Just a quick update to any "old" buddies from the past who were so supportive. I had cleared the virus in '07, had a couple good years, but last fall two bouts with infections and a very bad fall (massive hematoma) set me into end-stage liver disease. My cirrhosis was too far along to recover. Had liver and kidney transplants in Feb. at Northwestern in Chicago. Last week I elebrated with all the wonderful surgeons, hepatologists and RN's down at Kovler Clinic as we crossed the 6 month survival mark. So, in the end I was blessed to be listed quickly and get the offer in time. And Northwestern is amazing in every way (they have now performed 1,150 liver transplants).
Very long story "short"; my liver failed quickly and I had only begun the process to get on the list, so my doctors had me transferred to NU and put through the screenings in a few days. My MELD went from 16 to 40 in the 3 weeks I waited for an offer. The day before the transplant (had 2 other offers that did not fit for me) the surgeon said I was one of the sickest people in the hospital - said to my family as I was full HE unaware of anything. Another day or so may have been de-listed, so God was on my side, but very close. Being so sick, hepatorenal syndrome shut down the kidneys and so received both the liver and kidney from same donor. It all this was not enough, my heart rhythm went crazy and I developed bradytachycardia and bought a pacemaker! Having been so sick, I spent 2 months in the hospital, 6 weeks in-patient rehab next door, but now in the second month of day rehab and have been home IN MY GARDEN!
LFTs and kidney function doing well, though had a couple ERCPs to clear bile duct that set me back also, but docs are optimistic and I struggle day to day to get stronger. I've been walking again with a cane, but still very weak and de-conditioned, but improving steadily now. Therapists tell you it is 3 times the hospitalization period to get close to normal, so that would be 9 or 10 months. I read a great interview with Gregg Allman and he relayed how each day you don't feel any progress, but in the few days and weeks begin to measure recovery. And I was way sicker than Gregg.
Anyway, next month my favorite niece is getting married and I plan to dance (slow dance) with her new husband at the reception! There were many days my family was unsure I would see that day.
Take care and God bless,