By Josh Saunders
A transplant seeker known as ‘the sickest woman in America’ – who dismissed her liver failure as tiredness due to turning 30 – has now been dubbed ‘the Bionic Barbie’ after making a miraculous recovery.
Christina Ferrara, 31, from Tampa, Florida, USA, was told by doctors that she would ‘die this weekend’ after they discovered her liver was shutting down.
She had believed her symptoms were due to ‘getting older’ after hitting her 30th milestone last year before her drastic deterioration left her unable to recall what year it was or the name of the current US President.
Following the perilous prognosis, Christina was rushed to hospital put into a medically induced coma after her brain began to shut down.
Doctors declared her the ‘sickest woman in America’ – with her being bumped to number one on the US liver transplant list and then the top worldwide.
Fortunately, she sprung back to life after the fourth organ she was offered was a perfect match and recovering so quickly she’s since been dubbed ‘the Bionic Barbie’.
Christina, an assistant manager, said: “I thought it was just a cruel welcoming to my 30s.
“I thought the tiredness was due to my age and working over 40 hours a week – trying to maintain my work and social life.
“But I was very jaundiced and suffering high enzyme levels, when my doctor looked me over he told me I had to be admitted into hospital and that I was not going to live until the weekend
“All of the extreme symptoms I was told to watch out for had happened within 16 hours, it was the most rapid case doctors had seen.
“They would asked me questions like, where I was and who was the President. I got them all wrong. I even thought it was 1997. All I knew was that I was scared.
“When I was rushed into ICU, my ammonia levels were so high my brain was shutting down, the toxins in my body were so high from my liver leaking.
“I was number one on the Florida transplant list and 12 hours later took over the top of the world list – I was deemed the sickest woman in America.
“There were three livers that I couldn’t accept – one was too big, one too sick and the other too old – but on the fourth day I had a perfect liver presented to me.
“It was literally a miracle, as soon as I put it in it was like the batteries were back on.
“I have been called the ‘Bionic Woman’ and ‘Bionic Barbie’ – I have no metal parts but it’s because of my life and energy.
“The transplant team was amazed at how I popped back to life from new liver so fast.”
Christina initially dismissed the symptoms she was unaware could be linked to liver failure for more common occurrences.
She experienced bleeding gums which she put down to her toothbrush, thought her darker urine was from needing to drink more water and believed her extreme tiredness was due to her age.
Now the 31-year-old, who has made a near-full recovery, urges others to register on the organ donor list.
Christina said: “Eventually I went yellow from head to toe.
“It was like someone took a highlighter and coloured me in, I was so tired I was trying to drink as much coffee as possible.
“If my donor did not choose to donate their organs I would not be here right now.
“I needed a specific liver, the person who registered was my guardian angel.
“You can’t take your organs when you go, so save a life and spread love.”
Despite her near life-ending experiences, Christina remains upbeat and determined to make the most out of life.
She said: “I take medication every day to stop my liver from rejecting, I have a high risk of skin cancer, and can’t eat foods like sushi because of the potential bacteria.
“But my life has been amazing since coming back, it has made me re-evaluate the things that are important to me.
“My mom jokes that I always wanted to be number one and for a week, I was.”