Sudbury man ready to undergo live liver transplant

Doctors recently told Sudbury’s Steve Matusch that he between 18 months to two years to live due to colangiocarcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer.

Steve Matusch set to undergo experimental transplant in Toronto

Steve Matusch was told recently that he has between 18 months and two years to live. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Doctors were giving Sudbury's Steve Matusch between 18 months to two years to live due to colangiocarcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer.

"To be quite blunt about it," Matusch said. "I met with a doctor here who said that nothing can be done."

"But as my wife will tell you I'm a rather stubborn individual," he said. "So I went home and I said 'okay, well where do we go from here.?'" 

So Matusch embarked on his own search to see if there were other options.

Matusch eventually learned he could be a part of a new Canadian co-trial with American facilities in Toronto and is a candidate for a liver transplant. 

"I met with a doctor there who said 'historically we do not transplant for this condition because it has proven to not succeed. The cancer comes back'."

"However there there's been some recent studies that showed that if you catch it early enough and if you meet certain criteria it can actually be transplanted successfully," Matusch said. 

"And she said that I'm young, I'm fit, I've generally got a positive outlook. So she figured I'd be an ideal candidate for it."

'It totally floored me'

The difficulty is that the transplant would have to come from a live donor.

Matusch said he can't believe someone would be kind enough to donate part of their own liver.

"It totally floored me, you listen to the news every day and the world seems kind of like a crappy place, but you realize how kind people can be," Matush said. "It absolutely floored me."

"As much as the day was difficult when I was told that I have 18 months to 2 years, the clouds parted. There is the opportunity.  Maybe I'll see my kids grow up," he said.

He said that that the actions of a friend even changed his perspective. 

"I was with my running friends at the gym and they knew I was going through some difficulties and asked me what was going on," Matusch said. "I explained the situation."

"I have a good friend whose wife passed due to cancer earlier this year. And he looked at me and he said 'Steve I'm number one on the [donor] list and I said 'No I can't ask you to do that.'"

"He looked at me and said Steve if a year ago you were in a situation where you could have done something for my wife, you would have done it without the slightest hesitation."

"Then you realize how many people out there you would do that for, anyway."


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