.. except lately - there has not been much "coasting"!!!
Okay - so much craziness from the appointment yesterday! I am going to try and tell you what happened..
This appointment was with Don's local team (3) of Hepatologist's. Although we have great faith in them, they are not (per sey) at the top of the pyramid of Don's treatment. That top position belongs to the Hepatologist in Houston... who is also currently the number one liver transplant surgeon.
Going into the appointment we were expecting to move forward with several procedures - operations if you will, since each would have caused him to have to stay in the hospital at least 1 night. We were told by one of his local doctors that the varaces in his throat had worsened since the last time they did a scope. He was category 3 (out of 4, with 4 being the worst) and now they were calling him a 3+. Varaces, for those of you who do not know.. are like varacose veins.. but inside the body. These particular ones are down in Don's throat. They bulge out and can rupture. Due to their location, a rupture, we have been told has a 30% mortality rate because of the location.. It is hard to stop the bleeding and the blood can be aspirated. We were told that since he is planning to be treated again for the Hepatitis C with Interferon (chemotherapy) and the chem drugs weaken the vessels even further, that they were going to need to band them off - thus delaying the start date of the chemo. 5 places can be banded off at a time and Don had approximately 25 places that needed to be banded.
During this appointment, which was a consultation with only 1 of the 3 local Hepatologist's we found out more and now the future treatment is completely different. Get now why I titled this post the way I did??? ha ha ..
What we found out yesterday is that his chirohsis has worsened indicated by the increased vascular pressure. He is still in a state of "compensated chirosis" which is good, considering "decompesated chirosis" is worse meaning the liver is completely shutting down. We knew he had varaces in both his throat and in his colon, but we did not know that the varaces in his colon are worse than his throat. Apparently, banding is not an option for the ones in his colon either. For this reason, they are going to place him on a new medicine (the name escapes me) that has good results in reducing the vascular pressures in both areas... thus either negating or delaying the banding surgeries that were previously planned. We asked again about being placed on the transplant list and this time, our doctor agreed it was time to start that process.
Next week we have an appointment with the transplant specialist in Houston. We are expecting to find out what treatment (if any) Don will be placed on for the Hepatitis and more information about the liver transplant waiting list.
Please take a moment and review this organ donor chart. I pray that if you are not currently an organ donor supporter - that you will become one.
This chart is specific to liver transplants: