2018 LIVEr Champion: Greg Hanahan
On September 25, 2017, Greg Hanahan went to the UC Medical Center with stroke-like symptoms caused by a growth putting pressure on his right facial nerve. While the ER determined that he was not having a stroke (with the symptoms being caused by the facial nerve growth), the head ER physician noticed him holding his stomach. The physician decided to order a CT-Scan of Greg’s abdomen before sending him home.
The facial nerve tumor had been diagnosed, and Greg was scheduled for surgery on Thursday, September 28th at UCMC. However, the CT-Scan indicated liver cancer, cirrhosis, and a blood clot on his portal vein that was immediately life threatening. He would most likely have died had he gone home.
Greg spent the next 10 days in UCMC stabilizing the blood clot. On October 2nd, he had surgery for the facial nerve growth. Doctors were unable to determine what had caused the growth. During his hospital stay, the UC Liver Transplant team started the screening process to qualify Greg for a transplant.
On Thursday, October 5th, he was discharged from the hospital. The plan was for Greg to have intervention radiation, finish qualifying for a liver transplant, and go to the top of the transplant list. Four days after discharge, he went into liver failure and spent the next 10 days at UCMC in a coma. Five days into the coma, Greg went on the transplant list, and just five days later on October 19, 2017, Greg received a donor liver and had a successful transplant.
Immediately, he started to get better at an amazing pace. Greg was determined to make the most of the gift God had given him, and he knew that he had to empower himself to do everything that he could and still get better. Greg feels it is through a miracle of God, the power of prayer, and the love of his family that he survived.
There were setbacks to overcome. Seizures from medication, re-occurrence of the infection around the facial nerve, diagnosis as aspergillus fungus infection that attracts the bone and tries to penetrate the brain. Even with the setbacks, Greg has improved to the point of having the ability to visit transplant patients in the hospital to encourage them and show that life will get better soon! He is now officially a UC volunteer. In 17 days, Greg went from being an organ donor to a transplant recipient. He can honestly say that 7 ½ months after transplant, he feels better than he has in many years and is able to do things for the most part that he hasn’t been able to do for a long, long time!