Liver Recipient Continues to Do Well in Recovery

Post a Comment » Written on January 9th, 2006     
Filed under: News
WAUKEGAN, IL (January 9, 2006) – David Caspari is able to greet the new year with a new liver and a new lease on life as the result of recent transplant surgery in which another member of his church donated half of her liver.

“I’m feeling pretty good, as well as can be expected,” says Caspari. “Been getting stronger every day.”

Casperi family Caspari received the life-saving surgery in September when Donna Michael, also a member of DeerGrove Covenant Church in Palantine, donated a portion of her liver. The transplant is possible because the liver is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate itself. The donor and recipient are able to have completely new livers within weeks.

A graduate of North Park University and North Park Theological Seminary, Caspari was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) almost 12 years ago. The disease causes inflammation and scarring in the bile ducts inside the liver. After several years, the reduced flow of bile eventually causes cirrhosis, or hardening of the liver tissue, and causes it to stop functioning.

The more immediate danger is cancer of the bile ducts, which is a very aggressive cancer and is considered to be basically untreatable. The surgery may have been just in time, the surgeon advised the Casparis, as the condition of the liver was much worse than expected – the surgeon likened it to “Swiss cheese,” says Caspari’s wife, Amy. Cancer is most likely to develop in that condition.

David at first suffered a mild rejection, which he says was normal, and altering his anti-rejection medications quickly took care of the problem. “It’s good to have the surgery behind us and looking forward to life without liver complications.” David says. “It’s nice to think about life without that in the back of our minds. That’s big.”

One of his biggest struggles now is mental. “Mentally, I’m sometimes moving faster than my body is ready to,” David says. “That’s an aspect I’m still digesting.”

Even if the liver continues to be healthy, there still may be activities that David won’t be able to do, he says. “I’ve had so many dreams and plans previously, and now we’re finding the adjustment – we will have to re-evaluate our goals.”

David has been at home taking care of the family’s two children while Amy works. But she is expecting another child in early March. “We’re still trying to figure out how that all is going to work,” Amy says. “We’ll just have to take it one day at a time.”

David does know one thing about the future: “I will always be grateful to Donna.” Michael said she feels blessed because God gave her the opportunity to provide a new future to the Casparis.

The two families have become closer because of the surgery, Amy says. On the three-month anniversary of the surgery, the two families celebrated the birthday of the Casparis’ four-year-old daughter, Sarah.

Editor’s note: to read three previously published stories, please select from the following:


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