Living After Liver Failure

On February 6th 2017, I was rushed to the hospital in a state of total shock, rapidly losing consciousness upon arrival. I suffered acute fulminant liver failure a rare condition with sudden onset despite no pre-existing liver disease, life-threatening complications including in my case, encephalopathy ,and a morbidity rate of 80%.  Shortly after admittance, I fell into a coma with slow brain-wave activity, in the intensive care unit, on life-support for several days.  When my partner Michael paced the ICU desperately seeking  a prognosis, a doctor told him, “It looks grim. She’s one of the sickest patients in the hospital.” It was so unlikely that I would survive that transplant was not an option.
Undergoing an aggressive, high-risk multimodal emergency intervention, I spontaneously regained consciousness several days later, around Valentines Day, to the sight and sound of Mike over my bedside, welcoming me back, radiating pure love. I was delighted, but utterly incapacitated, completely  immobile and disoriented, my feable body protruding with tubes. I could hardly strain a puny wrasping whisper from my airways scorched by the ventilator that had been breathing for me, along the other machines that had been doing the work that my vital organs could not. Mike stayed by my side in the hospital twenty four hours a day for over a month, always with me, as I was confined to my bed, clinging to life. 

When I was released with total uncertainty in March, I was unable to walk or stand up for even a few short steps without the aid of a mobility device, with Mike always spotting me ( to this day) and especially around the clock while I could not walk or move without great effort on my own through April. 

Since then, I have undergone ten months of rigorous treatment, heavy medication, constant medical appointments, specialist visits and seemingly countless tests to closely monitor the severity of the illness and it’s progression. In June, my Hepatologist (a leader in his field) informed me that most patients admitted to the hospital that are diagnosed with acute fulminant liver failure die within 120 days. I was cautioned then that I may not survive for even a year, let alone recover full faculty.

I have upcoming appointments to find out the latest, and if I am improving. It is a miraculous blessing that I am very close to seeing my 33rd birthday on Wednesday, November 29th! I am so thankful for each moment and hope with all my heart and soul that I survive to see many more...

I am calling upon you dearest friends, family, colleagues, loved ones near and far; most of whom I have seldom seen this year, or in many years. I miss you so very much and wish to see you again.

 I am 100% committed to my health, investing fully, mind body and spirit in healing and wellbeing. I adhere to a meticulous plant-based, nutrient dense superfood diet, eliminating alcohol, processed foods and unhealthy fats, adding only the best ingredients to support recovery and help my body to grow stronger. Along with the power of modern medicine, the daily self-healing  practices that I share with my partner Mike, include Reiki, meditation, yoga, journeying outside in nature when possible, and for the recent opportunities to volunteer therapeutically in helping care for three baby goats, assist in nature education for K-12 kids and guide tours of the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, stumblingly try to grow an organic garden this past summer, and cooking at home with Mike, I am proactively striving to live and get well.

 I am alive at this moment and I could not have made it this far without the unconditional love and unceasing support of my best friend, soulmate, and partner of over 10 years, Mike Lowenstern. I look forward with highest hopes for recovery, to our 11-year anniversary this upcoming March of 2018.  He deserves more than an award for sticking with me through all that we have gone through, and I wish for us to be able to do something fantastic this year, as I was unable to dance this past year.

These 10 months have been the hardest struggle on all levels that I have endured. The ongoing devestating threat to my physical body, the overwhelming emotional agony and insurmountable financial burden due to lost wages, medical expenses, unpayable bills has further compromised the continuing struggle to survive, and placed impossible obstacles in my path to recovery. We have fought tirelessly to barely scrape by, with basic needs in jeopardy. The impact of my condition has brought us to the brink of financial ruin, and this has in addition, taken a grave toll. Due to my condition, I have been totally unable to return to work, while Mike cares for me full-time, and we are otherwise unsupported, with the looming cost of living becoming totally unaffordable, even for our most basic necessities: Rent, utilities, clothing, high quality food, medications, co-pays, healthcare provider’s bills even with insurance, transportation and essential personal care items are all but out of reach- and bills keep coming. These unconscionable conditions are unbearable stressors, directly impeding any hope of recovery and wreaking havoc on each precious present moment. The dream of better health is impeded by this hampering burdensome nightmare that comes along with debilitating illness.

We both so dearly wish we could just return to our careers- if only it were so. We have decided to spend the rest of our lives together, but yet we do not know what will become of us, or our future family.

At this time, I ask for your support. Please help me in my arduous battle to live, by helping me reach my goal. My most auspicious dream is to imagine surviving and perhaps even someday thriving. Your generous donations will help make this possible, as I fight the good fight. With deepest gratitude I am requesting your contribution as a gift to aid me in fighting for survival. Your donations toward my goal mean the world to me and to Mike. I know we are not alone. Please help me live each moment that I am granted with greater peace, grace and ease.  Thank you all so very much.

With immense love,
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Katie Rohrer 
Somerville, MA
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