Back in 2014, Mitch went into the hospital for a heart cath and required a stent. He was sent home the next day, but immediately began experiencing problems. The next night he had to be rushed to the ER after throwing up considerable amounts of blood. He has since been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cirrhosis of the Liver. After an endoscopy, they told us there was a procedure called TIPS that might prevent other varices from rupturing, but it came with its own problems. After a second endoscopy, they said there were several varices on the verge of rupturing and the TIPS was necessary. If one ruptured, he could bleed out in as little as 5 minutes so there was no way he could return to being a truck driver or work at all. The TIPS procedure was performed and the problems were quickly apparent. The shunt was not filtering the ammonia going to liver and caused hepatic encephalopathy. This causes confusion, forgetfulness, frequent loss of muscle coordination, sudden drowsiness - such as talking to you and then you look around and he's sound asleep, and changes in personality such as anger and irritability. He was forbidden to drive by all of his doctors because of the danger he would present to others besides the fact he would forget where he was going. He has since gone to Emory in order to be placed on the transplant list. He has to have a CT scan every 6 months and a MRI every three months, which is unbearable for him as he is extremely claustrophobic. This is to detect liver cancer at the earliest stages because it is an inevitability with cirrhosis. His liver is currently only working at about 10-15%. Three lesions were discovered and were treated with a new form of chemo performed by shooting chemo pellets through the arteries directly into the tumor to reduce side effects. At this time, he is in remission. But having cancer gives him valuable points needed on the scale to get him a liver. Frequent trips are made to the Emory Transplant Clinic. In May of 2016, a HR rep from his employer at AirGas, decided to fire him retroactively (even though he was on medical leave) and refund insurance payments already made. He was forced to go on cobra at a cost of $1300 a month. He still cannot drive which is especially hard for someone who was a professional driver for over 40 years.
As of June 2017, they have increased his points and are hopeful that he will receive a new liver this year. Once he receives the liver he will be in the hospital (at Emory in Atlanta, GA) for 1-3 weeks. After the transplant, he will have to stay in the Atlanta area, within a few miles of the hospital, for approximately 3-4 months. In addition to the travel and lodging costs, he will need anti-rejection drugs the rest of his life.
Between medications, co-pays, cobra insurance, and travel fees, my family is really struggling. We're doing all we can but honestly aren't sure of where the money will come from for everything that lay ahead, including long hospital stays in Atlanta. We understand the financial pressures that everyone is facing and are very appreciative of any help you can offer, no matter how large or small. Please, if you can, help my father in his time of need. There are no words to appreciate our gratitude for anything you can do. God bless you.
Also, as previously stated, my father is a proud man and does not know about this. So if you share, please go under the custom section and exclude his name.
- Roland Bolin
- Roy Landrum
- Faye Metcalf
- Wendy Rosier
Organizer and beneficiary
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