Avatar universal

Hector got his liver last night.

Yes, it's on Facebook that he went into surgery at 5 pm and was closed at 11 pm. He did great according to the FB post and now we just have to send him the best healing Karma we can manage.
What truly fantastic news! I don't belong to FB but I think I recall that he told me it was a 36 year old liver prior to surgery. I'm not sure of that but I think it's true. I was just too excited to think straight or hear straight.

Our prayers have been answered.

90 Responses
901131 tn?1293744553
Here is an update on my condition...

This is from Hector (Howie)

I am very happy to have a new lease on life after fighting liver cancer (HCC) for 29 months and being on the transplant wait-list for about 3 years. I still have hepatitis C but I am not worrying about it as I know that with this new liver and the future treatments I will win that fight also. Having gotten a transplant is almost incomprehensible logically as I had failed all standard liver cancer treatments and because of the location of the tumor had made my liver cancer essentially untreatable. I was told by my hepatologist in October I didn't have much longer to live if I didn't get a transplant very soon. Luckily my hepatologist choose me to be her first patient to ever try Cyberknife radiation treatment for HCC which brought my AFP down from 1,240 to 377 (under the 500 limit) which allowed to be put back on the transplant waiting list.

I received my transplant at UCSF on Saturday November 16th evening. My donor was a 36 year old woman who died a cardiac death. I am forever grateful to her and think about her daily. She donated her disease free (no hep b or c or any other factors) to me. After being off the waiting-list most of 2013 because of my untreatable liver cancer (failed 5 HCC treatments) the Cyberknife radiation treatment, which was experimental, finally got my AFP tumor marker below the 500 criteria (377) for eligibility for transplant. When I got back on the waiting-list I had the highest MELD score at UCSF with type O blood, 36. I waited a week and a half before receiving a call from surgeon Dr. Chris Freise Saturday morning (6:30 am) saying a liver may be available for me and that he would update me throughout the day as things developed. Later in the early afternoon he told me that I should plan on coming in at about 5 pm for the surgery. My friend Jim, who received his transplant almost exactly 4 years earlier drove me to the hospital and waited for me to go into the OR. It all happened so fast I didn't even have time to get nervous. The surgery lasted about 6 hours. I was later told that the donor's liver was one of the healthiest my surgeon had ever seen and that as some as the blood flow to my new liver was started the perfusion looked wonderful.

Dr. Roberts said I could go home on Wednesday but my sister needed to purchase my post transplant meds and learn how to test my blood sugar and give me insulin injections so we stayed until Thursday.

By Saturday I was walking without a walker.

After being home for 4 days I developed severe pain at my belly button. Since I had my first lab on Monday I called and setup and appointment to have it looked at. When the doctor looked at the area he said I need to have surgery as soon as could be arranged. The pain was caused by having a hernia that was a complication of my cirrhosis that was now strangling bowel tissue and collateral veins due to the changed volume of my abdomen after my transplant. I had surgery Tuesday afternoon with Dr. Asher and her team. The damaged parts of the hernia were surgically removed. The remaining healthy tissue was then pushed back into my abdomen and the abdominal wall was then sutured together in three layers and a new belly button was created by one of the young surgeons. I was allowed to go home on Thanksgiving afternoon to have Thanksgiving dinner with my sister, who is taking care of me post transplant.

Since I have made very quick progress in my recovery I have had the good fortune of reducing my immunosuppressants (Prednisone 5 mg and Prograf 10 mg per day 2 weeks post transplant).

I am learning to walk further each day and some of the abdomen pain is getting better as well. I will have my first clinic appointment tomorrow and hope that things continue to improve as time goes on so I will soon be more independent and be able to care for myself. That will allow my sister to return to her family and work in .

Tuesday December 3rd – I had my 54 surgical staples removed today and all of my blood tests except for Hemoglobin (10.0) are looking great. The Hemoglobin should improve with time. Platelet count 205, bilirubin 0.6, AST 12, ALT 24.

Very grateful to have a second chance at life.

Thank you all for your support there the darkest hours without the encouragement of family, friends and my medical care givers I never would have been able to accomplish what I have.

901131 tn?1293744553
That's the best news in a very long time. That man truely deserves it. God Bless!!!
Avatar universal
This is great news, wow. I hope this works out
Avatar universal
that is awesome!!!

1084115 tn?1385228589
thanks Mike for sharing.

after all Hector went thru he finally got what he deserves and  fighting for.he never lost he hopes even in the worst situations.
wishing him a quick recovery so can start living a new life.so so happy for him.
Avatar universal
Wonderful news!
317787 tn?1473358451
Thank you so very much for sharing Howie's wonderful news! I am so happy for him.  He is my hero!
I love him very much and am so happy that he will be with us for a long time to come,
Bless you for sharing
5080348 tn?1416844854
GREAT NEWS...!!!!!!
Never met anyone like him in my life.
When the going got tough, he kept getting tougher!
I don't do FB either so thanks and please keep posting for us.

Can' t hardly wait until we get get our first update from him.
{ smiling from ear to ear }
4670047 tn?1375730401
I've never known a person to fight for his life like that!!!! God Bless Hector!!!!!
707563 tn?1587576687
That's great news!

Avatar universal
Thanks for the wonderful news!  Howie richly deserves this second chance at life.  God willing all will go well post transplant and he will have renewed strength to continue his fight for a healthy life.

Avatar universal
Thank you Mike.  That is really great news.

I have another friend who got theirs on thanksgiving.  What a great gift and thanks for the post.
4113881 tn?1415850276
That's great news, thanks for posting this. Prayers that he has a speedy recovery!
Avatar universal
I haven't been on here in a very long time but do stop by every now and then. Hector is the strongest person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.....Thank god he finally got what he has been fighting for all these years. Prayers out to him and his shiny new liver. God bless him!!
1840891 tn?1431547793
Hooray!!!!!!! I'm so happy I could almost float away! I'm hoping he makes a fast recovery and sending lots of love his way.
Avatar universal
What a wonderful news!
Wishing him a smooth, uneventful and speedy recovery.
Such a sigh of relief and so happy for him and his family!
4384361 tn?1399998230
I am happy to learn this FABULOUS news!  
1118724 tn?1357010591
Wow! Best news. HectorSF you know we've all been pulling for you. You're a special guy. Looking forward to updates when you are able. God bless.
2114467 tn?1358210256
Oh happy day!!!!!!
Thanx for the post.
6680297 tn?1384290508
I haven't had a chance to meet Hector on here yet but reading all his post he is amazing in the way he takes time out of his illness and help lots of people here with their problems, God bless him and praying he makes a full recovery..
Avatar universal
Congrats To Howie!

Thanks  for posting Mike

5901196 tn?1395543909
  Thank you for letting us know. I don't know him personally but I read what he writes. Talking to him is better than talking to a Dr.! Do you have his FB page information so that I can go on there? (If it doesn't put you in an awkward position to share that info.)
  Praise the Lord. God bless you Howie. You are SO deserving. You always have time for us newcomers - giving information from your VAST knowledge - even though you had to be feeling bad. You gave from the heart, and I believe, it came from knowing how scary it all is when a person is 1st diagnosed. The good you've done, for so many, has come back on you! I am so happy for you.
Avatar universal
I am not a FB member so I haven't seen the post. Someone told me about it and, though I am not certain of this, the FB page may have been a liver support group. I'm sorry but I just don't know for sure.

Avatar universal
Mike, can you please post this news on the Cirrhosis of the Liver forum as well?  Hector spends a lot of time posting there and has helped many people there as well.
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