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After living with digestive problems for his entire adult life, Jason Roman finally reached a point in 2019 where he needed to take the next step—a liver transplant.
The Waukesha, Wisconsin man was on the wait list for a new liver at a Milwaukee hospital, but his insurance company recommended he secure a spot on the wait list with at least one additional hospital to improve his chances of receiving a liver. Jason underwent testing with UW Health at their Waukesha, Wisconsin liver transplant clinic location and received his gift of life at University Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. “I had a feeling UW Health was going to be the place where it happened,” he says now.
When Jason was 20, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. He spent the next 10 years battling the disease, and when he was 30 and applying for additional life insurance, the nurse who performed his health screening recommended he seek treatment for liver disease. The hepatologist he saw diagnosed him with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a disease of the bile ducts. At age 33, he needed to have his colon removed, and he continued to have problems until he was placed on the Milwaukee hospital’s wait list in 2015. At the time, he was inactive, which meant he wasn’t officially ill enough to receive a new organ, but if his condition suddenly worsened, he could be ready to be activated right away. That next step occurred in early 2019—Jason’s skin and eyes were turning yellow, and he was having to undergo ultraviolet light therapy three times a week.
Jason and his wife, Meg, chose UW Health for their dual listing because they already had met some of the doctors there when they sought a second opinion about his colon removal. “At the time, we were very impressed with the doctors, staff and facility,” says Jason. “We instantly knew we would be well taken care of there.”
He received the call he had been waiting for in July 2020 when a well-matched liver become available. He and Meg called friends to care for their teenage daughter, Ryleigh, and then they drove to Madison for his transplant surgery. Because visitors in the hospital were restricted due to COVID-19, Meg tailgated out of the back of their car in the parking lot during Jason’s surgery. He was in the hospital for nine days, then returned home to Waukesha to finish his recovery.
Now, he is back to working from home full time in his job as an engineer at GE Healthcare, and Ryleigh is attending school virtually until the family can receive vaccinations for the coronavirus. “After 20-some years of battling my health, I’m finally back to what I feel is normal,” Jason says.