She Came. She Saw. She Conquered.
As a pathology resident at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Annie Laib, MD, specializes in studying human tissue and fluids to determine what causes disease to develop and progress.
In June, after completing her residency at UC Medical Center, she will head to one of the nation’s most prestigious forensic pathology fellowship programs at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City.
Ten years ago, however, Annie Laib wasn’t even sure she’d be able to finish medical school.
Annie and her identical twin sister, Emily, were born with polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition that caused both women to need kidney transplants. In 2008, Emily Laib received a kidney from a family member.
“Her kidney disease had progressed slightly more rapidly than mine, so when she was informed that she required a transplant, she naturally selected UC Medical Center and its excellent physicians,” Annie said. “When I required a transplant the following year, I also selected UC Medical Center due to the wonderful care Emily had received.”
2009 was a difficult year for Annie, however. While awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant, there were days when she could barely get out of bed.
“My life was stuck at a standstill,” she said. “I worked very hard to complete medical school with my disease, but I was unable to make any plans for the future. I was constantly nauseated and weak, and I had significant pain caused by my enlarged polycystic kidneys. I had no energy to be creative or artistic, to socialize with friends or family, or to even perform simple errands.”
The support of her parents, Richard and Kathleen Laib, and sisters Emily and Marie Laib Slater kept Annie moving forward, however.
And then, in February 2010, the generosity of a stranger changed everything. After reading Annie’s story in her church bulletin, Amy Maliborski, a 36-year-old mother of three from Westwood, decided to become a living kidney donor – and she was a match for Annie.
The transplant, performed at UC Medical Center by Dr. Steve Woodle, not only gave Annie Laib her health back, but gave her the freedom to dream about her future again.
“Everyone here has taken such excellent care of me and continues to do so,” she said. “Dr. Woodle continues to take exceptional care of me. He always goes the extra mile to thoroughly investigate any problem I might have, and I truly believe that he is proud of the progress that I have made – not only as his patient but as a physician and pathologist.”
Nearly eight years post-transplant, Laib is in excellent health and continues to be grateful for the generosity of a stranger.
“The living kidney donation I received was not only life-saving, but life-giving,” she said. “My life was unable to have true purpose before my transplant.”
Her experience on the other side of the operating table has also made Laib a more compassionate and dedicated medical practitioner.
“My illness, transplant experience, and recovery have given me vital insight and understanding,” she said. “Every abnormal laboratory value or test that I observe in my clinical pathology rotations are not just numbers to be analyzed, they could represent unknown symptoms that have been altering this patient’s life.”
Now We Join in Celebration
As we celebrate 50 years of providing excellence in transplantation, breakthrough treatments and compassionate coordination of care to the region, we invite you to join us in a 50-day countdown to the anniversary of the first surgery that launched Cincinnati’s most comprehensive transplant program.
For more information about UC Health transplant services, please visit uchealth.com/transplant.