A Story of Inspiration
There are occasions in life when we are given the opportunity to unveil the hero within ourselves. For Erika Blumberg, this opportunity came last June when her beloved stepfather was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Erika’s biological father had passed away and her stepfather had always been a great support and father to both her and her son. When he was diagnosed with cancer, she knew within a very short period of time what she needed to do. In order for her stepfather to have the best possible chance of survival, he would need a liver transplant from a living donor. Unfortunately, the donor waiting list was long and the expected waiting period could jeopardize his chances of recovery. Knowing the sacrifices she would need to make, Erika bravely made the decision to become that donor.
In order to become a liver donor, Erika would have to go through numerous tests to qualify and prepare for the procedure. To start, she would have to be a blood match. She had a thorough evaluation process including required meetings with a social worker, psychiatrist, and hepatologist. She would also have to undergo medical testing, including an MRI, and many additional blood tests. The procedure would include having her entire left lobe taken (about 36% of the liver, in her case). She would also need to have her Gallbladder removed (routine in liver transplants). The surgery would take approximately 5 hours. Despite the medical risks she would herself endure, Erika felt that the “chances of risk for her were small” compared to the chances of risk for her stepfather without the transplant.
Erika was approved as a donor and underwent surgery this past February. Erika is healing well and recently returned to work. She still feels some fatigue but, overall, is doing fine. Her stepfather is still in the recovery process at the hospital addressing other health complications but is, happily, cancer free.
Erika is pleased with the outcome and wants people to know that “people can donate organs and live to tell about it”. In fact, many people may not be aware that the liver is the only organ that can actually regenerate itself. Erika’s liver is expected to grow back within 3 months from the date of the surgery.
Erika currently lives in NYC but comes to Woodstock every weekend. She and her husband, Gregg, hope to live in Woodstock full time someday. Neal and Josh originally met Erika when she came into the Woodstock Apothecary seeking advice and supplements to help her with her liver recovery. Her story of bravery and selflessness was too good to keep to ourselves.
Our hats go off to you Erika! We are truly inspired.
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