There have been many questions as to why Lennon would/does need another transplant. Let me first say that he is medically stable. This there is no “rush” per se and with that being said, we know the following:
Lennon has a clot in the portal vein which is one of those important elements. He also has thromboses with the hepatic vein and then there was a third clot found but I don’t know the state of this one at this time. The issue is because the portal vein is clotted, the body created quite a few more vessels. If you know Lennon, have seen him you will notice lots of lots of blue lines (veins) on his belly and the back. This happens because the body and liver will work together to get the blood flow going.
However, for Lennon, this is not the best thing because it has left him with a coagulation disorder and at high risk for bleeding. To put it in other words, the veins can be compared to when we get hemorrhoids, excess stuff going on. This means that we have to be watchful for bleeding at all times because he could bleed from his tube, internally which he would vomit or defecate out.
We also know that from before when his EBV levels were high that he has dealt with and deals with hepatitis and that his liver is working towards cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs in response to chronic damage to your liver. With mild cirrhosis, your liver can make repairs and continue its role in the body. But with more advanced cirrhosis, more and more scar tissue forms in the liver, making it impossible to function. Some of the symptoms we will be watching are :
- Bleeding easily
- Easy bruising
- Fluid accumulation in your abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in your legs
- Weight loss
I also wanted to add that the ultrasound last week indicated no fluid but rather enlarged organs which is good and bad.
Now that we have this information we talked more about the transplant. What are the chances of him surviving this third liver transplant? Well, the fatality rate is 10% for most first-time transplant patients. Lennon is somewhere between 30-40% according to UVA. This leaves us a little bit in the quandary because we really need to evaluate if these numbers are worse at the risk of losing Lennon during the surgery, or if we should simply enjoy life while we can! This weighs heavy on my heart.
There is also a conversation about sending him out of state. Here is why. Our local fantastic hospital pretty much only handles first-time transplant patients. Cases like Lennon where there is a lot of scar tissue and additional routing issues with veins etc are often sent to specialized hospitals. The closest (and biggest) is in Pittsburgh.
The decision we made for now is to move forward with the evaluation from the other hospital. The thing about it is that the docs now need to write letters for insurance approval as well as to the hospital who may take the case. It also means that if the other hospital (which may or may not be Pittsburgh, could be Miami or one other one – though the leaning is towards Pittsburgh) will need to accept Lennon as a case. From there we have to schedule an evaluation – this means to travel for Lennon and me and staying in Pittsburgh for the time required to check Lennon out – generally 1-2 weeks.
Since we are worried about having to make a decision, I am trying to hold off on any medical decisions until the other hospital had a chance to look at Lennon’s case and do their evaluation. They may have different numbers for us. But this will be a high or higher risk surgery without question.
This is kind of what we know right now. The docs did say that Lennon could be the way he is for 1 or 2 years maybe even three. They don’t want to wait with the approval or evaluation until he’s too sick (gosh I love them). So we will move forward with the tests and go from there.
I still have a difficult time to wrap my head around this all. The state where Lennon is, the decisions that may need to be made. Once again we are reminded to be grateful and to not take things for granted. Appreciate what we do have, dream for what we want without hate and judgment.
I will leave this for now, knowing that I have him for this minute. Honoring and being grateful for the fact to be his mom, to have my other children, to be surrounded by people who love and care for us.
It is one day at a time – each day filled with love and appreciation.