Somewhere in my life I got inefected with the Hepatitus Virus. It could have been when I was one year old and I spilled a vaporisor of boiling water on me, whose scars still show today. I had to receive blood transfusions. It could have been from my wild ‘hippy days’, including a brief flirtation with IV drugs, or when I had a couple of friends in the hospital who begged me to see them—they had had Hep A or B and were in a quarantined room which barred visitors. But I snuck in after hours anyway. I noticed that their eyes and skin were quite yellow. I found out later that exposure to Hep A or B will usually morph to the Hepatitus C virus (HCV). HCV is not airbourne, so it is not contagious, as a cold or pneumonia is. It is only tranmitted through blood-to-blood contact.
Mosrt of my life I have had no symptoms. Twenty two tears ago, from a routine physical exam, I found out that I had elevated liver enzyme levels. I cold-turkey quit all drinking, smoking, etc. and have remained abstinent to this day. I felt that doing those things would be like throwing gasoline on a fire. In 2009 my docs recommended I get on the liver transplant list. I was not accepted then because my lame BCBS insurance would not pay enough. Fortunately, I got better insurance later on and was accepted on to the list in 2011. Then I got liver cancer. I think this may have moved me closer to the top of the local transplant center’s priority list.
By late 2011, I was at end stage liver disease, and feeling horrible. My failing liver was compromising the rest of my body, robbing muscle mass, etc. I got my transplant on Texas Indepenence day, March 2, 2012. Thank God for the doner and her family. I rehabbed at Brodie Ranch Rehab and Health Clinic in Austin; had to do a lot of rehab at home, too. I am now (1/3/13) recovered and pretty much back to “normal”
The immune system’s job is to reject anything in the body that it perceives as “not-me”. I don’t want it to reject the new organ, so I have to suppress immune system by taking imunno-suppressant meds for the rest of my life. This is true for any type of organ transplant recipient. Unfortunately, that has the effect of making it easier for me to get sick by picking up a bacteria or virus that a normal immune system would fight against. So the next time you see me, I may be wearing a face mask.
UPDATE (1/3/13): I developed a hernia from the surgery. They may need to go back in & fix it. But i don’t think it’s a big deal.