*Results may vary. The information in this site is NOT to be construed as medical advice. Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious condition and if you have it, you should see a doctor. I am not a doctor and am not able to dispense medical advice. My husband saw a doctor (many of them) and they were able to do things for him that I could not. However, they were unable to recommend alternative treatments, and in MY OPINION they were VERY beneficial to my husband, so I am providing some of that information here. My husband and I tried all of these alternative therapies at our own risk, and if you try them you will be doing the same. At your own risk. No promises are made in this blog. I am not saying there is a cure for cirrhosis or any other condition. However, I believe most people can get well, like my husband did. My husband is alive, happy, productive, functional and has his energy back. He no longer worries about having to go on disability or getting a $577,000 liver transplant. Cirrhosis is a serious condition. He is currently in the fibrosis stage (Stage 2 liver disease), which is still serious. I cannot guarantee you will have the same results. I just want you to know about what worked well for my husband. I hope you will share what you learned with others, and share your story with us as well. This blog was made for YOU! Thanks for visiting!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Liver Transplantation: The Pros and Cons of Donating Your Liver / Accepting a Donation

I wanted to make a page here to show you what real life donors had to say about their experiences with donating a liver. You can see a whole page of donors (and links to read about their experiences) by CLICKING HERE, or scroll down to see just the people who shared stories about donating part of their livers.

I had considered donating part of my liver to my husband when he was extremely ill and the doctors told him that his only chance of survival would be with a $577,000 liver transplant. However, after reading some of these testimonials, I got the impression that, while people generally do not seem to regret having donated part of their liver, most people do seem to express a certain sense of frustration in regards to having to live with complications after the surgery.

As much as I loved my husband, it was hard to justify putting myself through a lifetime of potential physical pain (or possibly death) from donating an organ, when I knew that his liver disease could have been preventable if he had just stopped drinking. Do I love my husband? YES. Do I feel bad for him that he had to deal with alcoholism, which is considered an actual disease? YES. Am I committed to taking care of him and nursing him back to health? YES. Would I have been willing to donate part of my liver to him if his disease was genetic, and NOT preventable? YES.

But if I actually died from donating my liver to someone who had shot his own, due to alcohol abuse... a totally preventable disease... as far as I was concerned, I might as well nominate myself for the Darwin List. I love my husband, but I'm not stupid. Please note, I'm NOT saying that people who donate their organs are stupid, but my guess is that most people who elect to donate their organs are NOT donating to someone who needs a transplant because of alcoholism. For anyone who actually has done this... I hope your spouse knows how lucky he or she is. You are a rare person, indeed.

Deep down, I truly believed my husband had the power to heal his own liver once he stopped drinking. You hear over and over again that the liver has the ability to regenerate itself.  During our 3rd visit to the hospital, a doctor there told me that you can survive with something like only 5 or 6 percent of your liver being functional. I couldn't believe it. I'm NOT advising people out there to use this as a license to damage your liver (any more damage than that and you WILL die), but it gave me hope that Jake could actually recover. And I knew the doctors were NEVER going to tell me that Jake could heal his own liver.

UPDATE 11-28-14:  For anyone out there who is considering doing a liver donation, I want to tell you that my husband had a MELD score of 28, less than one year ago, and the doctors made it sound like there was no chance of him recovering without a transplant. I am here to tell you that within half a year his MELD score went down to an 8, and HIS DOCTORS SAID THAT HIS LIVER FUNCTION TESTS ARE CURRENTLY IN NORMAL RANGE.

Sadly, MOST DOCTORS ARE LIKELY TO TELL YOU THAT YOU MUST HAVE A LIVER TRANSPLANT IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. Very few doctors are likely to ever tell you that you can heal your own liver with proper diet, by taking supplements, drinking aloe vera juice, etc..

I do realize my husband's case may be different from other peoples' cases. Maybe he was very lucky. But he also followed the Berkson Protocol, which is proven to help people heal their livers. I will be writing a page about the Berkson Protocol and Dr. Bert Berkson, but until then, feel free to google "Bert Berkson" and "alpha lipoic acid" to learn more about how you can heal your liver.

Here are some of the stories I'd mentioned earlier... they are from THIS PAGE. Click on the blue links to hear peoples' individual tales of what it was like to donate part of their own livers.

Liver Donation Experiences:

  • Caron's living liver donation to her father.
  • Lyn's liver donation to a toddler.
  • Pauline's living liver donation at Mt. Sinai.
  • Another living liver donor site—Liver Giver Girl.
  • Ann's story of donating to a child.
  • Pamela's story of donating to her sister.
  • Sherry's big adventure—this page is in a nonstandard format and may not be readible by all browsers. I've posted her story, which is primarily a series of emails, exactly as she sent it. Consider it web vérité.
  • Danielle's story and request for prayers.
  • Dave's donation to his young son.
  • Kathryn's story of donating to a friend.
  • Tammy: living liver donor to her son.
  • John donates to his wife, Christine
  • Jeremy donates to his dad.
  • Nicole shares the story of her dad's liver donation to her uncle.
  • Mike created a website in 2006 about being a living related liver donor to his nephew.  The website includes a description and photos of the surgery, some being graphic.  Mike says the site is meant as a means to show the process and hopefully to help others who are thinking about donating. http://www.wonderliver.com
  • Naeem, living liver donor to his uncle.
  • Lorie's web site on her living liver donation gone wrong: www.livingdonornightmare.com
  • Dr. Mark Stefanelli's web site and book about his living liver donation experinence.
  • Tom shares his experience of donating to his babysitter's son.
  • Geetha's donation to her husband.
  • Primum Non Nocere by Lorraine Hawks, widow of a living liver donor.


to learn about:

Please note: I am not a doctor and I am only able to tell you what I have learned by doing my own research on the internet, and share with you the things that have worked for my husband. Please remember that Liver Cirrhosis is a very serious disease so I am not saying, do not see a doctor. Doctors have helped my 
husband a lot. But I believe it is wise to do as much research as you can, and find out why 
they are giving you every one of the medications and treatments they are giving you. 
I believe they do not always know about or understand every treatment option that is available, 
and there are many good options out there that can help.
Your health is ultimately your own responsibility, above anyone else's.

Best of luck to you!!!
If you have something to share, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog.

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