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Old 06-16-08, 07:12 AM
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harleyfrog
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Perspectives

Greetings everyone. I've been away for a couple weeks and wish to share some insights I've had as a result. On the morning of June 3, I checked myself into the emergency room after realizing I was passing blood in my stools for at least 12 hours (don't ask why it took me that long before I realized that, denial probably was a large part of it). I thought I was going in because of an ulcerated colon. It turns out that I was bleeding through ruptured varicose veins in my esophagus as a result of stage C cirrhosis of the liver. I had at least six units of blood put into me (maybe as much as eight units, but I was so out of it most of the time I forget which number is correct), several liters of saline solution, Vitamin K, beta-blockers, diuretics, high-potency iron with Vitamin C, and a Nexium-like medication. I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist next week who will refer me to a hepatologist and a liver transplant evaluation.

Before going into the hospital, I was looking forward to a summer of riding to work and saving money for a new bike. Now, things have changed. A new bike is no longer that important to me. To be honest, there were a few moments when I thought (even wished) that I would die. In fact, I got to a point where I was a peace with the idea of dying, although I was still worried that I hadn't provided enough for my wife in case I should die. Now, I am just trying to maintain my current condition until I receive a new liver.

It's sad, in a way, that it came down to this, but, in the end, I'll be a better person because of it. My wife and I have committed ourselves to eating and living better. Less processed foods and more whole foods; more exercise; more quality time together. Sure, a new bike would be nice, but it would not even come close to having a new liver and a fresh start on life.
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Old 06-16-08, 07:27 AM
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Blimey mate well done for still being in the land of the living.

I'm glad that you have been able to make these changes and its great that you have a partner there to share life with. Think how much sadder and scarier it all would have been without your wife.

Good luck with the new start.
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Old 06-16-08, 07:46 AM
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Get well soon.
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Old 06-16-08, 08:05 AM
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Don't give up.

Teddy Roosevelt was born with all kinds of bad disease and was lame as a child. He still went on to be a Rough Rider and hard son of a *****.
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Old 06-16-08, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonahhobbes View Post
Blimey mate well done for still being in the land of the living.
Woot! +1

So, me being ignorant when it comes to certain medical conditions, did they say what caused the cirrhosis?
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Old 06-16-08, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for the kind thoughts and well wishes. I'm not giving up, nor ever will. I've known I had scar tissue on my liver for twenty-five years (I'm 39) and probably had it for over thirty years, if the docs I spoke with back then were correct in their theory of how it happened.
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Old 06-16-08, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by d2create View Post
Woot! +1

So, me being ignorant when it comes to certain medical conditions, did they say what caused the cirrhosis?
Back in 1988 or 89, I went to the University of Michigan Medical Center for tests. The best "theory" they came up with was that sometime when I was about 4 to 6 years old, I must have caught a viral infection (like the chicken pox) and that it made its way to my liver, causing damage before dying out. I do remember having chicken pox about that time, so it's possible that I've been having this condition for 30+ years.
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Old 06-16-08, 02:54 PM
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That is some perspective indeed. It sounds like you have the right attitude to deal well with it, and it sounds like you have some great support from your wife as well. Best of luck and take care of yourself!
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Old 06-16-08, 03:40 PM
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"Don't give up, don't ever give up."
-Jimmy Valvano


Hope you're keeping it real on the coast
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Old 06-16-08, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by regulators View Post
Hope you're keeping it real on the coast
Yeah, but I'm going to miss having oysters on the half shell. At least shrimping season is starting up.
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Old 06-16-08, 04:39 PM
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Life is for the liver!

Glad to hear you're still kicking. I know how you feel, I was in serious danger of losing both my kidneys about this time last year. Life is sweet, keep enjoying it as long as you can.

Keep us posted how things are going.

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Old 06-16-08, 05:03 PM
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Good to see you have a great attitude. That is the number one thing you need for recovery. My father lost his battle with cirrhosis. His liver scarring was "self-induced", and he just gave up. You sound much more positive than he ever did. Best wishes for a full recovery!!!
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Old 06-16-08, 08:31 PM
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Hang in there! Positive thoughts and prayer offered on your behalf. Keep us posted.
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Old 06-16-08, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex G View Post
Hang in there! Positive thoughts and prayer offered on your behalf. Keep us posted.
+1 brother +1
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Old 06-17-08, 12:34 PM
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Best of luck to you, Harleyfrog.

For the rest of us, Harleyfrog's situation might be the impetus you need to sign that organ donor card. They don't grow livers in petri dishes; there's only one way to get a new one, so...
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Old 06-18-08, 07:40 AM
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Actually living donor liver transplants are working (although controversial). The donor donates one lobe of his/her liver. If my dad had more time it was something I was strongly considering. The Lahey Clinic is the closest center to my location.

And yes, making your wishes known (donor card) is very important! Keep strong harleyfrog!
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Old 06-18-08, 09:34 AM
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riddei is correct, you can donate part of your liver (and the liver can regenerate itself), but my GI told me that a partial transplant is usually reserved for "desperate measures" and that a full transplant is preferred.

As for me, I'm feeling better and getting a little stronger despite my lowered blood pressure (the human body is truly an amazing machine). I've lost all the fluids I was retaining (about twenty pounds or two and a half gallons ) and back down to my normal weight. The low sodium diet is going to be a challenge, but since I love to cook, well, let's just say I'll be hitting the local Asian markets this weekend (mmmmmm, Miso ). I also picked up a new vegetarian cookbook and can't wait to try some of the recipes. (I'm not a vegetarian, but my wife is, and whole foods are so much better then processed foods anyways.)

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and prayers, and stay off there.
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Old 06-27-08, 10:54 AM
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*UPDATE*

I saw my GI doctor yesterday. He took me off the diuretics and the iron supplements. He wants to run a celiac sprue screening (which I'll do Monday morning) and will set up an appointment with a hepatologist at Tulane Medical Center. He also said that I can control my condition with diet for years, if not indefinitely, so that's good. Also, no restrictions on exercise except overexertion, stay out of the hottest part of the day, etc.

Overall, I'm feeling better. My body is starting to adapt to the beta-blockers and the lower blood pressure that comes with it. I'll hopefully start riding again, albeit slow and easy at first, within the next week.

Stay safe out there.
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Old 06-27-08, 10:57 AM
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Glad to hear it man, keep fighting the good fight.
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Old 07-29-08, 08:13 AM
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Update: I just got an appointment with Tulane Medical Center's Abdominal Transplant Department for an initial consultation on August 27. I got the letter last night and it send cold shivers down my spine. Thankfully my wife will be with me when I go see the doctor. Talk about getting slapped across the face with the cold, wet herring of reality.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:33 AM
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All kind thoughts and well wishes for you.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:37 AM
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Sorry to hear this. Best of luck!
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Old 07-29-08, 09:53 AM
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Thanks for the kind thoughts. This is just an initial consultation and doesn't mean I will or won't get a liver transplant, but, yeah, it's still kinda scary.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:55 AM
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Get back up and ready to fight, get well soon.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:12 AM
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All the best mate
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