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Overcoming a Rare Condition - Jennifer Powell's Transplant Story

Overcoming a Rare Condition - Jennifer Powell's Transplant Story

By Your Health Staff
Posted: April 4, 2024

“My future is mine again.”

In the back of Jennifer Powell’s mind, the 40-year-old didn’t think she’d make it to her golden years with her husband. She was born with a rare condition that caused a blockage in the ducts that carry bile from her liver to her gallbladder. As a baby, she underwent a procedure as a temporary fix to her bile duct system.

Jennifer's Journey

When she became an adult, she knew a liver transplant was inevitable. Most people who face a similar diagnosis need a transplant in their twenties – but not Jennifer. She persevered through her health challenges and, in a twist of fate, chose a career as an ICU nurse. The woman who spent days at a time hospitalized and fighting infections from a rare liver disease would dedicate her life meeting the needs of the most vulnerable patients.

Eventually, her body could not keep up.

“My husband was really, really worried about me... I had lost a lot of weight and just wasn’t looking healthy,” said Jennifer. “My quality of life was pretty bad at that point.”

Her doctors said it was time to get on the transplant list. About a week later, she was scheduled for her surgery at the Methodist Transplant Institute.


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Life After Transplant

That’s when the trajectory of her life changed. She underwent a liver transplant procedure to save her life. As an ICU nurse, she knows the intricacies that are required for a successful surgery.

“The whole process actually went smoother than I had anticipated. My recovery was pretty uneventful. I didn’t really have any complications,” said Jennifer.

She credits the “awesome” Methodist staff for making the entire transplant process a lot easier.

“It wasn’t just the nurses and doctors, it’s definitely been the office staff and phlebotomy and everybody who has been great,” said Jennifer. “They were just super attentive and knowledgeable. I'm a CV [cardiovascular] ICU nurse. I've worked in cardiac, I don't work in transplants. They were extremely knowledgeable about the transplant process and very, very good about translating that information to me. A lot of people are knowledgeable but they’re not good at translating that for other people. That was definitely important.”

When asked what this life-saving procedure means for her, Jennifer said it’s about two things: her family and her career.

“This means a longer life and more energy during my life to do the things that I want to do. I was worried I would have to quit nursing because of my energy level and now I can continue to help other people because of this. I wasn’t sure if I was going to live into old age. So now I’ll be here for my husband.”

Learn more about the Methodist Transplant Institute.

Learn More