Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Third Chance at Life?

When this blog was started earlier this year, I stated that it would include a variety of articles fitting the theme "All Things In Life".  A variety of topics will be coming in the near future, but today I will give another update on how Ken has been doing.

I wrote last month about Ken's "second chance at life" in two parts: Part One and Part Two because his first liver transplant in 2006 took place over the course of two days.  Now he waits for a second transplant which we have referred to as a "third chance at life".  Based on all that has happened during the past eight years, this really could be considered his fifth or sixth chance at life but then it would sound like we were talking about the neighborhood alley cat!

A second transplant is something that we never expected to be an option.  The reason it is an option now is because Ken's liver is failing from a liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).  The first transplant was necessary because the PSC had advanced into a form of liver cancer that was detected very early.  This time the PSC has lead to end stage liver disease.  The best way to describe end stage liver disease is to imagine taking one of these every day . . .

I have never known anyone to be told multiple times that they did not have long to live but now I walk this path once again with my life-long friend and husband of 25 years.  What does one do when they are told such news?  Do they really feel like going sky diving or Rocky Mountain climbing?  The first time Ken was told that he would not live long without a liver transplant, he was 36 years old and looked very healthy.  The diagnosis did not line up with any symptoms because there were none.  Although he could have gone, there was no time for sky diving when you are in need of cancer treatments.  Very quickly you do not feel like doing anything.

Ken is now in need of a second liver transplant because his liver has been failing all year.  He has been in the hospital more than home in 2014, but right now he has been home for about five weeks without a reason to go back to the hospital.  We have learned to manage many things at home and do receive weekly visits from a home health nurse.  Ken is very limited on how long he can be on his feet so falling from the sky is not an option.  However, we were told by a local doctor that he has never seen anyone with a liver this bad be able to be upright at all.  That perspective helps us appreciate the littlest of things.

A failing liver brings on many daily challenges so we must take each day as it comes.  We really do not know what the future will bring.  Like we told our children when they were 6, 9 and 11, "Daddy will either receive another chance at life, or he will receive eternal life."  Now they are 14, 18 and 20 and while the circumstances may seem a little different the message is still the same.