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Larien and Marla- Living Liver Donor

It was 2009 when my husband started experiencing unexplainable itching. Without either of us even thinking it could be his liver, we went to allergist, I cleaned our house from top to bottom thinking it could be something in our house. We even went as far as changing his diet. Nothing at all seemed to help. We had went to his general practitioner who then referred him to a Gastroenterologist.

Fast forward, he had to have a liver biopsy. The report came back as Primary Schlerosing Cholengitis. With little understanding, I began to research it. Not what I wanted to read that difficult information! We were then referred to another Gastrointestinal physician who took over and pretty much let us know what to expect. Placing a defined timeline on what we’re going to be facing I actually swallowed my heart. We both are Christians and believe in the power of prayer but for a brief time I questioned why. Why could this be happening to my husband. He was well known in two communities as the most compassionate general surgeon. He was loved by so many. And as his wife, I was the luckiest woman in the world.

As time went on and things started settling down we were able to hear all that he was going to be facing. About five years then he will be facing a transplant. Five years seems like a long time until you have to walk through daily steps of the progressive disease. Then I thought were did the five years go. When I married my husband for sickness and in health I absolutely kept my word. My heart was simply crushed as time went on and I was witnessing more and more how the disease was attacking not only his liver but my husband as a person.

Every single night (nights were the worse) I would have to run his entire body down with cool lotion and I get towels ice cold to wrap him up in. He would take meds for itching but nothing seemed to give relieve. I have no idea where time went, but I do know that five years flew by.

My husband continued to work and try to live life to the fullest. At one point we were told he would have to wait on someone passing before he could get a liver.

For his last two years of waiting for a liver, I would drive him to work and pick him up. The final day came and after I dropped him off I immediately called the surgery department. Sure enough, they called me to come back. They found him a bed and admitted him. He had actually turned serious as far as his ammonia level. It was so scary. He didn’t even know me. Once he got through those few days we were referred to a top hospital that were well known for liver transplants. They even mentioned while telling us he is ready to be placed on a transplant list that if we knew of anyone that would want to be a live donor to talk to them.

Moving forward, the res light came on for me and I told my husband I was going to be checked to see if I was a match for his blood type. He was so sick and said “mine is rare, you won’t be a match”.  I made an appointment anyway, and guess what, I was a match!

From there you had to go back to Pittsburgh and have tons of tests. The board even has to meet and see if I had met the criteria. In the mean time, my husband was getting worse. He couldn’t eat, the meds were all making him so sick, the itching was horrific, he already turned an ash grey to jaundice. I had every church praying and people I didn’t know. There was a part of me anxiously getting nervous. If I wasn’t the match, I seriously doubt my husband would be with us my a longer.

It was the last week of November, the Christmas was approaching and day in and out my husband was getting worse. All I knew was to pray and pray fervently. If this is Gods will, He would make it work. I had to learn patience in the hardest way. In order to keep myself together, I continued to decorate and listen to holiday music. The moment I will never forget, finally, the phone rang. I was shaking and hesitant to answer as it was the hospital.

Hello, I said.
Is this Marla?
Yes, yes it is.
Hi, this is Angela. You are a perfect match.

Tears flowing, grasping for air as she continued to go over everything that would be taking place. I’m on my knees crying and thanking God and trying to listen to her as well. As we hung up, I went out to where my husband was and he was sitting on the edge of the recliner. I got down in front of him, grabbed his hands and said, will you except my liver. He said, your a match. I nodded with tears streaming. We embraced and the rest is in the miracle book.

On Dec 9, it will be 7 glorious years. Best Christmas ever!!