Archive for the ‘Liver Transplant’ category

6 Underground

February 9, 2017

6 yes – as in, it’s been 6 years today. Underground? Not really. Although I did go in the Tube yesterday.

So, what to report? Well my liver is behaving normally – which is as good as any liver can behave.

I last reported on the LIFT immunosuppressant-free trial that was taking place throughout Europe over the course of the next 4 years. As you may have read, I volunteered for the trial and underwent a liver biopsy to determine my suitability.

As with all clinical trials they have to be based on 100% accuracy or there will be doubts cast – and so it was that a tiny amount of inflammation was detected in my biopsy sample and I was rejected from the trial.

Should I be concerned about this? Well, apparently not. After all, my liver is behaving normally.

So what now? Well, I believe the trial is still progressing without my input! So it means that I won’t have to undergo the immensely painful blood tests that I had to endure at the start of the trial. So, I’m happy with that. And it means that, once the trial is completed, in four years time, if my biopsy has shown the relevant biomarkers to indicate that I was naturally tolerating my new liver, then I may be able to reap the benefits of the trial after all. So, I’m happy with that too.

So, what am I not happy with? I am not happy with the fact that my wonderful consultant had felt so angry and frustrated with the NHS system here in the UK, that he has emigrated to Australia and has already noticed massive improvements in care there.

So, I have lost the care of a consultant who knew me inside and out which leaves me feeling a little uneasy. But it is what it is and I thank him for all he has done for me and I wish him well for his new life.

There you go – I resisted posting throughout most of 2016 and it is just as well – as you know, it was a pretty bleak year for people we know and love. I’ll leave with the memory of the death that affected me the most – that of Leonard Cohen. Yes Leonard, I did want it darker – but gee, not pitch black.

you-want-it-darker

Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

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Chopped Liver – Five Years

February 9, 2016

Five Years.

You know, for the past few anniversaries I have thought about what song title to give my anniversary post. But I didn’t know a song called three years, or even four years. I do know one for seven years but, I always had in mind the one for five years.

It was easy. Bowie’s Five Years from Ziggy Stardust.

Ziggy

But now I just appear as another bandwagon-jumper posting about Bowie as if I knew him. What I will say, though, is how impressed I was, not only with his life, and how he created this larger-than-life mystique – but also his death. For someone so much in the public eye to engineer his mortality in the way he did was simply staggering. He fooled everyone – including all those who subsequently claimed to “know” him.

His final video – I thought, a bit reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s Hurt. Maybe that was his inspiration. Johnny Cash effectively told the world in that video – hey, this is the last you’ll see of me – but I’m going to be innovative to the end.

Anyway, enough of immortals, what about me? Well, there is news.

Firstly, my liver is behaving very nicely indeed. Results are normal, as they have been since the beginning. But the news is that those clever scientists have done a study, somewhere in Europe I think, anyway, they are continuing the trial over here – and it is to determine whether certain transplantees really do need to take their anti-rejection medication or not.

They have determined that a certain type of person, physical type, not mental or emotional, of course, can be weaned off the immunosuppressant drugs – they just have to determine who can and who can’t. So, I am going to be taking part in the trial, soon. It involves having a liver biopsy which will provide the doctors with the necessary indicators. They will then put me on a program of weaning off the meds, or not – depending on the results of the biopsy.

Needless to say, it would be fantastic to come off the immunosuppressants. They have long term side-effects – kidney failure, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and a host of nasty effects that usually reduce mortality in transplant patients. So, to come off the drugs would certainly be something to strive for.

The trial should start pretty soon – and this could change the outlook for transplant patients in the future in a massive way.

As they say, let’s rock n’ roll.

Chopped Liver – Transplanter Man

October 27, 2013

I thought I’d resurface today to mark the passing of one rock ‘n’ roll’s great icons – Lou Reed.

In musical terms I’ve followed much of his output with varying degrees of interest – of special mention must go The Velvet’s Andy Warhol album and the amazing double live, lo-fi 1969 record – recorded at some point in the late 60’s I believe.

Image

During the seventies he had interesting collaborations with Bowie and hit a – for me – creative peak with his sublime New York album. Seriously, if you haven’t heard New York, you owe it to yourself to do so. Pure guitar, bass and drum, recorded effectively live and totally stripped down – with some of powerfully venomous lyrics – even taking a swipe at His Bobness in one song where he asks – “Does anyone need another self-righteous rock singer whose nose, he says, has taken him straight to God”.

But, as is so often the case these days in this age of recycled pop, he is probably best remembered for a cover of his song Perfect Day by the BBC for Children In Need – so ironic that a song written with one particular subject in mind could achieve such fame when its meaning is turned 180 degrees.

