"This has given me a second chance at life, I am really thankful."
Originally from Taiwan, Paul had chronic active Hepatitis B which affected him on an “on and off” basis for 10 to 15 years. “Back then, I had no knowledge about the disease. I didn’t even know I had it,” said Paul. “I just thought I was sick with the flu, but then the periods between each bout shortened from months into weeks. I also felt weak and lost weight.” Coupled with the lack of knowledge about the disease and transplants was also denial.
“I did not want a liver transplant – I was in denial that I would die pretty soon,” said Paul. “But then I thought, either way I am going to die, so why not.”
According to the United Network For Organ Sharing (UNOS) website, there are currently more than 80,000 on the national waiting list for organs. Paul was fortunate. Sixteen years ago, the statistic was about a fifth of what it is today – there were 16,026 on the waiting list then.
“I was pretty lucky,” he said. “I was on the priority list and received a liver within a week. On August 20th, 1988 I received a liver transplant and 221 units of blood during the nine and a half hours of surgery.”
After two to three months, Paul recovered and “got better.” These days, Paul is appreciative of those who donate organs and blood.
Although he still has to take immunosuppressant medication, Paul said he has regained his strength.