2023 National LIVEr Champion—Ana Almonte
Hello, my name is Ana Almonte. My journey living with liver disease started at the age of 18.
My job at the time needed me to do bloodwork. When the results came back, the nurse suggested I see my PCP based on the results and my urine sample. I had a feeling that it might be liver disease since a member of my family just received a transplant at the time and immediately scheduled an appointment at Mount Sinai.
After many tests, it was confirmed that my liver was not well. They did not diagnose me right away because they were not sure what caused my liver disease. They provided me with medication to prolong my life expectancy.
In 2000, I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC). I did my best to live life despite having liver disease. I maintained my health, took my medications as instructed but unfortunately after some time my immune system started dropping.
Through MRIs that were being performed twice a year, it was discovered that I had three aneurysms. My immune system continued to decline and eventually I was put on the liver transplant list. A few years later, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer which caused me to be taken off the transplant list. I received clearance from Memorial Sloan Kettering a few years later and was allowed to be put back on the transplant list.
At the age of 38, twenty years after being first diagnosed, my health was continuing to decline. The team at Mount Sinai shared that along with a new liver, I would also need a new kidney. At the start of 2018, I caught the flu, then pneumonia and almost lost my life. My meld score was at the highest waiting on emergency transplant.
It was a lot for me, my husband and my family to experience. I prayed every day that I would get better but that wasn’t happening. Finally on March 17, 2018, I received my transplants. I will be forever grateful to the donor and their family who donated my organs! Recovery was hard but I am so thankful to say that I am doing much better now.
I will forever be grateful to the team at Mount Sinai, God, my husband, and my family for seeing me through this journey. I live every day to the fullest!
I did my first liver life walk last year. I felt so blessed and thankful walking with others who have similar stories like mine. I no longer felt alone. God willing, I can continue to attend more walks and raise funds to help the American Liver Foundation continue providing resources to the liver community.