Dec 16, 2020 Latest post:
50 minutes ago
By the end of April 2020, Matt just wasn’t feeling well. He was treated for pneumonia in May, and some labs at an ER visit revealed that his bilirubin was quite high and he just wasn’t getting better despite getting two rounds of antibiotics for pneumonia. Two days later on May 19th, things reached a critical point when Matt lost consciousness in our home and our son Evan called 911, truly saving his dad’s life. It was during that hospitalization that Matt was diagnosed with NASH (non-alcoholic steato hepatitis), a metabolic liver disease. At that time, he was referred to Mayo Clinic to establish care with their hepatology department. He had recovered enough that we thought he may be able to control his condition through diet, exercise, and medications that help compensate for poor liver function, although we knew at that time that a transplant would likely be a reality in the future. Fast forward to August, Matt started to have more swelling and we went to the ER in Fargo to get it checked out and his labs showed that his kidney function was not great due to the diuretics he was taking to manage fluid. His kidney function continued to worsen in the hospital and he got to take a loooong ambulance ride to Rochester, where they were able to stabilize him and he went through testing and ultimately acceptance on to the liver transplant list. It has been quite a struggle mentally and physically, as Matt has been feeling unwell for quite some time, but his labs weren’t bad enough to place him at the top of the list to be eligible for a deceased donor transplant. There have been multiple ER visits, appointments to drain fluid from his belly, and recently another two week stay at Mayo at the end of October into November. They had encouraged us to reach out to find a living donor in September, and we know of at least a dozen people who filled out the initial paperwork to apply to be a donor. Mayo worked with a few of these people, and in the end my cousin Kate McDougall was approved to be Matt’s donor. We received the news the day before Thanksgiving and what a gift it is! One really cool fact is that since the liver regenerates, Matt and Kate will both have livers that are back to full size in about 6 weeks! Amazing! We are so humbled and overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received through people reaching out in so many ways. Matt is not a social media person, so I (Becky) will be doing updates throughout the process and thought a CaringBridge site would be a good way for those that want to follow to get updates. We appreciate knowing there are so many people that love Matt and our family and are keeping him and Kate in their prayers. Original surgery date was to be Dec 18th, but after a small delay (see journal entries) it is now scheduled for Dec 28th.