Monday, June 25th, Gary Engler will be undergoing living donor liver transplant in Rochester, MN after a long road of many tests, difficult days of feeling under the weather, and months of waiting for a deceased donor (despite being listed on the liver donor transplant list on January 1, 2018). It was told when listed on the transplant list that due to Gary’s blood type, the availability of a deceased donor was very rare and only would happen if Gary became extremely ill. Of the few recipients that were lucky enough to get a deceased donor, many were in critical condition. Therefore, the Engler family looked into other alternatives and were informed of living liver donor surgery. They thought that living donation would be a great option for Gary since it would allow for him to have surgery before becoming too sick.
Gary Engler, just turning 66 this June 19th, received the exciting news (and not to mention a delayed birthday gift) that his daughter, Megan Engler, was a match for liver donation. In April of 2018, his daughter underwent extensive testing and it was found that they were indeed a suitable match and the date was tentatively set for June 25th. This was such exciting news! The entire Engler family was filled with many emotions as they heard that the end of this difficult journey might soon be coming to an end and their prayers had been answered. For approximately 8 years, Gary had been struggling with non-alcohol induced liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is a condition that greatly impairs liver function. People with this disease develop irreversible liver disease caused by scarring of the liver. As many people know, the liver is an important part of the digestive system used to help break down food, store energy, and remove waste products, including toxins. If this cirrhosis worsens, our liver will no longer be able to get rid of toxic substances in your body like ammonia which often leads other problems including bleeding blood vessels in the esophagus, fluid build up in the belly, yellowing of the eyes or skin, and increased bleeding.
With his liver function worsening, Gary began to notice changes in his body such as muscle wasting, major weight loss, ascites (fluid buildup in the stomach), weakness, nausea, fatigue, and jaundice, all of which were stemming from his liver failure which began to lead to more frequent visits to Mayo. Due to the large amount of fluid buildup in his stomach, he was having to go to Rochester as frequently as once a week for paracentesis procedures to drain as much as 10 liters of fluid a week. The once busy body, Gary, whom that was active from morning to night began to become easily drained and tired from small tasks. Not only this, but many of his days consisted of feeling under the weather, dizzy, nauseated, and just simply not himself. Therefore, the whole Engler family is extremely grateful of this amazing opportunity that god has granted Gary and appreciate all the love and support during this scary yet exciting adventure.
Monday morning the surgery will begin bright and early with both Gary and Megan having to arrive at Methodist Hospital in Rochester at 5:45 AM for preop. It is said that the surgery will begin at approximately 8:30 with Megan being brought back first followed by Gary an hour later. Both surgeries will last around 4-6 hours each. We will continue to give updates as we hear more news.
Unexpectedly Sunday morning we received word from Rochester that blood cultures came back on Dad’s paracentesis fluid and found that a bacterial infection was present. The doctors agreed that he needed to be treated with IV antibiotics before undergoing surgery on Monday morning so he was admitted Sunday afternoon.
All the family is currently over in Rochester this evening so they are at the hospital bright and early tomorrow morning. Once again, we appreciate all the prayers, thoughts, and support---it means the world to us.