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(Please note a "Childrens Organ Transplant Association" account has been set up to help with transplant related medical expenses. Donate here.) www.cotaforrishas.com is where tax deductible donations can be made.Background Story: 1999-2013 Please also view the following LINK: http://cotaforrishas.com/My
name is Risha Shukla. I am a fighter. I have to be. Why? Because, as you’ll see, I fought many battles starting at the age of 3, and am still fighting my way to a life of pain-free normalcy.I am now a teen – and my life-long medical battles would overwhelm most adults. Diagnosed with Idiopathic Chronic Pancreatitis at 3, I have been fighting this incredibly painful disease my whole life, along with putting up with an endless stream of doctors & tests.2004:At 7, I underwent a 12 hour surgery: an auto islet cell transplant, partial pancreatectomy, a cholecystectomy (gall bladder removed), along with the surprisingly rare discovery of a micro-carcinoid tumor. Fortunately, this appendiceal tumor was removed. At 7, I was brave enough to give painful insulin shots to myself! Subsequent years brought on the diabetes management associated with a pancreatectomy, along with a syndrome where I suffer momentary "black-outs" when standing up: a little known disease known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).Because of my experience, I started a non profit organization with the help of my family, called The Kids Who Care Foundation, to cheer up hospitalized children globally. We also provide support to children with pancreatitis on our website. I received several recognitions and awards for the next 7 years. I was also a speaker for Make A Wish and writing for the Teen Huffington Post on behalf of Starlight. I met many interesting people and had some amazing opportunities in life during this time. I also was a GATE/Honors student and did really well at school. 2011:In Dec. 2011, I underwent a 2nd 12-hour surgery (total pancreatectomy with auto islet cell transplant) for the removal of a calcific pancreatic head mass, as well as additional intestinal surgery in Minneapolis (Minneapolis specializes in this type of surgery). This was after being hospitalized for 4 months (Sept. - Dec. 2011) with intense pain, whereby I suffered through 7 surgical procedures to remove a large pancreatic duct stone. I was taking about 15 - 20 pills per day, as well as continuous insulin via a pump on my scarred stomach (my tummy looks like I have multiple train tracks everywhere!). My pancreas and duodenum were removed along with a Roux-n-y surgery. 2012:So, as if that wasn’t enough, during my recovery in 2012, I was newly diagnosed with another rare disease in children (& completely unrelated to my other diagnoses): Addison's Disease (Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency), for which I now take additional medication for the rest of my life. This disease can be critical if my meds are not continually administered. However, I have promised myself to be upbeat, despite dealing with the post-transplant pancreatectomy complications, pain, diabetes, POTS, and Addison's Disease. I was in and out of the hospital with several procedures for the next 6 months before I was diagnosed with a stricture in the small bowels, a complication of the December surgery.Aug. 2012:Due to continual post-surgical transplant complications, I had my 3rd surgery at Keck-USC Hospital to remove a 20 cm small bowel stricture. Along with major GI surgery, my surgeon told my parents that my spleen was enlarged (leading to varisceal bleeding into my stomach), and needed to be removed. We were faced with an extremely difficult decision: keep or remove my spleen, and all it's risks with either decision. So, my spleen was removed (splenectomy) along with celiac gangliatectomy and reversal of the Roux-en-Y surgery from December, hoping that it will help me feel better. I left Keck-USC Hospital in Sept. 2012, but returned back to Keck-USC and mulltiple ER visits over the next two months, due to unknown pain and nausea.Nov - Dec. 2012:With non-stop pain & nausea, I could no longer drive to Keck-USC, so I ended up hospitalized for 3 weeks at Hoag Irvine. Only one blessing was that I did spend Christmas at home with my family. The doctors here found that I had bile in the stomach due to the rerouting of my anatomy-a complication from the August surgery after the Roux-en-Y was reversed. This was causing bile reflux.2013: I still had continual ER visits from January thru February, almost weekly, due to pain, nausea, fever. And, another curve ball thrown at me: My doctor told me that a brain MRI done earlier showed that I have a pituitary microadenoma - basically a small tumerous growth on my pituitary gland, below my brain. If it gets bigger, it can lead to severe headaches, and need to be removed. My doctor said that it's unrelated to all my other GI stuff, and that I'll need to take weekly meds for the rest of my life, to keep it from getting worse. I tried some physical therapy, bio feedback, and other alternative treatments, hoping for the pain to get better. Nothing worked. I got worse. March, 2013:Admitted to UCI Douglas Hospital on March 5 for pain & bile reflux due to my surgically altered anatomy. I was here for 2 months, with one month in ICU - intubated, on a ventilator, under deep sedation. The team was amazing, but I'm a challenge to them, as they try to control my pain, along with my continual bile reflux, dys-motility, diabetes, adenoma. I had several endoscopies here, as they tried to drain my lower stomach of bile. They also put a feeding tube in my stomach along with PIC line to help put on some weight. Surgery was the next step possibly - & UCI transferred me to UCSF, for higher level of specialized critical care for surgery. May, 2013:Transported via Air Ambulance, & admitted to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. I stayed in ICU for a month. I woke up from Coma after a week. I had developed short term amnesia and had forgotten how to write. My finals in Statistics were in 2 weeks and so was the high school exit exam. I was very stressed, but I passed with an A! Because of these medical issues, I was transferred to an online school so that I can study from the hospital. Pacific Coast High school was the best thing that happened. The teachers, the staff and the principal are so caring and understanding. I highly recommend this school for anyone having medical issues. Rhea: My sister Rhea has also been shuffled around the last two years with various friends while we have been in the hospital. The last 3 months, she stayed with our friend Berkels and they have taken amazing care of Rhea. It is now her second home. We can always count on them. This was the best decision as rhea also feels very comfortable with them and will not have to go through another emotional trauma with losing friends at the Ronald McDonald House. Last year, Rhea lost 12 of her friends in just 6 months time at the Ronald McDonald House where we were staying during my surgery. Jun-July 2013: Continued with alternative treatments and stayed out of the hospital for the first time for the longest time: 2 months! I was so excited to get together with some of high school friends who have been there for me during this very difficult and challenging journey.Aug 2013: Back in ER for severe headaches and nausea and abdominal pain. The pain after eating still continues after all these surgeries and treatments, causing 14 pounds weight loss this month. A week later admitted back at UCI for same issue and was sent back home in 2 days with more meds. No answers, once again. I was so looking forward to going back to my Northwood school and spending the senior year with my friends and taking college classes at the same time. I am not sure any more if that will happen as things are getting worse again. I am really hoping I can go to school. I miss that so much. I also am ooking forward to completing my Gold Award with Girl Scouts this year.
2014: A year of excitement with many colleges to choose from such as UC Berkley, UC San Diego, UCLA, USC, Clarenont McKenna , and more. Started at UCLA in molecular cell developmental biology with Pre-Med track.