I am Art Clark. My journey into the world of liver transplantation began in March 2007 with an esophageal bleed. I was admitted to the hospital and after tests my wife and I were told that I had liver cancer and would need a liver transplant due to inoperable cancerous tumors.
Based upon the size of the tumors we were informed that I would not live long enough for a UNOS quality liver and chose the expanded criteria option. After meetings with the hospital's liver team and receiving chemo embolizations to control cancer growth I was listed for transplant in September 2007. Before transplant I received four calls, two where the liver was ultimately deemed not suitable. The third call was almost a go. While being prepped for transplant we were notified of an urgent need for a liver to save a seventeen year old who would die within hours without a transplant. I was told that the liver was mine and it was my decision to continue with transplant preparation. I relinquished the liver and we left the hospital. On December 22nd, seven weeks later the fourth and final call came. I received the liver of a 74 year old man from North Carolina. My transplanted liver which is 11 years older than me has functioned perfectly. I returned to work 4 month after transplant but decided to retire early and enjoy life. In June 2010 after reviewing a routine CT we were told that there was a spot on my lung. Future CT's showed that it was growing and in September 2011 I had lung surgery. Tests confirmed that liver cancer spread to my lung. I was prescribed a regimen that included an experimental infusion and the only available FDA approved chemo drug. The drug hit me with severe side effects and discontinued. Alone the experimental infusion did not work and I was removed from the study. The chemo drug was tried again and growth was controlled but had to stop due to side effects. At my request, knowing the side effects, I asked that the drug be administered again. I did not want to stop using the drug, waited too long before informing the oncologist of it's side effects and in December 2012 had to be hospitalized. Since then my only prescribed drug is an immune suppressant to prevent organ rejection. I am stable. The tumors have not grown and may have been beaten by the chemo drug. The drug had such a horrible effect on me that hopefully it had a greater effect on the cancer. I received word the day before I wrote this column that my latest quarterly CT, MRI, and bone scan show that the tumors are stable and contained. Stable is good and all that I can hope for. After I retired I joined a gym and exercise several times each week. I feel great. Since 2008 my family and I have participated in each New York liver life walk and have also walked in the Stamford liver life walk since its inception.
To join Art, his family, and many others like them register for the Liver Life Walk today!
This is New York Presbyterian Hospital Team Gratitude’s 13th year participating in Liver Life walk. Team Gratitude has distinguished themselves by being both the largest team participating and the highest fundraising team. Not only locally but surpassing all our walks around the country. In the last four years alone they have raised more than $100,000. We thank them for their contributions and enthusiastic participation.
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