Acute Liver Failure/Liver Transplant
I first noticed I had difficulty with my memory and learning new concepts in the fall of 2015, I attributed them to my age. In early 2016 I began to experience several unusual symptoms, a loss of appetite, lethargy, difficulty concentrating. A few times while driving home I took a wrong turn. All the symptoms that I know now to be of liver failure.
During this time Anna and I were in the process of building a house on the shore of Lake Quinsigamond, ironically right across from UMass Memorial Hospital. One day in February 2016, while reviewing progress on the house, Anna noticed my eyes were very yellow and commented if they didn’t clear up we needed to go to UMass Hospital.
Then the next morning we went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with acute liver failure. This was a surprise to me as I was in good health, not obese or suffering from any illnesses, and up to that point, and didn’t see my diet and social drinking as affecting my health.
I spent the month of March in Worcester’s UMASS Memorial where doctors tried to save my liver. Ironically, I could see my new house from my hospital room across the lake. This and the support of family helped me with keeping a positive motivation and the focus I needed to get through the lifesaving process.
However, the doctor’s efforts were fruitless and I needed a liver transplant. I was sent home to wait for a liver with several weeks to live without a transplant.
On April 7th, 2016 the hospital called with the news they had a deceased donor liver and would receive the gift of life.
After my liver transplant, having been informed my deceased donor was not only in his late twenties and died from a drug overdose, I felt compelled to want to give back and do more and get involved. So, Anna and I attended a presentation at UMass Hospital given by the American Liver Foundation. It was there Anna and I met Lindsay Ventura would introduce us to the ALF Family. I went on to become a National Patient Advocate for the ALF in support of ALF programs and where every year I travel with the ALF to Washington DC to advocate for Liver related government legislation. In 2018, I even spoke at an FDA conference on Liver Disease, representing and advocating for Liver patients. Also, in 2017, I joined the New England ALF Board of Directors. I spend my time now sharing my experience and advocating for the ALF.
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