A teenager is literally off colour with an extremely rare condition which has left her with YELLOW eyes – and a GREEN liver.
Becky May, 19, first noticed a problem when her eyes went a funny hue and visited hospital every week for six months as doctors tried to work out what was wrong.
Experts discovered her liver had swelled to twice its size and gone green and immediately performed a transplant.
Becky has been told she was suffering from a disease so rare doctors still don’t know exactly what was wrong with her.
Beck said: “I went to my GP about something else but had noticed my eyes were yellow.
“The doctor was pretty concerned that I might have hepatitis and did a blood test straight away.
“I went to a special jaundice clinic where they tried to investigate the most obvious reasons why my eyes might be yellow.
“When they first mentioned the word ‘transplant’ I was terrified. The thought of being operated on freaked me out.
“Because I didn’t really know what was wrong with me I didn’t know if the transplant process would be the same as for other people.”
Finally it was decided that Becky should be put on the organ donor list – and her listing was backdated six months.
She was first listed on December 5 2013, and received a phone call on December 29 to say there was a liver waiting.
Becky said: “The caller said an ambulance would be round in an hour to pick me up, but it was there within 10 minutes. We actually beat the liver to the hospital in the end.
“The liver was split – which means I got the large right lobe and a child was given the smaller left lobe. They both grow to become fully functioning livers.”
Becky was taken to King’s College Hospital, in London, where the seven-hour operation began at 7am on December 30.
Her liver was green because of all the bile she wasn’t managing to process. Becky remained at King’s for 12 days, and then was transferred to Derriford.
She said: “The first few days I wasn’t allowed to get up and couldn’t eat. When someone has a split liver they can’t eat for four days to protect the connection.
“When I left hospital it was a case of trying to get my strength back, but it took me a while because I had lost most of my muscle mass and slept so much in hospital.
“But I realised how lucky I am – I just though that I could be dead – so I’d better get up and do stuff.
“I’ll be on immune support medication for the rest of my life to make sure the liver doesn’t reject, and I have just come off steroids which they give younger people to make sure it doesn’t reject.
“I don’t really know how I managed to get through it all. I wanted to protect my family and friends so I tried not to talk too much about it.
“My friends were 17 when I got ill and I thought that they might not be able to deal with it, but my boyfriend Sam got most of my moaning.”
The bubbly 19-year-old, who will begin a degree at Plymouth College of Art in September, said: “I’m really looking forward to starting at university – this time last year I didn’t think I would be able to.
“I got ill just before my 18th birthday so I couldn’t go out and have a drink to celebrate.
“But I’m never going to be able to do that now, which bothers me, but when you put it in perspective it doesn’t really matter.”
Becky said the experience has inspired her to make sure she has a successful future and doesn’t lead a “mediocre” life.
She said: “It’s more important to me now to get what I want out of life and not just plod along. I don’t want to be mediocre anymore.
“I’m in the process of writing a letter to thank my donor’s family and show them that I’m making the most of it. I’m so thankful – I’m only alive because of someone else.
“And a family that are grieving – that they could think of someone else at that time is amazing.”
Katie Ramos, 35, is a liver transplant and HCC nurse at Derriford Hospital, and has worked closely with Becky throughout her treatment. Katie said: “It took so long to work out what was wrong with Becky basically because she is the first one to have it. We still don’t really know what it is because it’s so rare.
“She has been remarkable the way she has dealt with everything, and the donors should be thanked for their gift to people like Becky.”