is unfathomable. I want to live a long life, and be there for them through all parts of Life's journey. They recently lost their Grandmother, and tragically lost their Step-Mother within months of each other. Another shout from above- This is NOT the time for Kimberly to go.

I had no idea that I was suffering from cirrhosis until I started to show bloating of the abdomen. I purchased the "best" probiotics in attempts to flatten the abdomen. Eventually, the diagnosis was a condition called ascites and is commonly linked with liver failure due to excessive alcohol consumption. It is extremely uncomfortable. There is pressure on all organs including the diaphragm and lungs making it difficult to breathe. Ascities requires a medical procedure called paracentesis to remove the fluid. Technicians took out 5 liters the first time I had the procedure. I have had this procedure 8 times already, and I will have to be drained at least once a week. Without a liver transplant my life expectancy ranges from 6 months to 2 years.

I have spent a lifetime encouraging people to be healthy. I was always the vegetarian, awarded athlete, and enjoyed an active lifestyle. I divorced in 2005, and I discovered alcohol. I still maintained an active lifestyle. I was empowered practicing a fusion fitness Nia Technique, hiking, and running. There was the great administrative job, friends and family... but always a bottle of wine to greet me at the end of the day. In my search to define who I was as a new young woman, I lost myself in the hunt. Until, I did not even recogize my own tracks. Bit by bit my alcohol consumption increased over the years. There were times when I knew I had too much to drink, but I never considered myself an alcoholic. That was wrong.

Like many people suffering with cirrhosis from alcohol, from cancer or from some other reason, the symptoms hid themselves. I thought if my alcohol consumption was too high something else would happen to make me realize I had hit bottom. I certainly never thought my first serious consequence from drinking would be facing ascities, weekly procedures, major surgery, or even death.

I have a wonderful Primary Physician and a Liver Specialist who are taking me through the entire process. I am on a strict low-sodium diet, heavy diuretics, and get weekly blood work done to monitor progress. Liver transplants obviously require sobriety, and this is scrutinized and verified through my Physicians frequently.

Like everyone reading this, I have bills to pay. These don't stop pouring in because I have this issue to address. My Mother lives near me, and has advanced Demetia and Alzheimer's Disease. (also bilary cirrhcosis) I need to be healthy and available to assist in her care. In the recent past, I supported myself as a certified Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitoner. Now, I am unable to work thus have no income and won’t have until I ultimately recover from the transplant procedure. All in all I am told to expect one full year of disability if I can survive.

It is hard for me at only 40 to accept such devastating consequences. And, it is hard for me to reveal to the world that I need help. But I do. I will be forever grateful for anything you can do for me, and trust it will be paid forward 1000 times! If anything, say No to to that "just one more" drink. Please find help if you need it, and begin to cultivate a healthy lifestyle.
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Kimberly Linker 
Mooresville, NC
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