PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Imagine staggering around and passing out on a daily basis, it’s so bad that your family thinks you’re on drugs.
It happened to a central Pennsylvania teenager.
Sharon Salyard was forced to live with the condition for years.
“My birth mother thought that I was on drugs and I needed to go to rehab and stuff like that,” Sharon told WTAJ-TV.
So she was sent from South Carolina to live with her father and step-mother Lisa Hale in Blair County where the strange behavior continued. “It would be like she would get up and you could see her staggering as she walked away,” Lisa said.
It wasn’t until her family brought her to Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital that doctors found out what was wrong.
Extensive tests uncovered a rare genetic disorder, ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency or OTC. Sharon’s liver didn’t process protein correctly so ammonia build up in her blood stream which acted as a toxin, that lead her brain to swell.
Sharon underwent liver transplant surgery at Children’s Hospital in March.
Now home, she tells WTAJ-TV: “I feel amazing. I don’t know all the words to describe it.”
Sharon’s hoping to go back to school as soon as possible.