It was into my second year of marriage, in September 2002, that I began to get sick. My symptoms started with swelling and soreness in my lower right abdomen.. I was hospitalized in LIJ in January 2003 for a week, and immediately transferred to BIMC, where I remained until May. They were very dark days, and I spent five months transferring in and out of the ICU.
In May, I was recommended to Dr. Hillel Tobias and Dr. Lewis Teperman and transferred from BMIC to NYU Langone Medical Center. After tests, it was diagnosed that I had Autoimmune Hepatitis (a chronic disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the liver and causes inflammation and liver damage). It was determined in mid-May that a liver transplant was imminent. Also at this time, it was found out that with a B-positive blood type, my best chance for survival would be a living donor transplant, and my chances of survival very slim.
My brother Jonathan was a perfect match. The surgery was set for September 11, 2003. As the time drew closer, my health continued to decline, and my contraction of pneumonia the Friday before the surgery seemed devastating. Dr. Teperman and the transplant team realized that the window was closing and the necessity of the transplant was vital.
After a sixteen hour surgery on that fateful day, we were both taken up to the ICU at which point I was taken down to the OR again for another three hour surgery. It wasn’t until five days later, when I woke up, we realized the transplant had been a complete success.
I had always felt so secure and safe in Dr. Teperman’s hands, and it was because of him that I never had a doubt in my mind……and I am here today feeling healthier than I’ve ever felt in my life, and with such a long list of people to thank.
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