Diana Marie Donnarumma, 24, graduated from the University of Miami in 2015. Upon graduation, she successfully obtained a job. Diana’s world came crashing down after she was admitted and spent a month the ICU in Miami. Diana’s dysautomia, autonomic dysfunction, caused havoc on her whole body. Diana was no longer able to keep any food down and was vomiting about 10-30 times a day. She actually popped one of her lungs due to the retching and vomiting. Diana was unable to return to work and her primary physician recommended that she moved back home to get care from her parents.
After being home just a few weeks, Diana was admitted to a local hospital. During her stay at this hospital, Diana continued to deteriorate. She was rushed to the Cleveland Clinic as a inpatient to inpatient transfer and was taken by ambulance. Diana received extensive testing at Cleveland and they found that the reason she kept vomiting was due to the fact that her stomach, small intestine and colon did not have the ability or nerve function to move food through her body. Thus, Diana continued to vomit. Diana was surgically given a G tube, a tube into her stomach to drain or vent the gastric acid, a j tube to try tube feeds and a central line for TPN (IV nutrition). TPN is what keeps Diana alive while she is waiting for her new organs. It gives her vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and any other ingredient that the body needs to survive.
October 10, 2017
It has been three weeks since being on the list. The first week was brutal in terms of anxiety about getting the call. Things are getting better emotionally now, but there is still quite a bit of stress about the unknown. Im praying that the call comes soon.
Thank you for your love and support.
September 21, 2017
As of 4:30pm on September 18, the day before my birthday, I received a voicemail from my transplant coordinator, saying that I was successfully placed on the transplant list for both small and large intestine at Mt. Sinai. During the operation, the surgeons will also remove the area of my stomach that no longer has function.
However, I do believe there is some confusion with when the transplant will take place. An intestinal transplant cannot be scheduled. You could only schedule a transplant if you are receiving organs from a living donor. Living donors can donate: One of two kidneys, One of two lobes of their liver, A lung or part of a lung, part of the pancreas, or part of the intestines.
Although it is possible for a living donor to donate an intestine segment, most intestine transplants involve a whole organ from a deceased donor, like me.
Unos, United Network for Organ Sharing, under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Services & Resources Administration (HRSA), United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains a centralized computer network called UNetSM. Transplant professionals can access this computer network 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The system matches donor organs with recipients based on:
* tissue match
* blood type
* length of time on the waiting list
* immune status
* distance between the potential recipient and the donor
* degree of medical urgency (for heart, liver, lung and intestines)
Once I get “the call” from my coordinator, I will immediate need to head the the hospital. We have already arranged “Wings of Hope” to fly us to the hospital. At the same time one of the transplant surgeons will go harvest the organs. There is a very rigid time frame and I will need to be prepped and in the operating room by the time the intestines arrive.
After the surgery, I will spend about 4-6 weeks inpatient and a few months living near the hospital. The first few months after transplant are critical and we must be very careful that I don’t reject the organ. I will be place on a combination of immunosuppressive medications and need to be careful in taking extra precautions to prevent infection.
This is going to be a long and extremely difficult surgery, but God is faithful and will continue to give me strength. As exciting as it is to receive such a beautiful gift and second chance of life, it is bitter-sweet. When I get the organs, it means that someone lost a love one. It is up to the donors family to receive contact.
But please remember, when I do get the call, the donors family needs prayers , as well, for closure, peace and strength.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Believe me, it has been an emotional rollercoaster but I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends.
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October 11, 2017
Continue to be strong and think possitive love you lots
September 6, 2017
Thank you for your support! xoxo