Well, it has now been a little over eight weeks since Mayo took my old liver away (Hey! Where is it?) and put a large hunk of a dear friend’s liver in... Read full post »May 23, 2014
Yesterday I had been home from the hospital for two weeks. My transplant surgery was four weeks and three days ago. So...how are you? Not yellow! My... Read full post »May 03, 2014
Wow! Ten days have passed since I was wheeled into the Mayo operating room for liver transplant surgery. What has happened? I am still in the hospital,... Read full post »April 22, 2014
Transplant was successful. The donor and Rick are both out of the operating room and recovering in the ICU. The operation was straightforward and there... Read full post »April 21, 2014
Here's the news on Rick: Surgeons performed an exploratory staging surgery today examining the lymph nodes in the abdomen. There were no microscopic signs... Read full post »
Generosity and Gratitude
Gratitude party set for July 6th 4:00pm to 7:00pm!
Rick and Carol will be hosting a "Gratitude Party" on Sunday July 6th. "We have a lot to be grateful for," said Rick. "But don't we all? Lets everybody put all their gratitude together and see what happens!"
"Sure, my circumnstances are unusual," Rick continued. "And I am super-duper grateful for the many many people, and all the acts of kindness that have supported me and my family! My living donor is a prince! My wife Carol has been caretaker extraordinaire for seven months! Hundreds all people have prayed for my healing, sent words of encouragement, and brought countless meals to our doorstep. Fantastic!"
"On the other hand, the bird song I hear is the same bird song we all hear. My blue sky is our blue sky. The life nurturing sunshine and gentle rain fall on us all. Friendship is a blesing for each of us. In the most important respects, are we not all blessed in a similar way?"
"I hope this Gratitude Party will be a time for us all to appreciate the blessings of life: a breath of fresh air, a walk on the grass, a friendly encounter with a new friend. The riches are all around us."
Rick was diagnosed with a serious cancer this past December. The cancer is located in his liver bile duct and is called cholangiocarcinoma. He recently completed radiation and chemotherapy treatment at the Mayo Clinic, as part of a therapy plan that includes a liver transplant. Liver transplant is the only therapy that results in long-term survival.
Rick is now registered on the national liver transplant list. There are currently about 16,000 people awaiting liver transplant in the United States and each year only about 6,000 livers become available from deceased donors. A deceased donor liver transplant means Rick would need to wait 15 to 18 months on the national transplant list before a liver becomes available.
The lack of available livers for transplant presents a real challenge for Rick, since he has an aggressive cancer that is known to spread quickly. For that reason, the physicians have emphasized the advantages of a so-called â€śliving donorâ€ť for Rick. A living donor surgery could be scheduled much sooner.
In a living donor transplant, one-half of the donorâ€™s liver is removed for benefit of the recipient. Amazingly, each half of the liver then regenerates to 90% of its original size. This is a major surgery for both donor and recipient, and presents risks to both. Mayo Clinic is a leading liver transplant center and has had excellent success with living donor transplants. Most often, donors are hospitalized at Mayo for about a week, and take six weeks for full recovery (although complications can occur).
There are many factors that Mayo uses to evaluate potential donors and many are rejected. After preliminary questioning, significant testing on potential donors is required to ascertain a complete health assessment. In the most general terms, donors must be in good health and between age 18 and 60, have an emotional connection to Rick, and have a compatible blood type. A blood type of O or A-2 (not A-1) is compatible.
Anyone who is interested to learn more about the living donor program is invited to call a special program at Mayo Clinic, especially designed to assist potential liver donors in a strictly confidential manner. Information gathered at the living donor desk is not shared with Rick, his family or his medical team.
If you would like to know more, call the Mayo Living Donor Liver Transplant Desk at 866-227-1569.