Transplant Tales: to China and back

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

64 A.T.

Eric celebrated 2 months with his liver transplant. We went and saw the liver surgeon at UCSF an again they commented on how well he looked. We asked about his medications and the insulin shots. His blood sugar is looking good so they had us taper down the shots to 1 shot in the morning.
We also spoke to the doctor again about preventive Chemo, like the Chinese doctors have recommended. There again the UCSF surgeon said, they don't recommend doing preventive chemo. Stating that the down side with treatment out weigh the upside. So here again preventive care is out the window. The surgeon stated we can declare victory if the cancer does not reoccur before then. I commented that everyday right now is victory!
Just when we thought thing were going good. We did receive a call from his GI doctor that afternoon informing us that his AFP levels were climbing again. This is not a good sign.
Eric had an CT scan today, we should find out something Monday or Tuesday. We will keep everyone posted.

Friday, May 12, 2006

58 A.T.
Current events yet show another reason Americans turn to transplants abroad. Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco is now under investigation, for the foul up of their Kidney transplant program. For anyone who is familiar with the HMO, you know that they stand firm on what they outsourcing and do themselves. They publicly apologized for the current situation and stated, if there where any Kidney Transplant patients that preferred to go through a different transplant center. Kaiser would authorize and pay for that treatment. Reports show only 26 kidney transplants were performed in 2005 at Kaiser San Francisco. That's about 2 a month. Meanwhile over 50 Kaiser members died waiting.

What is wrong with that picture. We are Kaiser members an are all to familiar with their internal bureaucracy. They preach preventive medicine. However, what they say and do are very different.

This leads me to my point. If we are faced with these kind of failures in American Health care. How could anyone be blamed for looking else where for saving their life.

My husband an I spoke to Cathy with in hopes of organizing a donor drive. We are working on a Ride for Life to attracted and sign up motorcycle riders of all ages. We are aiming for the 3rd or 4th weekend in August. Cathy shared with much surprise to us that the standard practice here in the states is that donated organs are only from loved ones that are brain dead. You would think that if someone is declared dead at the seen of an accident, that the individual would be considered a potential organ donor. Wrong! Apparently if the blood and oxygen has stopped flowing, under current practices they are dismissed as a possible donor. Well that definitely gives a broader picture on why we have a lack of organs.
Why does it matter if the oxygen or blood flow stop? When the organ is removed from the body and transported to the transplant center for transplant there is no flow then either. Are you a DONOR?

Anderson Cooper 360 a show on CNN will be here at the house today. Maybe they can help us find these answers.

Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

55 A.T.
Eric went back to work yesterday. His first day back since the transplant. The doctors told him that he would be off a minimum of six months. But not Eric, less than two months and he is back at it.
Thank God for his employer. They have been very supportive through this trying time. Thank you for everything.
Eric goes in tomorrow morning for a bone scan. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that nothing turns up. It is always nail biting when he does these tests.
We will keep everyone posted!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

53 A.T.
Eric an I took the kids out to Oklahoma this last week to see my father. Dad was having cataract surgery and we wanted to be there. This was the first time Eric had been away from home and hospital since our return from China. Everyone was amazed of how well he is doing.
Eric returned home Wednesday with our son Dominic since he needed to do lab work every Monday and Thursday. Until the doctors get his anti rejection medication where they want it, and his blood sugar under control. We won't be able to travel very far for any length of time.
I have done internet searches, just plugging Eric De Leon and China. It is unreal on how many results pop up. That most recent Opinion article by Debra Saunders was a waste of space in the paper. This woman is a piece of work. She called the house and began a very aggressive interrogation not an interview. She was quick to call my husband an Ugly American and title her article The American Vampire. She doesn't care to share the reason why we made the decision we did. No, that would take to light of us and shed light on our failing medical society. An our lack of educating society about the need for donors. A number of people choose not to donate a loved one's organs. In some of these cases religious beliefs are the reason. In others it is a little greed. It is very difficult to accept that loss. We just lost our love one and want to hold on to everything physical. I don't blame them. But what most people don't realize when an autopsy is performed every organ is removed from the body, weighed and visually inspected. The organs are then returned to the body cavity or incinerated. If the body is going to be disturbed in such a manner, doesn't it make sense to donate the organs to someone waiting for a chance to live?
Are we proud of what we did? No we are not. We should not have had to resort to going outside of the United States.
I wrote a comment back to Debra Saunders about her article. I have yet to receive a response from her. She asked my husband if his book was a how to book. He answered that he was sharing his story to bring awareness and create a movement for educating as well as change and improve our current situation with the lack of donors.
You think what my husband did was wrong, Debra. I respect you opinion, and that is exactly what it is your opinion. To attack the character of a man whom you had a five minute phone conversation with. Shows one thing, the lack of character you have, Debra. And affluent, since when is a construction superintendent considered affluent.
Are we ashamed of what we did? No, we are not. We did what we needed to do, and we did everything legally. Unlike, the woman in New York who deliberately bought a kidney. I would say she withheld her name for fear of prosecution not of shame.