Christy Gildea found out she had cirrhosis on October 2, 2005. It was her mom’s birthday when Christy started to feel ill. She got sick that day, and noticed a lot of blood. She and her husband, Kevin, went to the hospital, and within one hour of being at the hospital, Kevin thought that he was going to lose her in front of his eyes.
Christy fought for her life over the next few days, and the doctors had a grim outlook at first. When she was told it was cirrhosis, one of the first things that she thought of was her husband. She looked at him and said “I understand if this is too much to deal with, and if you want to leave.” She explained to him how it was going to radically change their lives in every aspect, and wanted to warn him of what was to come in the future. To Kevin, he had no future without her.
Christy was told that because of her liver disease, she couldn’t have her dream job of being a police officer, she shouldn’t have children, and also that she may never work again. This could lead to being on short-term and long-term disability for the rest of her life.
Christy is a fighter. She was back to work in January of 2006, working in loss prevention— busting shop lifters. As she regained her strength, she also gained jobs. With a liver that doesn’t function normally, Christy works harder than most healthy people. She works three jobs, and stays busy and active.
Christy fights through the fatigue, the aches and pains, and just keeps going on a daily basis. She became fun, crazy Aunt Christy to four nieces and two nephews, who all adore her. Christy also has a huge support system between family, friends and coworkers. This became very important to her mental and physical health.
This will be the third Liver Life Walk that she has participated in with the American Liver Foundation, and she plans on many more to come.
Christy is not just an inspiration to people with cirrhosis; she is an inspiration to all. To look at Christy, you would never know that she is sick. Medical professionals are marveled at the way she just keeps going. She hears, “As sick as you are, you shouldn’t be able to do some of the things that you do.” Nothing can slow her down! Christy shows people that there is hope, that this doesn’t have to beat you down, and that you can live life to the fullest— sick or not.
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