Ethel Lariviere is waiting to find out if she can donate part of her liver to her husband, Randy, who has been on the transplant list for over four years.
So far, she’s a compatible match and surprisingly they have the same blood type — A positive.
“I have passed all the tests so far. So far, all is good,” said Ethel Lariviere, 47, of Red Deer, on Monday.
On June 23 she will have an MRI and CAT scan to determine if her liver is large enough — her last medical test to become her husband’s live liver donor.
The couple are almost the same height, which is a good indicator, she said.
Her husband Randy, 55, was infected with hepatitis C about 20 years ago during a kidney operation. He did not find out he had the disease until 2005, when he suffered a major gastrointestinal bleed.
She said he did not have any of the classic hepatitis signs like yellowing of the eyes or skin.
The couple is also waiting to hear if they can access new drugs approved in Canada late last year that could help cure Randy.
The drugs cost $33,000 for a 28-day supply and their insurance only covers 80 per cent, leaving them with over $6,000 they can’t afford to pay.
Treatment takes 12 weeks, so they are seeking assistance from the pharmaceutical company through the University of Alberta’s Hepatitis Support Program.
“We’re waiting approval.”
Last year. Randy had to stop treatment with another drug when his body could not tolerate the medication.
Ideally, Randy would go on the treatment before his liver transplant at University of Alberta Hospital.
Lariviere said the success rate with the new drugs for people like her husband is promising.
“If he gets this treatment and I donate my liver, he has a chance of being 100 per cent cured. This time last year, he had zero per cent chance because he had no liver, he was on the transplant list, and the only medication on the market, his body rejected.”
She hopes more people will become organ donors by registering with the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry.
“(Randy) has almost passed away three times. There are so many people passing away while waiting.”
She said her husband was waiting for a deceased liver donor and was like many others who do not want their spouse to be a live liver donor.
She started compatibility testing without his knowledge in April and on May 28, she found out the results were looking good.
“I’m excited, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high,” Randy Lariviere said.
He said he’s scared because he doesn’t want anything to happen to his wife, although he’d do whatever was needed to save her.
“I’d give her my heart if I had to.”