Commissioner Jack Walker returns to work

Commissioner Jack Walker returns to work

Less than two months after a liver transplant, Jack Walker is back on the job, attending his first regular Jackson County commissioners' meeting Wednesday.

Even though he feels better, the 68-year-old Phoenix resident participated by phone in a meeting later in the day on a land-use issue because he tires easily.

He said his energy levels have fluctuated wildly since the surgery.

"I'll just feel terrific," he said. "I really feel like getting involved. Two hours after being in the office I start getting sore. They just about cut you in half to do that surgery."

He said the pain has actually worsened as nerve endings regrow and muscle tissue mends back together.

Walker said he first went back in the office last week and attended a study session with other commissioners on Thursday.

Walker, who is in his 14th year as commissioner, has Crohn's disease, which causes a wasting of the intestines and afflicts about 1 million Americans.

In 2005, he suffered complications from surgery to remove a 6-inch section of intestine. Since then, he has been diagnosed as a diabetic and was placed on a liver transplant waiting list. The surgery was performed the day before Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday night, Walker planned to participate in the hourlong "Ask the Commissioners" show on RVTV.

Because of his weakened immune system, Walker said he still tries to avoid people who have colds. He has two blood tests taken every week to make sure his liver is working correctly.

With greater clarity and more energy than he's had in a long time, Walker said the new liver appears to be working well.

Walker is still thankful to the unknown person who donated the liver.

"You end up with this feeling that's almost spiritual of having a part of someone else's body inside of you," he said.

He plans to slowly build up his work schedule, attending meetings by phone if he has to and avoiding situations in which he could become fatigued.

But he said he wants to dive back into county business as much as he can.

"I'm going to participate in virtually everything," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or

Share This Story