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John's Liver Donation to his Wife, Christine
John and Christine's Story
We were happily married on Oct 27, 2007 after knowing each other since 1997 in High School. John works for UNICEF in Human Resources and Christine works for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Daytime Emmy).
As a baby, Christine was born with Biliary Atresia. She had a Kasai Procedure performed when she was 6 weeks old which allowed her liver to function normally until recently. She was recently diagnosed as needing a new liver.
As luck goes, John was found to be a perfect match and the living Donor Operation was performed on August 14th, 2008. Her liver functions are very good but unfortunately, there has been some setbacks. Christine has a bile duct leak that needs to be repaired and we are updating this blog daily to share our news and status.
Thank you so much for checking up on us and we thank you all for your support throughout this delicate time.
John and Christine
I could tell you a bit about my experience. It has been over 2
½ months since the surgery. I still remember the day I went into
surgery. Of course, we were very nervous when we checked in early that
morning. I said goodbye to my family the night before since the
operation started at 5am. The surgery took about 6 hrs for me and about
a little over 7 for my wife. I don't remember the first few days and
one day just woke up from a dream. I was lucky enough that they removed
the breathing tube before I woke up. The first week in the hospital was
very tough. My stomach ached, I could not move and I always wanted more
pain medicine. I was very hungry because they only fed through the IV
but could not eat until I passed gas. What a relief it was literally
when I did and was able to eat. I spent 1 week in the hospital and
then sent home. The 1st week at home was very tough as well. I had
pains laying down flat and felt tired and exhausted everyday. The first
two weeks are very hard but it gets a lot easier after that. I took
medicine for about 3 weeks and then stopped. I had my staples taken out
after a month. I basically began healing naturally and now after two
months. I currently don't have many side effects except I get tired
very easily and have a lot less stamina. The Liver scar is very itchy
and something feels like something is trying to poke out. I will
eventually grow back a portion of the liver that I donated. Eventually,
I am supposed to gain back my strength. I am able to have a normal
diet. The donor chances of survival are very high. I think its like 99%
chance success rate so I think your husband has a very good chance.
My wife, who was the recipient, has a harder road to recovery.
My wife's surgery was a success but she had minor complications and
initially spent 2-3 weeks in the hospital. She was then discharged,
stayed with her mom for a week and then came home. Unfortunately, she
began to throw up and was re-admitted back to the hospital after a
month. The doctors realized that she had a small bile duct leak that
could cause long term problems and possibility of rejection if not
repaired. The NYU medical team tried another PTC procedure but it was
not successful. Finally, they were able to transfer us the Lenox Hill
Hospital to Dr. Rosen who has many years of experience with bile duct
PTC procedures and was able to repair it with glue. Currently Christine
has to see him every 1/2 weeks for another PTC procedure. We were told
that these complications will have to be taken step by step for full
recovery. Good news at least, is that the Liver functions are very good
meaning the body is accepting the Liver. The bile duct leak will take
some time to heal. We also found out that after the surgery,
Christine's old liver had some lesions on it which possibly become
cancerous in the future so it was a right decision for the surgery even
with the complications.
Since Christine has a new liver; she needs to take a lot of
medications to stop the body from rejecting the liver. Every day, the
medicine makes her sick, nausea and she seems to throws up at least
once a week. This part is very hard since I have to monitor her Blood
Pressure, Weight, Temperature and check if she has any fever or
problems every day. Any issues, I have to contact the medical staff
immediately. After the PTC procedure, she currently has two drains
connecting from her liver to bags outside her body. We count the bile
output from the drains and show it Dr. Rosen every visit. Many times,
the drain becomes clogged internally and either Christine gets ill or
gets a fever and we have to immediately go in to fix it. Dr. Rosen says
that we will see how it goes every week but by his estimate, hopefully,
Christine can have at least one drain out with in 4/6 weeks.
Christine has a special diet that she has to go on now. No
more Raw Meats. That means no more sushi. Since Christine's favorite
food is sushi, it is a tough thing to give up but she had to give up
her favorite food for a new liver. No more salmon rolls for her. She
has to be careful eating certain shell fish. She has to make sure that
everything is well prepared, meaning no more deli food, salads that
been out too long or meat cooked medium rare. Everything has to be
cooked, well prepared and bacteria free. No grapefruit as well.
© 2008 International Association of Living Organ Donors, Inc.