Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic liver disorder that typically affects males over the age of 30. That is why Di’Jon Thomas was so surprised to be diagnosed with PSC at 16. While the diagnosis itself was frightening, Di’Jon was more scared of the future, as PSC has the potential to lead to liver failure. It was this prognosis that encouraged her to begin the search for a liver donor. Luckily, she found one in her brother, Deontae.
About Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic liver condition that is characterized by damage to the bile ducts, which become blocked due to scarring and inflammation. Bile then becomes trapped in the liver, which leads to cirrhosis, fibrosis, and eventually liver failure. Males are typically affected by this disease, as only 30% of cases are female.
The early symptoms of PSC are fatigue and itching. As it progresses, symptoms will evolve into pain in the upper abdomen, fever, an enlarged liver, jaundice, infections of the bile duct, and liver failure. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but it is suspected to be related to viral or bacterial infection. Other possible causes include exposure to toxins or autoimmune issues. It may be connected to various forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well, as about 75% of PSC cases also have IBD.
Medical professionals do not have a cure for PSC. Doctors may prescribe medications for itching, vitamins, dietary supplements, and antibiotics. Bile duct surgery is another option, and a liver transplant may be needed if the organ begins to fail.
Di’Jon and Deontae’s Story
Di’Jon was diagnosed with PSC after she nearly fainted at age 16. She spoke of being terrified of this diagnosis, especially upon learning that it could lead to liver failure. She was placed on the national transplant list, but as her condition was not immediately severe, she was at the bottom.
After waiting for a long time without a donor, Di’Jon’s family took things into their own hands. Five family members were tested, and a perfect match was found: her brother. The siblings are two years apart and Deontae was willing to do anything it took to help his sister. He underwent a 19 hour surgery to donate a portion of his liver. The surgery went well, and both siblings are excited to work towards their futures. Di’Jon has hopes of being a teacher while raising her young daughter.
Their story shows the importance of family and staying strong even when afraid. You can help Di’Jon and Deontae through donating to their GoFundMe, which aims to pay for their medical expenses.
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