Home Health Ricardo Toro, the young man who lived horrible days and ‘yellows’

Ricardo Toro, the young man who lived horrible days and ‘yellows’

Ricardo Toro turns 28 in August. Today he says that illness and transplant taught him to appreciate the value of life. Photo: Diego Santacruz / EL TIEMPO

He tells his #Health Experience after biliary atresia, cirrhosis, and a liver transplant.

Death has always been a risk in my 27 years of life. When my mother noticed a strange yellow tone in my newborn body, when I was given a few months of life after a critical surgery, and even today, being a patient of a liver transplant. That constant threat, however, has given me more strength than sadness.

I am Germán Ricardo Toro Murcia, I was born in Bogota in 1990, I am a journalist and for many days of my life, my body showed a yellow skin pigmentation. They were my yellow days, synonymous with all the problems I have suffered in my liver due to a congenital defect. 

My mother, Ana Sonia, tells me that one of the first things she noticed when I was born was skin color. He consulted several times, but the doctors of the time only managed to recommend that he give me sunbathing due to a possible deficiency of vitamin D. Nothing worked.

The diagnosis, after many rounds, decreed that the yellowing of the skin was the product of increased bilirubin in the blood by a liver disorder called biliary atresia. In other words, the obstruction of the bile ducts, by the abnormal development of these ducts; in my case, it was due to their absence.

It is worth clarifying that biliary atresia is a rare liver disease that affects only babies and the cause is unknown.In addition, as bile is blocked and does not circulate through the gallbladder, it becomes trapped in the liver, damaging cells and causing a progressive deterioration that can end in cirrhosis. In this way, with a tremendous shock, my mother learned that liver diseases are silent, painless and occur more often in older people. Children can also suffer and, because of ignorance of the family, one can walk a long way.

This happened in my first two months of life. The late detection of atresia caused chronic cirrhosis, so a surgical intervention was necessary to save my life. Death loomed for the first time.

The surgery was scheduled for November 3, 1990, and my mother decided to put everything in the hands of God. “The time for the end of the surgery was approaching; then I go to a little park not to pray, but to talk to God, and I begin to ask him what I want to know what happens in the operating room. I was there and I saw a small yellow butterfly pass by that made me jump with emotion; I understood that it was a divine message, that everything had gone well, “my mother told me.

The result was successful. The doctor came out of the surgery room with his thumb up, he had saved me. But there was never any calm water in this process because the time of life that they gave me was 5 years.

During that time I suffered from ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), so I never crawled like other babies, but like a worm, crawling; Due to excess weight, I had five hernias.The hospital was my second home. Anyway, thanks to the unconditional support of my family and spiritual strength, I exceeded those five years against medical prognoses. However, during my growth I suffered hepatitis, my esophageal veins ruptured and, as the liver had been affected by what happened as a baby, at 22 years of age the process for a liver transplant began. Death loomed a second time.

When I was 25 years old, I was admitted to the Cardioinfantil Foundation, where I underwent the pre-transplant study. I only had to wait a month from the day after I was admitted to receive the perfect donor and start the surgery that would change my life. Sadly, my fortune does not have all Colombians. Today there are 133 people waiting for a liver.

Everything went perfect, thank God, and that organ fits well with my body. I had an extensive recovery of four months. A strict routine of medicines and an even more controlled diet, as well as hygiene to the maximum, both personal and at home, to avoid a possible infection.

Now I am 27 years old and have a normal life, like many young people. I only have to attend controls every two months and take medication for life. The liquor, because of its direct effect on the liver, is contraindicated to the maximum, and that perhaps makes me different from other people of my age. All this experience taught me many things, but none of the value of life. I must confess that before I did not care if I died or not, but that event made it clear to me that life is not proper at all, but is linked to the people around us.

Just thinking that my mom, my girlfriend, my family and other nearby people would have suffered from my departure was something that marked me forever. Life changed for the better, I must admit. The brave struggle that my family fought when I was a baby, and that I later inherited, had a happy ending. The yellow days are over.

What is a biliary atresia?

It is an alteration that affects the ducts that drain the bile from the liver into the duodenum. It occurs in early childhood and results in a cluster of bile within the liver, and this, in the long run, exposes the patient to irreversible liver damage such as cirrhosis, if not resolved in time, explains Alberto Castro, internist, and gastroenterologist. It can be hereditary, genetic or due to bile duct infections, adds the specialist.


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