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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.

Mike
Best Answer
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.

Howie
90 Responses
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1431734 tn?1421011671
back for a quick visit and your good news reminds me of the miracles we hear lately in the hep c world. i am so happy for you. a second chance well deserved. enjoy, best, babs
Helpful - 0
446474 tn?1446347682
Thank you!
I am recovering well know to 5 weeks. I haven't felt this good in years. It was all so worth it. Every day of life is a gift that I am extremely happy to have.

I am so happy and grateful to all the people that help me to make it to and through transplant. My donor whose liver is now inside of me is the greatest gift of all and I am going to take care of her as she is taking care of me. We are a good team.

Cheers!
Howie
Helpful - 0
2111792 tn?1342704627
Whew!!!  Took me a good ten minutes to clear the tears of happiness before I could post!!  There are no adequate words to express how happy I am for Howie.... feeling blessed to share in this awesome news!!
Helpful - 0
5901196 tn?1395543909
Howie!
  How does a person look so good after a liver transplant?  :)  God has truly blessed you and repaid you for your giving nature. You've helped SO many of us on this forum, myself included! (I still go back and read those posts.) Unfortunately, I don't get on here much, nothing new going on yet.)
  How HAPPY I am that your going to be healthy again. I read that Sofisbuvir, (spelling?) has been approved, I pray that's true, for all of us! But especially for you. You've gone thru so much, for so long, that I'm glad to know you won't have a LONG tx. ahead of you. You've gone thru enough. I pray that's the type of treatment your put on.
  Well, young man, I have no doubt you'll be just fine. That fighting spirit of yours will carry you thru! And PLEASE TELL YOUR SISTER, "Thank You" from all of us, for caring for you. She's taking care of my hero and she needs to know she is appreciated!
Much LOVE sent to you.
Dee  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
This are just wonderful news. Like many, I have not been on this site for a long time(had to create a new account) but I talked to my wife about Hector today and his view on life and his care for other people while he is/was himself  in very difficult situation. Just very happy for him getting a "new lease on life". Sir,
With a new liver and you determination you will make Hep C a memory soon. Again,  just wonderful news.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
     Logically, by all that we know of what you experienced pre-transplant, you should not have made it. But my own experience with my husband has shown me that truly where there is a fight to live, magical things can happen.  You have been an inspiration and help to so many and the reward for that is a new lease on life thanks to the unselfish and wonderful gift you received from your donor.  (May she rest in peace.)
     As you know the fight will continue now, just not with the same urgency and uncertainty. A transplant has its own possible complications. So my advice is to take the time to enjoy your new found sense of peace and your new life in general.  You earned it.  
      May God continue to bless you going forward as He already has (big time!)

Helpful - 0
1113735 tn?1273174430
Good bless you Hector, and many thanks to MikeSimon as well,
Best news, and also heard today, that Sofosbufir, was approved!
Helpful - 0
1113735 tn?1273174430
Dear friend, it is so good to know, that you have another chance to live longer! Great, great great. It gives us a hope, who are waiting for a second chance too!.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
New to this. Saw your post and wonder how are you doing now.?
Helpful - 0
5536514 tn?1373500002
I want you to know that, our prayers have been answered and God is holding you up as you continue to get healthier and healthier.  You mean a lot to the people on this forum.  It gives me hope that I also can be strong.  All I have to do is think of you.  Keep on truckin
Helpful - 0
302488 tn?1337551241
That's absolutely awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Best wishes Hector!!
Helpful - 0
1840891 tn?1431547793
Thank you so much for the update! Knowing how irrepressible you are Howie, I was pretty sure something more was going on or you would've been posting more. I'm so glad the secondary issue has been successfully resolved for you. I haven't had a transplant, but I've been through very similar surgery and a secondary bowel obstruction too - no fun at all. I'm glad to hear you are walking a lot, as I think that is probably the very best thing a patient can do to speed up the recovery after major abdominal surgery. Keep up the great progress and keep us all posted.
XOXOXO!
Helpful - 0
683664 tn?1330966324
Wow!!  Thanks for the update, still grinning, so happy for Howie!
Helpful - 0
5537240 tn?1369448576
Wonderful, wonderful, incredibly wonderful.
You deserve it all.
Best of luck!

L
Helpful - 0
4113881 tn?1415850276
All I can say is wow! What an amazing story! God Bless you Hector!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
OMG!  I just saw this, and thank you so much for posting this great news, Mike. This is certainly what we have all been hoping would happen for Hector.

My very best to you all
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal

WOW !! What great news.!! Hector you are my hero. Your posts have been more informative than any Doc. I have ever had. Your courage and kindness an inspiration. Wish for you a quick and healthy recovery. Keeping you in my heart and prayers. Have a Happy Thansgiving.

Gail
Helpful - 0
419309 tn?1326503291
Folks like HectorSF and mikesimon give eternal hope and meaning to life and living... and believing in miracles...

Truly a time of Thanksgiving.  
With love and all my best to Howie, Michael, and the community at large,
~eureka

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
this is great news!!! godspeed Hector!
Helpful - 0
317787 tn?1473358451
I had to come back and say again, how happy I am for Hector, this wonderful news!
Thank you again
Dee
Helpful - 0
5720485 tn?1373563055
Fabulous news, praying for a speedy recovery!
Shyrl
Helpful - 0
4896357 tn?1360670904
Yay! Good news. Best wishes, Hector. :)
Helpful - 0
89592 tn?1391274422
Thank you so much for posting this great news Mike.....!  Wow...he is one awesome person. He hung in there and hung in there.  He's one heck of a fighter.  You go Howie!!

We love you..Paula
OH
Helpful - 0
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