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Two months post transplant; Nurse says she feels amazing

IU Health University Hospital

Two months post transplant; Nurse says she feels amazing

As a nurse she is familiar with health care. When Jessica Schnur was met with a medical emergency, she traveled from Evansville to Indianapolis seeking the care of IU Health.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

She was a high school soccer and tennis player and enjoyed intramural sports later in life. Jessica Schnur felt perfectly healthy until seven years ago. That’s when she realized something was wrong. She could no longer serve the volleyball over the net.

A native of Booneville, Ind. Schnur worked as an EMT and paramedic after high school. Ten years ago she became a nurse, spending most of her career in cardiac care at an Evansville hospital.

In 2014 she was diagnosed with Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a chronic inflammatory liver disease. Over time, PBC can cause extreme fatigue, itching and darkened skin and dry mouth and eyes. It can also cause confusion. With Schnur, serving volleyball – something she’d done countless time – became unfamiliar.

It was a friend on Schnur’s volleyball team who introduced her to her future husband, Brian. They were married Dec. 30, 2017.

“I had played volleyball all my life and all of a sudden I had to remember the steps. The diagnosis came as a total surprise,” said Schnur, 37. She made her first trip to IU Health in 2014 and met Dr. Marco Lacerda, who specializes in intestinal and liver transplantation.

“Coming from a hospital background I was nervous coming up to a big facility like IU Health. When we first saw Dr. Lacerda he treated me like gold and we felt like I was the only patient he was seeing that day. He reassured me that I didn’t need a transplant at that time,” said Schnur.

Her condition continued to decline and a year later she cut back her work hours. By October of 2020, she was back at IU Health and was listed for transplant. She again met with Dr. Lacerda along with Dr. Chandrashekhar Kubal, and clinical transplant coordinator Mary Althoff.

“Dr. Lacerda remembered us from years before and was so kind in the way he explained the listing process,” said Schnur. Last month when she experienced a critical gastrointestinal bleed, Schnur was admitted to IU Health. On Aug. 13 she received a lifesaving transplant.

“I can’t say enough about the transplant team at IU Health. They are professional in every way. I feel amazing,” said Schnur.

As she continues her healing she looks forward to resuming the activities she loves most – camping, cooking and baking. She also volunteers with the American Liver Foundation as a national patient advocate, talking to members of Congress about funding for education and testing for liver disease. She also conducts online classes about liver health and mindfulness and support for people faced with liver disease.

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