Transplant specialist breaks down what Ed Henry can expect after liver donation to his sister
Liver specialist Dr. John Galati appeared with Ed Henry on “Fox & Friends Sunday” to discuss Henry’s upcoming surgery to donate part of his liver to his ailing younger sister Colleen.
Galati met Henry through their mutual love of the New York Yankees on Instagram and said he was moved by Henry’s selflessness, and wanted to do anything he could to help. Galati works at Liver Specialists of Texas and attended St. George’s University School of Medicine. He also hosts Your Health First, a one-hour radio show on Clear Channel’s 740 AM KTRH every Sunday.
“As I announced a few moments ago, I will be donating part of my liver to my sister Colleen,” Henry said before turning it over to Galati.
“Well Ed, first I want to say, this is — your donation is probably the ultimate altruistic act of selflessness to help your sister,” he said. “I’m truly honored to be part of this discussion here with you here today and the transplant journey for your sister.”
Galati broke down what Henry could expect going into surgery and how he could best recover when he is post-op. He claimed science and technology have advanced to the point where transplants like this have been perfected and “refined.” He said Henry would wake up with tubes coming out of several parts of his body and will experience an erratic recovery.
“It is going to be a brisk recovery because you’re healthy and as you talked about earlier, you’ve really gotten tuned up. But I think the main thing is that during this recovery, you may wake up in a day or two and feel absolutely awesome, but then four days later, not feel so good,” he said.
“So for you, not only the recovery, you have to be able to deal with the ups and the downs and try to find a middle ground so that you have really good expectations, but it’s going to be a process of you to recover.”
Galati also told Henry to focus on his mental health, so he can more easily tell his body what to do, in order to facilitate a full recovery.
“You have to picture yourself that you’re going to get well first of all,” he said. “Your digestive tract is going to be a bit messed up. You’re going to have trouble with nausea and your bowels aren’t’ going to move but you have to force yourself to eat — to try to eat and take liquids … You’re going to be on your back for a day or so.”
The New York native also discussed Henry’s sister and said the longer she progresses without incident the better her prognosis, adding things will become clear on the first day, week and month of her post-operative care.
“The tough thing with her in all of our transplants — we break it down into the first 24 hours, the first week, the first month or so,” he said. “And there are all these different milestones to make sure there are no surgical complications immediately. We want to see that there’s no problems with rejection, with Ed’s liver.”
Henry‘s liver is expected to regenerate in four to six weeks and grow back to its full size if all goes well.
“The main thing is there’s going to be these highs and these lows. You have to find the middle ground,” Galati said. “Now the other thing which is different, you’re going to be tied up in a sense, recovering yourself, a couple of doors down is your sister. And so you’re going to be getting second-hand information. How is she doing? What’s happening? And you’re going to feel very insecure that you cannot go visit, and that’s really what you want to do. So you have to deal with the emotion of her getting better and her own recovery.”
Henry said his faith in God and the love and support of his family, friends, and co-workers has given him the strength and courage to persevere ahead of Tuesday’s surgery.
“But you know, the amazing thing is through God’s grace I can help, and I’m going to help. And she’s going to be great, as so will I, and Fox has been absolutely amazing,” Henry said earlier in the program.
He also wrote an op-ed for FoxNews.com, about his decision help, detailing the close relationship he has with his baby sister.
“I was praying to God for the strength to get me across the finish line. But as with any mission like this, I could not do it alone. My wife Shirley has been a rock, and my two children have shown courage far beyond their years all because they want to see their aunt get healthy, while our parents have always been such loving role models for Collen and me,” Henry wrote.
“My sister is humble, never wants to be a burden, and always tries to shoulder as much as she can on her own. So we both cried as I tried to tell her to sit back and let me take care of her this one time,” he continued.
Henry closed by mentioning a text his sister sent him when he asked if he could share the news publicly on-air.
“As for Colleen, she was a little hesitant at first about me sharing the story on Fox News. But then she texted that while she wanted to hold back on speaking publicly herself for now so that she can rightly focus on the surgery ahead, she wanted me to talk about it,” he wrote.
“‘It is truly a heartwarming story about the love & bond between a brother & sister,'” she texted him.
“And here I thought I was the talented writer in the family. Yet again, my sister blew me away with her ability to rise to the occasion at a trying time, and she reminded me exactly why I am willing to do whatever is humanly possible to make her feel even a little bit better,” Henry concluded.