When Carol “Katie” Leister wears her t-shirt that reads “I contain recycled parts,” it’s not just a joke: She received lifesaving liver and kidney donations almost two years ago.
A misdiagnosed infection in September 2020 started Katie’s medical journey. “I became sicker than I had ever been. I was in the hospital once a week having my stomach drained. I saw my primary care doctor and a [gastroenterologist] as well. They said it was my liver.”
A two-week stay in the hospital in Lander led to a life flight to UC Health in Denver. “My family was told several times my kidneys were damaged beyond repair and I may not make it. I had two teams of specialists—one for the kidneys and one for the liver. After one week in their care, I was doing much better than before but was still severely sick.”
She was put on the transplant list on July 9, 2021. A series of near-misses with potential transplant organs later, Katie – and her husband – finally got the gift they had been waiting for: “On August 6, 2021, it was [our] 16th wedding anniversary, I received a call that I was first in line for my transplant. Best anniversary gift ever!” Katie says.
Her successful surgery started at 9:30 am on August 9th, 2021. By 11:15 pm that evening, the doctors called Katie’s family to let them know she had done “remarkably well.”
While there have been ups and downs since the surgery, Katie’s medical teams say “[she’s] a walking, living miracle.”
But the “years of being sick, multiple hospital stays, extreme deconditioning, several setbacks and multiple medications [caused] issues and pain,” she says. “I needed [Physical and Occupational] therapy.” Choosing the expert Physical and Occupational Therapists at Teton Therapy was about more than just “helping me with pain,” they “[help] emotionally, as the camaraderie is just amazing!”
Throughout the month of June, Teton Therapy is celebrating the amazing, inspiring, fun, and funny patients who make our clinics the incredible places they are. Watch this space for more posts about our patients’ success stories, and if you’d like to be one of these stories, schedule your free pain consultation today!