Roger Nielsen

First post: Jul 2, 2017 Latest post: Dec 7, 2017
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Roger was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2012 on a routine annual physical.  After more tests and some poking & prodding, he was referred to the Gastroenterology folks at Health Partners Specialty Clinic in St Paul, MN.  They discovered he had stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver caused by the Hep C virus.

They started him on their current treatment plan, Interferon and Ribavirin.  He had severe complications from this treatment and went out on work disability.  Unfortunately after almost 6 months of treatment, they stopped, because he was just not responding.  Roger has the less common Genotype of Hep C.  Genotype 3.  Genotype 1 is the most common in the US.  Not only complications but became permanently disabled because of the side effects of the drug treatment.  Peripheral neuropathy, hand tremors, brain fog and balance coordination.  He became depressed and reached out through therapy sessions.  Through all this, he remained sober and continued attending AA meetings.  After some time, he found acceptance of his condition and waited for the scientists to come up with some new forms of treatment.  His liver, while cirrhotic, was still functioning well enough for a good quality of life.

Fast forward to 2016, when another Hep C treatment of Harvoni and Daklinza+Sovaldi was offerred to him.  After 3 months the virus cleared only to return within 3 months.  Also during this time, they also discovered Roger had developed Liver cancer.  Fortunately because they were monitoring him so closely, they caught it early and was simply treated with an ablation procedure and was removed.

He was then referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN for possible acceptance into the Liver Transplantation Program.  At first we were devastated, thinking that was the ultimate death sentence and at the same time found a glimmer of hope.  We thought because Roger had not cleared the Hep C that he wouldn't be accepted into the program.  On the contrary, we were told that he was in excellent shape with the exception of his liver and he would be able to accept a donated liver that had Hep C... a gift that would otherwise not be acceptable to anyone else.  So in December of 2016 he was activated in the transplant system.

On June 7th, his MELD score (determines how far up or down the severity scale) was raised to 28.   And the evening of June 28th we received the call with an offer of what they believed to be a perfect fit for liver transplantation.  And at 5:30am June 29th he received the gift of a new liver.  What is so amazing is that the procedure went off without any incident.  As a matter of fact, he did not require any additional blood during the surgery and equally amazing that instead of his blood and liver numbers declining as is usually the case, his body responded positively and the liver started immediately doing what HEALTHY livers do.

Our hope is to be able to reach out to the family who graciously gave Roger the gift of a new life.

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