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I’m a liver (and a fighter)

PV sophomore underwent liver transplant

Hailey+Juillet+had+a+liver+transplant+to+help+heal+her+chronic+liver+disease%2C+PSC.+
Hailey Juillet had a liver transplant to help heal her chronic liver disease, PSC.

Hailey Juillet had a liver transplant to help heal her chronic liver disease, PSC.

Julie Allmers

Julie Allmers

Hailey Juillet had a liver transplant to help heal her chronic liver disease, PSC.

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I remember watching all of my classmates jump up and down at the idea of summer finally coming. Middle school was finally over: no more tests or homework — just a chance to forget your problems and start brand new. Well, little did they know that my summer would be a lot different from theirs.

My name is Hailey Juillet and I am a PV sophomore. When I was 8 years old, I was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. PSC is a chronic liver disease that slowly clogs the bile ducts thus the liver being unable to perform its normal functions.

Imagine explaining to an 8-year-old that they have a chronic liver disease. Let me tell you, it’s not an easy task.

One major side effect of PSC is becoming jaundice, meaning that the eyes and skin were becoming yellow. In middle school, when the side effect first showed up a boy asked me if I only saw yellow. When I look back at my pictures now,my yellow eyes are the only thing I notice.

As I got older, my PSC got worse. Doctors tried different medications and procedures to try to help, but nothing lasted for long. They performed an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography to unclog the bile ducts, and at first it worked.

For a while everything seemed fine. My eyes were back to normal, but the bile came back. The doctors performed another ERCP. However, this time, the ERCP didn’t go as well.

My doctors knew it was time.

In October of 2015, I went to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City for what I thought was a normal checkup.

When my doctor first uttered the words “liver transplant,” I froze. It didn’t seem real.

From that point, a brand new chapter opened up in my life. The next eight months were emotionally and physically exhausting, running from doctor appointment to doctor appointment.

I could have never gone through this process without the support of my family and friends. They are the ones who made me strong enough to know that I can accomplish anything especially something as big as a liver transplant.”

— Hailey Juillet

To get a second opinion, my parents and I went to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York where my father set up an appointment with some of the heads of their liver department.

The doctors at Mount Sinai didn’t treat me like my diagnosis or a lab experiment. Instead of treating me like the only kid in the world who had this condition, they treated me as if they were treating their own child.

I transferred to Mount Sinai. My transplant was scheduled for June 29, 2016, and my mom was going to be my liver donor. My mom risked her health for mine. I’m lucky to have a mom who is as strong and courageous as her.

I was a complete mess on the day of my surgery. Not knowing what the outcome would be was by far the scariest part of the whole ordeal. I had high hopes throughout the process that my family and I would be able to overcome this obstacle.

My mom and I made a full recovery.  The idea of making the tennis team eight weeks after the surgery motivated me to get better as soon as I could. The symptoms I had before the surgery were gone and I started feeling better.

As of now, the surgery has been a complete success.  I made the JV tennis team last year and even moved up to Varsity this year.

I could have never gone through this process without the support of my family and friends. They are the ones who made me strong enough to know that I can accomplish anything… especially something as big as a liver transplant. I’m truly blessed to have my amazing family, especially my mom, friends, and doctors, who have all been there with me every step of the way.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “I’m a liver (and a fighter)”

  1. Karen Kosch on October 4th, 2017 1:38 pm

    Hailey,
    You are an inspiration! In class last year, you never complained, you were always committed to your work and you succeeded in your recovery in a very unassuming, private and humble way. I am so happy for you and your family that you are feeling well, enjoying tennis and making the most of every day.

    Thank you!
    Ms. Kosch

    [Reply]

  2. Julianne Downes on October 4th, 2017 5:28 pm

    Hailey you’re beautiful inside and out! Can’t believe you spent a whole year in class with me and I am just now learning this about you. You are a true inspiration and now I know why you smile every day ❤️💪

    [Reply]

  3. Avery Paulen on October 5th, 2017 7:20 am

    love you hails you’re amazing ❤️❤️

    [Reply]

  4. Mrs Leara on October 5th, 2017 9:38 am

    Dear Hailey,
    You are such an inspiration for others to follow. I remember that year when you were an 8th grader. You persevered through it all, getting good grades, putting in your best effort into everything you did, despite going through all your medical problems. I am so proud of you and always know that you are an amazing young lady!! You can do anything. God bless you.
    Mrs Leara

    [Reply]

  5. Maryann prendergast on October 8th, 2017 12:11 am

    Awesome news!
    I wish you and your mom continued success.

    [Reply]

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I’m a liver (and a fighter)