Jennifer Andreas moved to Dallas from New Mexico in June, not for a job or for the cost of living, but to save her life.
"I've been told many times by doctors that I wouldn't survive," Andreas said. "I'm here today because of it."
Andreas had a rare liver disease and auto-immune issues that complicated her case. She said there wasn't a medical facility in New Mexico equipped to handle it.
"I have to be very candid that in another era, in another location, those issues would be enough to say we probably should not go ahead with the transplant," said Dr. Giuliano Testa, Chief of Abdominal Transplant at Baylor University Medical Center.
So Andreas moved with her family from New Mexico to Dallas to be closer to specialized doctors and surgeons at Baylor University Medical Center.
"The writing was really kind of on the wall," Andreas said. "I didn't have a choice if I wanted to live."
Her team of doctors at Baylor University Medical Center got Andreas well enough to stay on the transplant list, and in September 2021 she underwent liver transplant surgery.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Testa, said it was one of the most complicated liver transplant cases he's ever seen.
"It's really phenomenal for me to look back and see how we have evolved," Testa said. "The patients who come here, they don't look terrified as they looked 25-years ago because this has become, not mainstream, but people know if you have end-stage organ disease you can have a transplant and be well."
Today Andreas is on the road to recovery.
"It makes me feel proud," Testa said. "There is a lot of rhetoric behind we are saving lives. There's a lot of drama in it. In a way, the beauty is to be able to provide with simplicity a very complex delivery of care."
Andreas said she's planning to stay in North Texas. She said she's alive today because of her faith, her will to live, and her Baylor University Medical Center doctors and surgeons.
"They saved my life," Andreas said. "Take time to be happy, because you never know when your time has come."