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Jennifer: A couple of weeks ago my son told me, Mom, since your eyes are yellow do you cry yellow tears? And my mom's like, "You do," because I guess I was crying and my mom wiped them and they're yellow tears.
Dr. Tarek Hassanein: Jennifer was born with a genetic defect in her liver — Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency.
Hey, Jennifer, how are you?
Jennifer: I was diagnosed six years ago. They told me I had a terminal illness.
Dr. Hassanein: The liver produces certain proteins to protect our body. In her case the liver is not producing these proteins. She developed end stage of liver injury.
How's the pain?
The patient's body cannot tolerate that degree of liver dysfunction and the patient ends up dying.
Jennifer: I have so much gratitude to him. Every time that I've been so close to death he's pulled me out.
Dr. Hassanein: When the swelling gets down, the healing gets better. When the liver is not working, the body swells.
Elizabeth: My mom's been sick since I was in third grade. I remember the day she got diagnosed. We have a joke that my mom comes to visit home. She doesn't visit the hospital [laugh].
Jennifer's Mom: You look beautiful as ever.
Jennifer: Thank you.
Elizabeth: There's been a couple times where my grandma thought it was the end, that it was all gonna end.
Dr. Hassanein: The liver has a capability of regenerating. In her case, the problem is even the new cells have the same genetic defect.
Jennifer: Prognosis is you live about five, six years. I really don't know what it is to be normal, not to have pain or nausea.
Dr. Hassanein: A new liver would fix the problem.
Michelle: She's in need of a transplant and we all pray and hope for her every day that she gets that in time.
Dr. Hassanein: We have this new treatment, albumen dialysis. They call it MARS, molecular adsorbent recirculating system. Now we can remove a lot of the toxins that the liver should be removing.
Nurse: Hi, Jen.
Dr. Hassanein: MARS can buy them time till they get their transplant.
Elizabeth: Maybe I'll get my mom back like normal, the way she was before she got really sick.
Dr. Hassanein: A healing environment is not only giving medicines or doing procedures. It is all aspects of patient's well being, nutrition, mobility and improving the environment around them, make them less anxious.
Elizabeth: My grandma calls him a big teddy bear because he's so sweet, but he's still like, manly.
Kathleen: We incorporate a lot of different therapies such as music therapy, aromatherapy, massage therapy.
Colleen: We're not just taking care of a single patient. We're taking care of that patient and their family, their parents, their children, because the whole family's affected by what we do here for that one patient. The outcome will change the course of their life.
Michelle: We've shared a lot of her ups and downs with her. The nurses and all the staff, we've seen her at her worst. And really her attitude and her spirit is a gift to us.
Jennifer: At no time do I feel sorry for myself, I can either let this get me down or I can continue with my life.
Dr. Hassanein: She's fighting her disease and our commitment to her is to get her to the transplant.
When she got the transplant her daughter was the happiest person on earth.
How are you? Look at this...
Pam, RN: I didn't know you could turn her into a beautiful young woman again. You do her hair, too?
Dr. Hassanein: The liver is perfect. The liver is working very well.
Margie, RN: Unbelievable.
Dr. Hassanein: Getting our patients to do well is the most satisfying thing in our career.
Tina, RN: Holy ****, I didn't even recognize you. Oh my gosh. Can I have a hug. You look great!
Dr. Hassanein: You know, you went through a long phase of being sick, now it's a new life.
Jennifer: I think I'm finally getting to a point where I'm going to be able to be a mom again. Like today she has my shoes on. And I was like, Elizabeth are those my shoes?
Elizabeth: She weighs less than me now. She's looked in my closet a couple of times and I'm like...hmmm, no [laugh].