Friday, April 8, 2011

Liver Transplant.... Take 2

Today is the day that the USC surgeons are placing my name on the UNOS list for a second liver transplant. (I'm sorry Nancy (and Sally)... It's not you, it's me... really!) My MELD score is 17, which is actually 2 points higher then when I was transplanted in July. It is somewhat confusing to explain the reason why the second transplant is needed. I am not rejecting my new liver (otherwise an increase of anti-rejection meds would usually solve the problem) Nor is my new liver cirrhotic already (though there is some fibrosis) They have just exhausted all possibilities and my lab results are still climbing. We were hoping that this bili-drain would solve the problem but it has been a few months now and many of my numbers are still about 5x higher then their normal ranges. The good news though is that my numbers were about 10x higher then normal before the tube was placed, so it was part of the problem... and thank the Lord that dropping my bilirubin by half was enough to stop the constant itching!! (Remember that!?!) Those months were torturrrrrrrrrrrrre. But it's not enough, and now Sally is not functioning right, and is already causing daily tummy aches, tiredness, and nutrient absorption problems. (oh my!)
Ok, so back to the bag (my bili-drain) It was supposed to stay in for 6 months. If it was successful in fixing the stricture after the 6 months, they were going to remove it and that would have been that. If the stricture was still there, they were going to perform surgery to remove that part of the bile duct so that I wouldn't need this tube and bag permanently. But the surgery is pretty dangerous, and since I am going to get another transplant (which would fix the problem too) docs said they will not do the surgery... So this bag is probably going to be with me a while longer (wah waah)
As for the transplant... It sucks, but I am far from the first person to need a second transplant. It is nice to finally have a plan though! Something to look forward to. (Not the surgery -- the results of the surgery, GOOD HEALTH!) There is a light at the end of the tunnel (ummm... again, really this time though -hopefully) tehehee. just kidding. I know I sound like I am just ecstatic about this, I'm not. I feel horrible that I have to get rid of this wonderful liver that Nancy gave me. I hate all the tubes in me after surgery (I know that shouldn't be such a big deal, but it is), and once in a while I get a flickering horrible thought of... what if this one doesn't work either? BUT! Then I pick up my bootstraps and remember to have faith. Sally might not have been meant to be my permanent liver, but is giving me time to get the one that will give me a full, long, life. :)
Since it is going to be a deceased donor this time (most likely) I don't know when it will be. USC is transplanting my blood type at about a MELD score of 30... That means I am going to get pretty sick first, but I have no idea how long that will take either. It has taken me 8 months to get to a 17, so if it continues at this rate, it will take about another 8 months at the earliest before I am at the top of the list. It is going to be tough, but it is doable. There is always the option of duel listing in another state. Some are transplanting under 20. It's a thought.
All I can really say right now is ...Dude!

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