My info to friends and family sent today.
I have a saga to tell...but I'll try to keep it short, especially since I'm sending this to my entire address book and some of you already know what is going on.
Victor Gomez, a long time friend, former Bible School student and current member of our church has had most of his liver removed trying to defeat hepatocellular carcinoma. The tumors have not returned, but the remaining portion of his liver is not large enough to serve biological needs and has not regenerated as livers are supposed to do.
Last March we became aware that he needed a liver transplant. While he has been on the National Liver Transplant Recipient list since that time, the possibility of his receiving a cadaver liver in time to save his life is fairly remote. Doctors at UIC where he is receiving care suggested that they look for living liver donor. Since I am a match, I volunteered, but could not be accepted until I lost about 20 lbs. I tried throughout the spring and summer, but lost only 10 lbs.
Sometime last summer his sister, Charro, from Peru volunteered, had some tests in Peru and came to the U.S. this fall in order to become a donor. I became very concerned about Victor and a couple of other situations at church and began a program of fasting and prayer. Subsequently Charro was disqualified, and I discovered that I had lost the additional 10 lbs. So, again I volunteered to be a donor for Victor.
Finally on Monday, December 7th I started the medical tests to see if I could withstand the surgery. Twenty-five vials of blood, a liver biopsy, a cat scan, MRI, x-ray, EKG, psychological exam, an ethics review, two interviews with surgeons and some miscellany that I have forgotten, later I have been given a clean bill of health and am tentatively scheduled for surgery on December 27th.
Victor is going tomorrow for a physical to be sure he can withstand the rigors of surgery at this point. Assuming that to be the case, he will receive about 2/3 of my liver a couple of days after Christmas. I expect to be in the hospital 4-5 days and recovering at home for another 5 weeks or so. Within 3 months my liver should reconstitute completely. Victor's recovery will be a bit longer since he will need anti-rejection meds and his system isn't as strong as mine at this point.
I really feel at peace about this. It is God-directed. Whatever happens, it was meant to be. I will appreciate your prayers for Victor and me.
The surgery will remain tentative until the incision is actually made. Victor remains on the liver transplant list. Should a cadaver liver become available before the incision is made, Victor will still receive that one instead of mine. If by any strange reason my liver should fail to reconstitute, I become number one on the Transplant List and would receive the next matching liver. Again, your prayers are appreciated.
I'd also apreciate your prayers for my family. While they are all totally supportive and behind, anxiety for them is an inevitable by product of this decision. Pray for God's peace that passes understanding.