Trapped in limbo, waiting for an organ transplant
TRAPPED in limbo, Alan Ross is praying for a swap op miracle.
Given a stark choice by his doctor to give up the booze or die, Alan hasn’t touched a drop since 2001.
But after 17 years of following doctor’s orders, the 59-year-old was dealt a cruel blow when a routine scan discovered cancerous cells in his liver.
While the organ is functioning at the moment, if the cancer spreads outside the organ, Alan says: “I’m a goner”.
The warehouseman is now in limbo as, after two false alarms, he spends his second year on the waiting list for a new organ.
“My life has been on hold for two years,” said Alan, of Longbenton, North Tyneside.
“You go through different emotions all the time. Every time the phone rings your heart starts pounding, expecting it to be someone from the Freeman saying ‘pack your bag and get yourself here within the hour’.”
Alan has cirrhosis of the liver, caused by years of heavy drinking.
But he stopped drinking 17
years ago when told it was posing a risk to his life.
Alan said: “My last drink of alcohol was at 10pm on the 17th of August 2001. I haven’t touched it since.
“I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic, but I would go out most nights and have a few pints for about 20 years. It was a social thing.”
Two years ago, a scan discovered cancerous cells in his liver. He was put on a waiting list for a transplant and, after two false alarms, is still waiting.
Alan said: “I’m still fit at the moment. People expect me to look ill, and when I tell them my condition they can’t believe it. But I was lucky that they caught the cancer at an early stage.”
But waiting for a transplant has its drawbacks.
Alan added: “I’m stuck. I can’t go on holiday because I need to be no more than three hours away from the hospital in case I get a call to say they’ve got a donated liver.”
Plans to change the rules on organ donation consent in England are currently going through Parliament. A bill requiring people to ‘ opt out’ if they do not want their organs used passed its first hurdle in February.
At the moment in England, organs can only be used if explicit approval is given, either by signing the register or if the deceased had told a family member of their desire.
Alan said: “Obviously, I’m all for it. I agree that people should have to opt out rather than opt in to donate their organs. I can understand why some people would say ‘you’re not taking my son’s or daughter’s or whatever family member’s organs’, but what if it was someone in your family who needed a transplant? A lot of people are dying while on the waiting lists. It’s a gift, and very kind of people.”
Alan Ross is in urgent need of a liver transplant