Glenn Salyer – Liver Transplant Success Story

Life is better with a new liver

Glenn Salyer and his family. “If anybody’s in the market for a transplant,
send ‘em this way,” says Glenn Salyer about
The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas. Since
receiving a new liver in 2011, he can be there
for the family who has stood by him.

During the summer of 2011, Glenn Salyer reached a turning point in his life. The medicine that had kept his autoimmune hepatitis — a condition in which the immune system wages war on the liver — in check for almost 20 years had stopped working.

“My liver had degraded to the point that I needed to have a transplant,” Salyer says. “The news was devastating.”

Armond Schwartz, MD, independently practicing gastroenterologist on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, who had been treating Salyer from day one, referred him to The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas.

“The people at The Liver Institute are just fantastic,” Salyer says. “You don’t just have one surgeon — you get the whole team. They’re all looking out for you.”

Overseeing Salyer’s care was Alejandro Mejia, MD, FACS, independently practicing transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas.

“You want to be at a place where there’s a lot of experience in the physicians treating you and performing your operation, and you need a multidisciplinary team approach to get it right,” Dr. Mejia says. “That’s why Methodist Dallas’ transplant program excels.”

Waiting for the call

In the months to follow, Salyer’s health continued to decline, causing him to be hospitalized 13 times in nine months. Time was running out, and the illness was taking its toll not only on Salyer, but also on his whole family.

“My daughter was 8 at the time, and after my hospital stays, she would just sit in my lap and cry,” Salyer recalls. “She was so worried I wouldn’t come home.”

Finally, on July 1, 2011, Salyer got the call saying a liver was available.

“When I woke from surgery on July 2, the sun was shining,” Salyer says. “It was a beautiful day for me.”

Starting over after liver transplant surgery

Salyer was in the hospital for less than a week after his liver transplant, and within days his jaundiced skin and eyes were losing their yellow hues.

“Having a new liver that works perfectly well transformed his overall physiology,” Dr. Mejia says. “That just leads to feeling great and being able to resume all your normal activities.”

Such was the case for Salyer, who returned to work two months later and vacationed last summer with his family in Florida.

Looking back, he knows he couldn’t have made it without his family, especially his wife, Tammy. He’s also grateful to the organ donor and his or her family.

“Knowing that someone has to die so that you can live is very humbling,” he says. “I don’t want to take this for granted.”

The Liver Institute treats the gamut of liver, pancreatic, and bile duct disorders and diseases. Learn more about The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas.

From the spring 2013 edition of Shine magazine.