Vicksburg native healthy 20 years after transplant

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Before a 7-year-old Marshelia Mallory was wheeled into her liver transplant surgery, she remembers the doctors telling her parents to hug and tell her bye because they weren’t sure if she would be brought back.

She’s still here 20 years later.

Mallory needed the transplant because of blocked bile ducts. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, once the ducts become blocked, bile builds up in the liver and jaundice develops as a result of increased bilirubin in the blood.

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An hour after Mallory’s birth in Vicksburg, specialists treated her for any defects ahead of sending her to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

“When I was born they put tubes in my ears to drain fluids and with me being a bad baby I pulled the left side out but the one in the right side stayed in and it pierced a whole in my ear drum and gave me hearing loss,” Mallory said.

Prior to her transplant, Mallory said her parents did “exploratory surgery,” which is when they figured out the exact problem. She then saw a specialist in Jackson to no avail and finally went in for the surgery. She recovered quickly in a matter of two months instead of the typical four.

Mallory’s recovery meant being homeschooled by her mother, who happened to be an educator. Her mother treated the homeschooling as any other day beginning around 8 a.m., ended around 3 p.m. and she couldn’t watch television until the day let out.

As she missed school due to recovery, faculty and staff at Bowmar Elementary gave her an engraved Bible, which she’s held on to since.

Mallory had two major incidents after her transplant.

Once when she fell ill, she took cough medicine that contained alcohol and sent her liver’s functioning numbers out of whack.

“With having a liver transplant you’re not supposed to have any alcohol because it automatically goes through your liver,” Mallory said. “Once they figured out what it was and it went through my system everything was fine. The second major incident came when I had walking pneumonia.”

Mallory was on a mixture of medications for her liver, illness and diabetes, and it sent her blood sugar up the charts. After a month, she resumed her normal health, but her liver medication has shut down her immune system.

“It makes you worry a little bit but I just keep trusting God and keep going,” Mallory said.

Throughout the surgeries, Mallory never let her circumstances overwhelm her with negative emotions. Her faith is what keeps her strong but has never let anything hinder her happiness. She’s been told that three days after her transplant, she rode a tricycle inside the hospital as a happy child.

Life for Mallory has been eventful. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Alcorn State University. At Alcorn, Mallory learned how to become self-reliant when taking her medicine.

“I think the hardest thing with college, it wasn’t really dealing with the transplant but it did make me different. By me saying I don’t have an immune system, they put me in a private room. I wasn’t allowed to have a roommate,” Mallory said.

However, Mallory was able to march with Alcorn’s Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite band.

She’s currently working on her doctorate degree in education from Northcentral University online.