• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Outdoorsman Lives Life to the Fullest After Liver Transplant

April 10, 2016

patient Steve with friends after skydiving

Being diagnosed with bile duct cancer that eventually necessitated a liver transplant wasn't enough to keep Steve Woodford down for long. A South African native living in Utah, Steve is professional skydiving instructor, backpacker and canyon guide in Zion National Park. He has always lived on the edge with his active outdoors lifestyle. Getting sick unexpectedly during a backpacking trip to Belize two years ago seemed like just another challenge he had to overcome.

"My wife and I had just arrived in Belize to do some backpacking and visit the Mayan ruins, when I woke up itching, and noticed a yellow tint to my eyes and skin," Steve says. "I saw a local doctor for a blood test, urine test and ultrasound, and was told I had hepatitis C and needed to go straight home for immediate treatment. Little did I know what was to come after returning home to Utah."

Back home, Steve was evaluated by a gastroenterologist and diagnosed with bile duct cancer, rather than hepatitis C, in February 2014. He was told the cancer was inoperable and incurable. He was put on chemotherapy, underwent radiation therapy, and had a stent inserted in his bile duct, in an unsuccessful attempt to solve a drainage problem. He then had a stent inserted into the liver to drain fluid to an external bag.

A referral to a transplant center in Salt Lake City proved to be Steve's lucky break. Read the rest of Steve's story.

Read more Sharing Mayo Clinic stories.

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