So Lou has been unwell for a year or so. His wife, Laurie Anderson (she of “O Superman” fame), declared only a few months ago that he was saved from certain death by a rushed liver transplant. I was secretly pleased Lou had joined our exclusive club. However it seems that his underlying health issue was beyond repair though and so it leaves me to recognise the passing of another great. R.I.P. Lou Reed.

Chopped Liver – The Only Way Is Up

April 11, 2013

Sorry, Eric Abidal fans – nothing to report today, probably on account of the fact that Barca had such a close shave last night the Champions League quarter final, they wouldn’t have wanted to bring on a defender anyway.

Hey Eric - you're not in this one.

Hey Eric – you’re not in this one.

Besides that though, a report out today shows that organ transplants are on the up – an increase by no less than 50% since 2008 in fact. Hey guys, I am in those statistics.

But, shockingly, this increase is not down to more people registering to be donors – it is down more to nurses and transplant coordinators doing more at the time of bereavement to persuade families to release their deceased loved ones’ organs.

And in fact, of the deceased donor card carriers, 125 family members over-ruled their loved ones’ wishes and prevented organ removal. Remembering that body has the potential to provide up to nine people through the donation of a heart, lungs, two kidneys, pancreas, liver and small bowel and two corneas, that is quite a call to be made by people.

So, I believe this report shows that there is a trend upwards towards more organs being made available – it still staggers me though, that with all new legislations made by consecutive governments, there still seems to be a reluctance to push through the opt-out system that would radically transform, overnight, the number of organs made available for transplant and would potentially save the lives of thousands.

The only reason for not transplanting then would possibly be down to the lack of doctors, nurses and hospital beds – but that is a problem worth solving, is it not?

If you decide that now is the time to register to carry a donor card – just click here

 

Chopped Liver – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

April 8, 2013

So, Eric Abidal followers – the moment came at the weekend. After his liver transplant a year ago, and his public recuperation, the great man – and he is now truly great, made his appearance for the greatest club side in the world, Barcelona.

It didn’t matter that Cesc Fabregas scored his first ever hat-trick, it was always going to be Le Grand Eric (MK11)* who was going to steal the show and well done to him. Believe me, this is no small feat. You don’t have to be a football lover to appreciate this achievement, just take it from me – to reach the standard of fitness required to play at that level is…, well it is quite remarkable.

You can check out this great moment here.

Eric Abidal - back after Liver Transplant

Eric Abidal – Back at the top after a liver transplant

You know, it’s bizarre really, but I even feel a sense of pride myself over this – like , as if he’s “one of us”, a kindred spirit. I don’t know why, I mean I don’t think he’s mentioned me in his blog. But there you go, I feel “great for the lad”! And that’s it.

 

* A footie in-joke – refers to another great French Eric – Cantona

Chopped Liver – Play It Again, Eric

February 21, 2013

It seems appropriate for me, having followed the story of Barcelona footballer Eric Abidal in this blog, to bring you the truly amazing news that Eric is now fit and able to play again.

Here is the statement:-

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal has been cleared to play after almost a year out to undergo a liver transplant. “After this morning’s training session Eric Abidal has received the welcome news that he has the medical all-clear and is therefore available to the team for the final part of the season,” Barca said in a statement on their website.

Not only just play again – but we are talking about playing at the very highest level, for the very best team the world has ever seen.

kevin ayers

Kevin Ayers – whatevershebringswesing

There is hope for me yet! I always wanted to play for Barcelona.

If he plays enough games between now and the end of the season, he could get a league winners medal – as Barca will win the league this year – I ask the question: Should Eric’s brother get a winner’s medal too? After all, they used his liver to keep him alive, so stands to reason in my book.

On a sadder and unrelated note, I note the passing yesterday of Kevin Ayers – eccentric English musician of 60’s band Soft Machine and numerous solo albums and collaborations. He was very much a part of my growing up – especially his album “whatevershebringswesing”.

As for me, whateverhesangibought.

RIP Kevin Ayers.

 

Chopped Liver – This Old Liver Of Mine

February 9, 2013

An update for you peeps.

Today is Feb 9th.

The magic day. The second anniversary of my new liver.

Two years!

My latest appointment with the doc was a few weeks ago. He looked at my blood results and stated matter-of-fact that my results are “normal”.

He looked up at me and said “You can’t get better than normal”.

So that’s it. I have a normal liver.

And for that I am most grateful.

And I feel good too. Never felt better.

I’ll repeat that.

Never felt better.

Hope you all are too.