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Transplant Gives Sick Woman a Second Chance

Updated: Tuesday, September 9 2014, 03:04 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Tiffany Wilson) -- A Kentucky woman gains 50 pounds in a matter of weeks and, by the time she realizes something is wrong, her family is told to prepare for the worst.

It's a story you'll only see on local 12 news.

"Family First."  It's a motto Joan Craft lives by and nearly died by.

She says she didn't want anyone to know she was sick.  Taking care of her elderly in-laws and helping raise her grandchildren left Joan with little time for herself. 

Rather than seeing a doctor about some unexpected weight gain, she ignored the pounds that piled on this summer.

She says, "I had to keep buying jeans, I was swelling up so bad."

By the time she arrived at the University of Cincinnati medical center last month, Joan was critically ill.

Dr. Shimul Shah said, "She was actually in florid liver failure, because of the liver failure, her body shut down the kidneys.  She developed 50 pounds of weight gain that was all water."

Body overloaded, Joan could barely breath.  Two weeks of dialysis helped remove the weight but Joan's liver was destroyed.  She had about a 95 percent chance of dying without a liver transplant.

Patients can wait months for a match.  Joan didn't have that kind of time.  Although she doesn't remember much, Joan knows she nearly died.

Joan says, "It wasn't the pearly gates, it was the rodeo gates.  Father Steffs there and he says no, my husband's there and he says no, Jesus is there and he says no.  And I thought hum, and they all told me bye and I came back."

She came back because a liver matched just three days after her name went on the list.

Doctor Shimal Shah performed the transplant.

Joan considers herself blessed and she plans on making some changes to take full advantage of her second opportunity at life.

VIDEO HERE
Transplant Gives Sick Woman a Second Chance


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