Over the years, hundreds of patients have found a new chance at life here at the Methodist Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation. Here are just a few of their stories.
Laura Criel, 23
At age 23, Laura Criel found herself fighting for her life in a Conroe, Texas hospital. Her parents, Ted and Paula Criel, were told that Laura had a 5 percent chance of surviving, and that they should say their goodbyes. Paula begged her daughter not to give up.
Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at just 18-months-old, Criel spent her childhood in and out of hospitals in repeated surgical attempts to fix and replace bones that were not growing properly. Substantial doses of arthritis medication kept her chronic pain at a tolerable level, but what Criel and her parents did not know was that this pain-relieving medication was slowly poisoning her liver.
Now, after weeks of a severe stomach illness and multiple ER visits, Criel's family was desperate to save her life. A transfer to The Methodist Hospital turned out to be their only hope. By the time she arrived at Methodist, Criel's liver had failed and her kidneys were shutting down. In an unprecedented procedure, surgeons at the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center performed a liver transplantation for Criel within hours of when she had arrived.
Still, the new organ was not a match, and Criel's body rejected it within days. But less than a week later, the perfect liver came along – just in time to save Criel's life a second time. "I appreciate all of the staff at Methodist Hospital so much, and my family does too," says a grateful Criel who has since recovered, gone back to her job at the YMCA, and is raising a healthy baby girl with fiancé Alvaro Gonzalez.
Katy, Texas resident and mother of two, Kande Fogle, prides herself on healthy lifestyle choices that include plenty of exercise and nutritious foods. So in the fall of 2008 her Cholangiocarcinoma (a rare bile duct cancer) diagnosis came as a bit of a shock.
Liver resection surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatment ensued, and it became apparent to Fogle that she needed a liver transplant and a miracle to survive this disease. She was devastated to learn that patients with this type of cancer do not qualify for transplantation, but in the spring of 2010 Fogle would receive two pieces of miraculous news. One; her cancer was in remission, and two; the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center would reconsider her for transplantation.
When the return of her cancer led to more rounds of experimental chemotherapy, young daughters Audrey and Addison became increasingly worried about their mom. Addison began to pray nightly, "God I hope Mommy gets a liver transplant."
On October 24th, 2011 Addison's prayers were answered. "Methodist called and said they had a perfect, pink liver for me," recalled an emotional Fogle. "I couldn't even wait five minutes for someone to come get me – I jumped in my car and flew to the hospital!"
Fogle recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of being cancer-free. She is now an active volunteer with the women's cancer support group at her church, is studying for her real estate license and is exceedingly grateful for the chance to continue raising Audrey and Addison. "No one was willing to touch my case except for Methodist Hospital," she said. "My first memory after I woke up from surgery is my medical team looking at me and saying, 'You are a miracle.'"
Tyrone Ivory, 48
p>Surgeons at the Methodist Transplant Center performed a rare multi-organ transplant for Tyrone Ivory on September 8, 2008—one day before Hurricane Ike hit Houston.
Tyrone, a former electronic engineer, had suffered since age 23 from cardiomyopathy (a weakened and enlarged heart), which led to liver failure several years later. In April 2008, his physicians decided he needed a transplant and placed him on the national waiting list.
In the days leading up to his transplant, Tyrone was in an Intensive Care Unit at Methodist for cardiac support. His care team included Drs. Matthias Loebe and Brian Bruckner, who performed the heart transplant, and Dr. R. Mark Ghobrial and his team, who performed the liver transplant. The doctors were helped by two teams of anesthesia doctors and intensive care specialists, along with pathologists, social workers, pharmacists, financial coordinators, and dietitians.
Just 10 days after his transplant, Tyrone was feeling better and looking forward to a life that does not revolve around sickness. "It’s a tragedy that the person who donated his organs had to die," he said. "But I’m so thankful for his gift. It’s a beautiful thing to save a life—to pass life on. I’m going to take these new parts and honor them forever."
Beverly Lanier, 50
In 2004, Beverly was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer, but decided not to accept her doctor's prognosis that she had only three years to live. She underwent two surgeries to try to remove the cancer, but when it returned a third time, she was told she needed a liver transplant. After doing some research, Beverly turned to the Methodist Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, and underwent a successful transplant surgery six months later.
Since her transplant, Beverly has not experienced the negative side effects that some patients do. In fact, her nurse had to tell her to slow down and take time to recover. Beverly feels great and is thankful for the treatment she received at Methodist.
To find out more about the Methodist Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation or to make an appointment, call us at 866-94-LIVER (866-945-4837) or send us an email.