We have a date! Liver transplantation will take place on October 26, 2015 in the University of Alberta Hospital, in Edmonton. As mom I have so many different feelings, relief, fear to name a couple. As the days grow nearer I can honestly say fear is the prominent. This is such a big surgery and it isn’t one, but two, going into separate operating rooms, at the same time. Benji and his family in one part of the hospital and Lisa and her family in another part, maybe only a corridor separating them but a world apart. It’s hard to imagine the process that will take place as Lisa is prepped to receive a portion of her husbands liver that will save her life. And if I feel like this I can’t imagine what they’re feeling.
So now we all prepare, pack, get ready to make the temporary move up north. This Thanksgiving will be etched in my memory forever. So many friends, family and even strangers stepped forward and all helped to make sure that these two kids (they’re still kids to me) would be able to focus entirely on their recovery. For that I am so thankful! I found myself cooking a complete thanksgiving turkey dinner today, and the funny thing is, is that there wasn’t anyone here to eat it. I packed it all into TV dinners and I’m delivering it to Lisa and Benji tomorrow. Because Lisa’s immune system is basically nonexistent its critical at this time that she doesn’t get sick. It could mean cancellation of surgery. Right now I suppose Lisa and Benji are feeling like hermits, but I know I won’t take the chance of dropping off a cold or flu bug. So I’ll deliver turkey dinner to them. The only thing missing will be moms, (Loreen) pumpkin pie with pecan crumble top. They’ll have that next year.
All in all I know that I speak for Benji and Lisa and all of their families when I say Happy Thanksgiving. We love each and everyone of you!
A VOW TO LIVE
© Lethbridge Herald photo by Tijana Martin Benji Husband will be donating a piece of his liver to his wife Lisa Husband who developed primary sclerosing cholangitis, a degenerative liver disease. The two are set to undergo surgery in Oct. 19th and are holding “Take Part of Me,” a charity fundraising event at the Lethbridge Lodge this evening.
Husband donating part of his liver to keep wife alive
Melissa Villeneuve Lethbridge Herald
For better or for worse takes on a deeper meaning when one spouse is fighting for life. In the case of local couple, Lisa and Benji Husband, there isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for one another — even if it means Benji donating 60 per cent of his liver for Lisa to live. Lisa Husband (nee Davis) was only 17 years old when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
As a teenager, she said she was embarrassed by symptoms of uncontrollable bowels and bleeding, so she didn’t want to tell anyone. “When you’re in high school . . . you think you’re on top of the world right, and then all of a sudden it was an embarrassing disease. It was a gross disease. I didn’t want to talk about it so nobody really knew at all,” said Lisa. Eventually she told her mother, and the doctor told her she needed surgery to replace her large intestine with a J-pouch. She ended up on antibiotics every other month, at first taking more than 32 pills per day. Due to the severity of the colitis, she developed Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a degenerative liver disease, which has left Lisa fighting for her life. “Crohns and colitis, once you get to a certain point, you’re pretty much waiting to die,” said Lisa. “A lot of my friends, if they didn’t know the details, they were very confused. They would look at me and think ‘You look fine.’ They don’t see me when I’m at home sleeping for weeks straight or in the hospital. A lot of people don’t think you’re dying just because you look OK.” Lisa said it contributed to issues within the emergency room at the hospital because she looked well on the outside but was sick on the inside. At first her medical file was flagged as a “drug seeker,” she said, but letters from her doctor fixed the issue.
Lisa and Benji Husband were married on July 9, 2011. Five months after their wedding, Lisa underwent another surgery to remove the J-pouch and replace it with a permanent ileostomy. After the surgery, there were a lot of complications, and she stayed in the hospital until March 2012. “That was a pretty tough time for us actually,” said Benji. Lisa’s doctor told her to be prepared for Benji to leave, because what she would go through wouldn’t be easy for many to handle. However through every struggle, they have been by each others side.
In January, Lisa learned she was finally on the liver transplant list, and needed a donor. They began the process to find a match, and were surprised to learn Benji met all the criteria. “It’s extremely rare,” said Benji. “Really the fact that her and I even met is also rare, because I grew up in Manitoba. There are so many factors . . . the odds were definitely stacked against us. Luckily we did find each other.” When they found out Benji was a match to donate 60 per cent of his liver, everyone was “shocked.” Benji and Lisa were reluctant at first to believe that they were brought together for a reason, but this incident has renewed their faith that their love was meant to be. “That was a really emotional ride for us, but ultimately we were so relieved to find out that I was a match. We’ve done everything together. Our life has been very much together. Maybe that’s what drew us together, we have a really strong connection, and I’m a lot more sappy than she is,” said Benji, as Lisa rolled her eyes. “I call it true love, and I think that’s exactly what it is.”
Benji and Lisa are extremely grateful for all the support they’ve received from everyone. “We can make a plan for the future, because we really couldn’t before,” said Lisa. “Things are finally looking up for the Husbands,” said Benji. Both will undergo surgery on Oct. 19 in Edmonton. They will need a minimum of three months recovery time, with Lisa remaining in hospital and Benji unable to work at his job as a finishing carpenter. A charity fundraiser is being held tonight to assist the couple with finances while they both recover from surgery. “Take Part Of Me” begins with cocktails at 5 p.m., followed by dinner, an auction, and a dance. There will be live entertainment with Canadian country artist Lori Kole & Hillbilly Arms. Lori Kole has written a song for the couple titled “Take Part of Me,” which she will perform at the event. Tickets are $50, and can be purchased by calling 403-627-8397 or email to email@example.com. For more information, and to read more about Lisa and Benji Husband, visit http://www.takepartofme.net or visit “Take Part of Me Charity Fundraiser” on Facebook.