In Your Area
American Liver Foundation
New York, NY 10006
My journey with liver disease began in 1994 when I was given a tainted blood product to treat an inherited immune deficiency. I developed severe hepatitis C. I recovered from this acute attack but still struggle with chronic hepatitis C. Treatment has not been successful for me, and I now have cirrhosis. Someday soon, I will have to face a new round of difficult treatment. I have seen this difficult drug regimen help so many others. We're making progress! My Brother has this condition too. I pray that one day, we will both be cured.
In 2005; I woke up with a fever when I looked in the mirror I was shocked to see that my skin had turned a deep yellow. When the local hospital was unable to diagnose me, I was ambulanced to Columbia Presbyterian and was lucky enough to be admitted the night a specialist in Wilson's disease was on duty. Wilson's is a rare congenital condition in which the body is unable to metabolize copper, leading to build up in the brain, kidneys, or in my case, the liver. My liver was scarred beyond repair and that I would need a transplant. At this point, I was on life support and had very little time. As a result, my dad went through the series of tests required of possible living donors in the event that a cadaver liver did not become available.
Just six days after I was initially admitted to the hospital, we both underwent surgery. My Dad’s recovery went well. My recovery was much more difficult, and I was not discharged until mid-December. Nevertheless, although both my doctors and family advised against it, I returned to college in February for the spring semester. I continued with my coursework throughout that semester and afterward catching up to the rest of my class so that I was able to graduate on time. Since then, I have continued on to complete my Master’s Degree in Education, and have worked both as a classroom teacher and environmental educator.
I never would have thought it was possible that I would one day enter a bike race with someone who had given me half an organ. But, you never know where life will take you and I am so honored and excited to have completed a 42 mile bike ride with my amazing DONOR and father to support the American Liver Foundation
I was born with biliary atresia, a liver disease that occurs because there is a blockage in the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. My parents were told that I would eventually need a liver transplant to live. At 6 weeks of age, I underwent an operation to delay the imminent damage to my liver. After the failure of this operation, my mom, Heather, was tested to see if she could be a living donor, but the doctors said they could only use her liver as a last resort. I was put on the donor list, and, thanks to another family’s heroic decision to donate their loved one’s organs, I received my new liver at Mt. Sinai Hospital when I was 6 months old. While I still need to go to the doctor often and have to be careful, I am healthy!
In September 2011, I was diagnosed with a digestive disorder known as Hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is an inherited digestive disorder that causes the body to retain excessive amounts of iron. This iron overload can lead to serious health consequences, most notably cirrhosis of the liver. On December 23,2011 (just 3 months later) I was diagnosed with HCC (Hepatocellular carcinoma). Given the location of the cancerous lesions, doctors informed me that an immediate liver transplant would be my only chance of survival. After speaking further with the doctors at Mt Sinai, I was informed that the transplant waiting time in the New York region would be too long to wait (9 months –1 year). The doctors explained that there were other regions in the US that had much shorter wait times and that given the circumstances, these options should be considered. This would mean I would have to consider leaving my wife and four children. This would certainly prove to be one of the hardest decisions I would have to make. After much consideration and with the help of the doctors at Mt Sinai, my wife Kim and I flew to Memphis, Tennessee to meet with the doctors at Methodist University Hospital (MUH). After meeting with doctors from the Methodist University Transplant Institute, I returned home, packed my bags and headed to Memphis Tennessee in hopes that a transplant would happen soon. Over the next few weeks, my health severely declined. Without a transplant, my life was in jeopardy. On March 21st (just 6 weeks later) the call finally came and on March 22nd I underwent a liver transplant. I am grateful to be honored by the American Liver Foundation.