Transplant Tales: to China and back

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

42 A.T.

We had another appointment at UCSF today. The doctor says everything looks fine. They tapered down a bit of the meds. That's a good thing.

I was out browsing the internet tonight, and came across a readers' poll that the San Francisco Chronicle had posted. I thought it was interesting to see the results.

Does anyone agree or disagree with what we did? If you were sitting there with liver cancer, no sign of spread. The Dr.'s told you Chemo was you only option. What would you do?

Monday, April 24, 2006

40 A.T.
Eric appeared today on CNN International. We haven't seen the interview ourselves, since the satellite office in San Francisco did not receive video feed. So what was actually seem is unknown. We'll see it for ourselves in a couple days.
And for the individual that was kind enough to leave a comment last night. Just to clarify, our current waiting list for a transplant is unjust. Not only is an individual like my husband removed from the transplant list for a cadaver liver. They are also denied the opportunity for a live donor. People seem to miss that part. I was in the process of becoming a live donor for my husband when he was removed. So, the limited supply of organs to go around wouldn't even have been tapped by my husband.
Yes, my husband had cancer. Located only in the liver. Regardless of the size or amount of tumors. Should an individual be denied the opportunity to live?? Even when they have a live donor match??

Friday, April 21, 2006

36 A.T.
Today, Eric celebrated his 51st Birthday. "Happy Birthday Honey!"
Reflecting on this past year, it has been one hell of a ride.
We celebrated quietly at home. No cake for Eric though. He's now become a member of the Diabetics Club. Yeah, he's become one of the insulin junkies. At least for the time being. His blood sugar has been all out of wack. Mainly due to 2 of the anti rejection drugs.
Eric has been active the last week. He's been doing small handyman jobs around the house, with help of course. I guess since he is unable to be on an actual job site to run work. He has now made our house a job site. Painting walls, hanging doors, hanging lights, who knows I might get an addition on the house if this keeps up.
All kidding aside, Eric is doing great!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

34 A.T.

Today Eric an I were invited to appear on Mornings on 2. The story shared and the point made, was I believe, very clear. It was not about having money and defying the US medical world. It was not about political issues stemming from executed prisoners or the Chinese cleansing of Fulan Gong practitioners. It is about our current practices here in the states, with regards to transplant lists. These transplant lists in all honesty, were not designed with cancer in mind.

We truly appreciate everyone's comments and opinions about current events. Yes, we had a choice Chemo or Transplant in China. We chose the possibility of life. We need to change things here in the states, so people don't have to consider this option.

There was a note to the Editor of the Chronicle today. Basically saying that we needed to boost the drive on family and friends becoming live donors. That's fine and dandy. But there again, the many cancer patients that are diagnosed with liver cancer fall short. The criteria for a liver transplant if you have cancer is cut an dry, 3 or less tumors, measuring 5 cm or less. This is considered a silent killer, and as the doctor put it, an aggressive cancer. So, what choice do people currently have, when they are told out of the starting gates that surgery or a transplant are not an option. No sign of metastasizing, your cancer is just to large for you to be considered a successful candidate for transplant, cadaver or live. So many people fall into that grey area around that fine criteria line. That is what we see as unjust and unfair.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Well, we were expecting criticism after reading this article. Regardless of the reason behind a prisoners sentence. You an I have no right an are in no position to know an or judge China's judicial system. Tiananmen Square is a nasty scar China will have to live with for a long time to come. However, the true reason for telling our story, is to begin a movement in modifying our current donor set up and UNO's transplant waiting lists. The waiting lists here in the states are not designed for an individual with cancer.
Besides, after researching info on China, while being in China. I am told, the number one crime punishable by death and the most common crime committed is, Drug Smuggling. Which occurs mainly along the border in the south along Vietnam, Laos, and Burma.
Remember you should only believe half of what you read in the media. Yes, they harvest organs from executed prisoners. No, they don't just go out and shoot a prisoner because a Westerner, a Brit, an Israeli, a Malaysian, or anyone else for that fact, shows up with the need for a liver, kidney, lung or heart. The prisoners do in fact have to give their consent to donate. So stealing is a poor choice of words.
The media has chosen to spin off the executed prisoner bit from our story. Please don't allow it to redirected you away from our main goal in sharing it.

