Hello fellow genealogists and history buffs.
You have probably noticed that the Chateauguay County GenWeb site has not been updated for some years. I apologise for that and for ignoring any emails you may have sent me requesting cemetery pictures, etc. Let me explain the circumstances (and excuse the gory details).
A little over 2 years ago, my family doctor diagnosed a serious problem with my liver and referred me to the specialists. After many consultations and numerous tests, in December 2011, I was put on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Normally the wait for a suitable organ can take many months or even years.
I was extremely lucky. Just after New Years Day 2012 (One month after being put on the list), I got the call. Rush into the hospital, wait until they decide if the donated organ is good, then get cleaned up and rushed to the operating room. The next thing I knew I was waking up in the ICU with a VERY LONG incision line across my belly. Then a couple of weeks recovery, plus a period in a rehab (during which I got a hernia) and I am home, a month after I got the call.
Now 9 months after the operation, I am feeling much better. The hernia has been fixed. My life has been reoriented in view of the various restrictions that transplant recipients have to put up with. I am back to work on history projects. (Note: it was the various history projects that I felt I wanted a chance to finish if possible that was the motive to agree to join the transplant program.) I am starting to work on this site updating it and trying to answer the emails. Be patient.
You are probably wondering what caused the liver disease I had and are too polite to ask. I have no trouble talking about it, I even promote liver awareness to the public. There are more than 100 liver diseases and 21 or 22 of them can only be treated (not necessarily cured) by a transplant. Many people think that liver failure is mainly caused by alcohol abuse. The fact is that alcohol is the number 3 cause at about 5-10%. The two most frequent causes of liver failure at 30% each are Viral Hepatitis C and the one I had which is commonly called "Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease" but the doctors refer to it as "Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis" or NASH. The researchers don't know yet what is the real cause of NASH but one of the risk factors is being overweight (BMI greater than 30). If that is the only cause, there are a many, many millions of North Americans at risk for it and that is very worrying to the public health people.
My experience is not something I would wish on anyone else but as I say to people who ask how I am, "It is better than the alternative".
One last request. Everyone PLEASE sign your organ/tissue donor consent card, form or sticker (whatever is appropriate in your area). There are thousands of people of all ages in our society who are waiting for a chance at a future extension of life. Some are dying while they wait. Think of it as passing the Torch of Life on to others when you can no longer use it. Don't think that you are too old, the oldest liver donor here in Quebec was 88 years old. Most important, discuss it with your family since without their consent a donation will not happen.
If you have other questions about my experience, feel free to contact me.
Web-Master of Chateauguay (QC) GenWeb site
history and genealogy researcher.