Tyler

 

Tyler is our surprise gift. He was born just 2 days before Christmas 2014. He was a healthy little one and never had any health problems during his first year. His story is not a long one because it happened in just 3 weeks from the day he got sick to the day he received a liver transplant. I am sharing our story so people can understand how quickly acute liver failure can occur and destroy the liver.

When Tyler was 22 months old, I got a message from his carer saying that he had a bit of a temperature, with diarrhoea and vomiting. He went home early that day and stayed home with me for another few days. Early on Friday morning, we took him to Emergency because his fever was up to 40°c and he had nausea during the night. He was diagnosed with a sore throat and discharged home in the afternoon.

2 days later, we noticed his eyes and skin were a bit yellow, his stools were pale in colour and his urine was dark yellow. After telling all the symptoms to our GP, we were told to rush him to the hospital for blood tests. That was when everything started.

We waited until nearly midnight for the result, which said that Tyler might have Hepatitis A which would go away after 2-3 weeks. They discharged him that day and asked us to come back 2 days later for another blood test.

When we went back the doctor decided to keep him for a few days for further blood tests. From the second day at the hospital, he looked more jaundiced. He lost his appetite. He slept most of the time. He was completely fatigued. As a mother, I knew something wasn't right and we were told "the unwell liver makes him like this. He will get better after a couple of weeks". So I prayed that what they told me was right.

After staying 5 days in the hospital a team of Gastro doctors told me that Tyler was very sick. His liver numbers were very bad and he needed to be transferred to a hospital interstate for further tests, in case he might need a liver transplant. Not long after the terrible news, Tyler was put to sleep in ICU with many machines beeping around him. He was air-lifted straight to the new hospital. I couldn't believe what was going on.

We have always wanted to visit Melbourne but never expected that our first trip would be like this. The next day, my partner and I were asked to do some blood tests to be prepared if Tyler needed a new liver. It turns out that I was the match for him. Another day passed, we were told that Tyler's liver wouldn't recover and he was on the transplant waiting list. We then hoped for a miracle but honestly, we knew Tyler couldn't wait very long.

Early on Thursday morning, just 17 days after he first got sick, we got a call from doctor but it wasn't good news. They told us that Tyler's liver had almost stopped working and his blood was very thin due to no clotting factor. Therefore, he could bleed anywhere at any time. They were worried about stomach and brain bleeding and thought Tyler might not have enough time for the waiting game.

While I had to run across 2 hospitals to get tested for being a live donor, Tyler’s dad was always at his bed side encouraging him to wait a bit longer. At 3pm on Thursday, all the results came back that I was the right one for him. I was told to go home to prepare for the surgery the next morning. I was full of tears knowing that my son would get his second chance (Although they said that my veins are abnormal and that may risk the chance of success in Tyler's surgery, I accepted it all because I knew that he would not survive without it).

I went back to my son's hospital to tell my partner the news. They told me that Tyler already started bleeding from his mouth, nose and ears. Doctors and nurses monitored him very closely to prevent further bleeding. I told my son at his bed side "You have been doing very well, please stay strong for another night. Everything will be fine son."

Unbelievably, at around 5pm that day we received the news that there was a matching liver from a deceased donor from interstate and the lifesaving gift could be delivered to my son. A team of doctors and surgeons decided to start the surgery in a couple hours because Tyler really need it urgently. At 8pm, we said goodbye to him at theatre. We prayed all night. We waited for the call from his nurse every hour updating us on the surgery. At 4am, his surgery finished. We met him at the ICU. He made it through his biggest surgery. We were told that in only 3 weeks since the day he had a temperature, his liver was 90% dead.

Tyler is now 3 months post-transplant. We know that we still have a very long way to go but seeing him getting better every day, I believe miracles do happen. We never found out what caused his liver failure. Even though his liver was sent to the lab for tests, doctors haven’t been able to find out the cause.

I couldn't be thankful enough for everything. Firstly, thanks to the Gastro doctors at Women's and Children's hospital for making the decision of transferring him to Melbourne. Then, thanks to the doctors, surgeons, nurses and staff at the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne for the caring and kindness that they gave Tyler. And especially, I'd like to say thank you to my son's donor and his family for giving Tyler's the most precious gift of life. Without you all, we would not be able to celebrate his second birthday. We wouldn’t hear his voice or see him running around.