33 A.T.
We were awoken tis morning at 7am by a phone call from a friend. We thought at first, he was pulling our leg. Telling us that Eric's story hit the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. We knew there was going to be an article in the paper. We never thought that it was going to get close to the front page, let alone on the front page.
I am glad the story is getting out, said Eric. Even if there is controversy about executed prisoners. As far as we know the current practice with prisoners is that they do give there consent.
If they take away from society to end up with the fate they have. I see nothing but a good thing as they give back to society on there way out of this world.
For us, if this is where and how we acquired the organ. So be it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

30 A.T

We have been home now for just over a week and Eric feels great. We have seen both our doctors at Kaiser and UCSF. They agree he looks great. The surgeon at UCSF said Eric was still at high risk of recurrence, do to having a thrombus in a portal vein. We still have some work to do.
China doctors are saying he should do preventive Chemo. The American doctors disagree. The American doctors say we'll just watch you closely and if something develops, they we'll discuss Chemo. Watching closely mean CT Scans every 3 months. We are kind of leaning to preventive. We have already seen where waiting sends us. Who knows, this might put us in a position to go back to Shanghai for Chemo. That would be sad.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

20 A.T
We got up bright an early on April 4th. We managed to get the luggage packed the night before. Hard to believe, we got everything packed! We toasted off the last evening by ordering some food from the one restaurant we have grown to love, Simply Thai. Joyce an I still needed to head over to the fabric market and pick up a couple of outfits we bought last minute. So there we were. Running on about 3 hours of sleep we were up by 6 am. Eric was in the kitchen making breakfast. He is acting like he is picking up right where he left off. Skillet fried country potatoes with bell pepper and poached eggs on bread. This was just what we needed to start our day. Joyce I ran out the door and picked up our outfits. We returned about an hour later, about 9:00 am. Ok 15 minutes and Tony will be here to take us to the airport. Plane leaves at 12:45 pm. Oh we have time to stop at Starbucks for one last Shanghai Latte. Leave it to me to schedule every minute to the last minute. Just enough time left to run back up to the apartment and do one final walk through. Did we forget anything?

To late now! We are home, back in the good ole Us of A. Eric an I were so anxious to get home to the kids, we both could not sleep on the 10 hour flight. I took forever, to get our luggage and make our way through customs. But we finally passed through the doors to family and friends waiting for Eric. We were greeted by Eric's daughters, Desi, Athena, an Andrea. Along with them were Dominic and Samantha, including Eric's granddaughter Tiana. Samantha was the first to howler "Daddy!" She was adorable wearing the little China doll dress I brought back a couple of weeks ago. Eric was also greeted by a few good friends, George, Bill Pezell, Leo, and Wayne. Non of them could get over how good Eric looked. He looks Fantastic!!

We made our way home and ah... I never realized how much I missed my couch. We ended up with a couple visitors during the day, Eric's pals, Paul and Todd. Eric finally realized how tired he was when the clock hit 3:00 pm. For the rest of the afternoon an evening he slept off an on. Until about 3:00 am tis morning. We both are trying to readjust to the time change.

It's 8:oo am Eric has just had his first shower since the surgery. All I hear is ohhs and ahhs. He still has a pink belly from the iodine. So I can still call him my pink belly sap sucker.

He has got an appointment with Dr Wilkes his GI doctor at 3:00 pm today. So we are a bit excited to see the look on his face. When Eric comes waltzing through that hospital door. We tell you about it later.

Ta Ta for now.

Monday, April 03, 2006

19 A.T.

It is now day number 19 since Eric's liver transplant. He is doing fantastic! Looking at him in the picture with the leading liver surgeon here at the hospital, who would ever think, that he had just undergone such a life saving operation. Eric is being released today and not a day to soon. We are being told continuously, that he has recovered remarkably fast. Fast or slow, didn't matter. Just the opportunity to have the surgery and recover, it a blessing in it's self.

Eric was chatting away with hospital staff an anyone who passed by the room for that fact. Inviting anyone an everyone to San Francisco. Eric, has became especially fond on Missy Joe, his 24 hour nanny. He has grown use to the messages and sponge baths. How will I ever compete. All kidding aside, Missy Joe has become like family. Alpha and Tony, finally showed up at 10:00am to break him out!! We have been sent home with a plastic shopping bag full of medicines. I feel like we've just left Walgreens! Tony says, Eric Is not taking as many pills as some patients. I can't imagine that 20 pills a day, is not many.

It feels good to be able to hug and hold my husband, not having to wear a mask, hair cover, heavy cotton gown, and little blue footsies.

At the moment all I can think about is how am I going to get all the stuff we bought home? It wasn't all mine either. Eric's 6 pairs of slacks, 2 cashmere blazers, and ties. Oh yeah! I forgot, his 24 plus shirts he had to get also. And to think most of this was done bed side. As you can see, here are a few pieces of his new Armani collection.

Well, I guess I better get around and finish packing. Eric and Joyce are sifting through the movies we have picked up during our stay. They are worried they'll be mistaken for bootleggers. With our 35 dvds we picked up for about 90 cents each and Joyce's 2 dozen. We might be able to open our own video store. Ha Ha!!

ok ok..Good night everyone!!