Connecticut woman diagnosed with liver failure days after honeym - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Connecticut woman diagnosed with liver failure days after honeymoon

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Becky Houle. (Family photo) Becky Houle. (Family photo)
Becky Houle and David Apuzzo. (Family photo) Becky Houle and David Apuzzo. (Family photo)
David Apuzzo and Becky Houle on their honeymoon. (Family photo) David Apuzzo and Becky Houle on their honeymoon. (Family photo)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

A local newlywed couple received an unexpected diagnosis just days after returning from their honeymoon.

Doctors said they’ve been working around the clock for David Apuzzo and Becky Houle.

Becky was diagnosed with acute liver failure.

Twelve years ago, Apuzzo said he met the love of his life. Last May, he popped the question.

The two were married on May 24.

“The wedding was perfect,” Apuzzo said. “I mean, you couldn't have scripted it any better.”

Looking back through, Apuzzo said he remembered how fatigue his 31-year-old wife was leading up to the wedding.

“We just thought, 'she's just tired,’” he said. “[We thought it was] the stress, the excitement and everything.”

What everyone seemed to pass off as a normal pre-wedding symptom turned out to be something much more.

About halfway into their nine day Hawaiian honeymoon, Houle started to notice that the whites of her eyes were turning yellow.

“I finally spoke up and said, 'What's going on?'” Apuzzo said. “She told me she was doing a little bit of research on her own and it might be her liver.”

After returning to Connecticut, Apuzzo said he took Houle to the doctor’s.

Less than 12 hours later they received the news.

“They said ‘We got your blood tests back, you need to go to the ER,’” Apuzzo said.

Seven weeks and one hospital transfer later, Houle remains in the ICU.

“You want to get married, you want to go on your honeymoon, you want to start your life together,” Apuzzo said. “And we're starting our life in the hospital.”

Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Dr. David Mulligan said he’s been closely monitoring Houle’s condition.

“Something happened to Becky that she was exposed to. That, we don't really know,” he said. “It caused her liver to develop a disease that continues to fail.”

Apuzzo said he’s perplexed as to how this could have happened to his wife.

“She's very conscious to what she's putting into her body working out, eating right,” he said. “[She] doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs.”

He said suddenly, “for better or worse” began to take on a whole new meaning.

“You see how well she's doing and how she feels,” Apuzzo said. “But the insides are telling a different story. And that's what's scary about it.”

“There's a lot of factors that just aren’t recovering,” Mulligan said. “And if this is the course she's going to be going down, we need to make sure we get the transplant before it gets too late.”

There are more than 122,000 people on the waiting list for solid organ transplants in the U.S. About 1,500 of them are in Connecticut.

Every day, 22 Americans die because they are not enough organs available.

“That's why we have to think about things like living donation as a potential solution to really save lives,” Mulligan said.

Houle, who has a rare B blood type, just found out she can receive a liver from a living donor.

“The liver has this amazing capacity to regenerate,” Mulligan said.

Doctors said they are able to take about 50 to 60 percent of a donor liver and give that to a recipient. It could happen in as little as six to eight weeks.

“It actually grows and reproduces cells, and grows to a full-size organ and is fully functional,” Mulligan said.

As Houle awaits her match, she and her husband said they’ve committed themselves to raising awareness of the importance of becoming a donor.

“We're going to give back, because everybody has given us so much that we want to do something good,” Apuzzo said.

To read a complete transcript of the interview with Mulligan, click here.

Doctors said Houle can receive a live donation from someone with O or B blood and is in her age group. For more information on how to becoming a live donor, click here.

Also, the couple’s friends have set up a GoFundMe account, which also has daily updates on he condition. That can be found here.

To register to become an organ donor, click here.

For more information about donor and transplant resources, check out neob.org and transplantliving.org.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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