In the summer of 2017, Derek was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition impacting his liver and his life: Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). PSC causes the body to attack the bile ducts and build up fibrosis and strictures. Over time, this leads to liver disease and cirrhosis. There is no known cure and the only treatment is a liver transplant. Derek has cirrhosis and is in need of a liver transplant. Liver transplant allocation is determined by a MELD (Model for End stage Liver Disease) score, with the higher the score, the more likely to receive a transplant. Unfortunately, PSC is an uncommon liver disease, so while PSC patients may become seriously ill, their MELD score does not usually correlate with their illness. A traditional cadaver transplant is likely to come too late for many PSC patients, as PSC can further develop into cholangiocarcinoma, a rare but aggressive cancer in the bile ducts. The only other option for a liver transplant is a living donor liver transplant.
The liver is an incredible organ: if you remove half of a living donor's liver and place it into a matched recipient, it can regenerate in both the donor and the recipient. This is a living donor liver transplant. It is a gift of life, and while living liver donation is a complex surgery and not without risk, it is the only option for Derek at present. Derek was listed for liver transplant at the Cleveland Clinic on May 4th, 2018 (after many months of insurance battles) and no one has yet to match as a possible donor. Donors must be under 55, blood type A or O, and generally healthy. Derek's insurance will cover the cost of screening and the donation process. If you are interested in donation, call the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center: 216.444.1976. Please visit the Cleveland Clinic website below and see the linked PDF for more information: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/transplant/programs/liver/living-donor-clinic
We know a living donor or traditional transplant is not a guarantee, and PSC may reoccur after transplant, but we remain hopeful. Derek's health journey has had many ups and downs, hospitalizations, tests, and there are sure to be many more updates to come. Thank you for visiting his CaringBridge website, where we will post on his condition and search for a living donor. Thank you for your support and encouragement.