Thursday, May 5, 2016

Welcome Home Mike and Lisa

Article from Penticton Western News.

Tearful welcome for South Okanagan liver transplant patient

Mike Watson, who has been in Hong Kong for over two months after receiving a liver transplant gives his son a big hug at the Penticton airport on Thursday evening.  - Mark Brett/Penticton Western News

Mike Watson, who has been in Hong Kong for over two months after receiving a liver transplant gives his son a big hug at the Penticton airport on Thursday evening.

— image credit: Mark Brett/Penticton Western News



 
Home at last.

With tears streaming down the families face, Mike Watson ran from the Air Canada Jazz plane into the outstretched arms of his children after arriving at Penticton Regional Airport from Hong Kong Thursday evening.

“I am feeling great” said Watson. “It is awesome to be home.”

It was just over two months ago the 39-year-old was brought to the airport by ambulance, his life hanging in the balance.

At the time he was barely able to climb the steps to board the plane for the start of the overseas journey and the life-saving liver transplant surgery he couldn’t get at home.

With a small group of friends standing at the fence Watson was soon seated inside and his wife Lisa Needoba used a winter jacket to protect him from the February cold until the plane’s doors were closed.

Along with the critical care flight nurse they then flew to Vancouver where they took an Air Canada jet to Hong Kong. The couple’s tickets were one-way.

While they’ve been in Hong Kong two of their children Laila, seven, and four-year-old Shae who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone disease, have been living with Mike’s brother Spencer in Kamloops.

Aiden, who recently turned 11, has been staying with family friends in Kaleden.

“It’s incredible, I never thought this day would come,” said Aiden.

While several potential donors went with them, in the end the doctors at Queen Mary Hospital determined Needoba (as she expected) was the best match.

On March 1 after a total of 20 hours of surgery the pair who were high school sweethearts growing up in Oliver were recovering.

The portion of his partner’s liver he received is reportedly functioning very well and the future prognosis is positive.

Doctors in Hong Kong were unable to determine the cause of the liver failure which last December resulted in a sudden and massive internal hemorrhage.

But with all that behind them now, they are finally going home together.

For Mike this is not the end of the story but rather the beginning of a new chapter in the family’s future.

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