It is amazing how much pain you can endure when it starts small and grows slowly. For the last three months I have been on the super diet...you know the awesome low to no fat, low carb, no sugar diet. (Lost a gang of weight...at least a 1st grader.) It was an attempt to not die before my scheduled surgery. It is amazing the self discipline you can find when that is the alternative.
As the date got closer...my back ache got worse, and I started getting pains in my chest. Seems like all I was doing was walking around hunched over holding my back, sleeping and dreaming of a giant steak with a buttery bake potato. (It is the Midwest we like our staples.)
I had surgery two weeks ago. It was suppose to be a quick and easy laparoscopic, three small holes and done. He got in there and couldn't find my gall bladder. Then found that the stone was too large to fit and had to make a 4 inch cut across my abdomen above my belly button. Supper sexy. What with the scars and all that loose gross skin from weight loss I am going to be rocking that bikini this coming summer.
While the doctor was digging around in my innards he found something we weren't expecting. I know you're thinking like I was...an alien???
My liver had quite a bit of scarring. Apparently, I have this gross thing called Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH. It is where fat instead of being processed and and broken down in your liver gets trapped there and the liver reacts to the "intruding" fat by scarring. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis sounds dirty...like I had a fast and wild youth. Sadly...it isn't so. This non-viral disease in instead related to my insulin intolerance.
After the diagnoses I did some digging around and reading all the studies I can find. The doctor said that they don't really have a cure for it but have found for some people weight loss helps to slow down and sometimes stop the progression of the liver cirrhosis and eventual liver cancer. I have always had insulin intolerance even at my thinnest so I am not sure how it will help. Plus, nothing can get rid of the early cirrhosis damage that is already there. Maybe I'm bitter because my steak and potato are being postponed for a lifetime.
I will have to get monthly blood test to monitor my ATL (not a shout out to my Atlanta audience...it is a liver enzyme that is an indicator of liver health.) The normal ATL is 0-45 and a month prior to surgery mine was 90. Two weeks before surgery it was 120. I go in for testing next week to see where it is now. With my gall bladder gone there will be more stress on my liver...so I am expecting an initial climb in the number.
Another exciting thing I get to have are biyearly liver biopsies. I am not a fan of this test. First of all you have to be in a MRI or CT scan while they do it. My last experience in a MRI scan I had a panic attack, and almost clawed my way out while having a full blown asthma attack. So you can imagine the shivers of fear that raced through me when the ol' doc dropped that bomb on me. First question I asked was, "Do I get to be sedated?" He said no and looked at me like I was crazy. Just wait till I claw my way through one of his machines...then sedation won't seem like such a bad idea. My next biopsy should be in March...so a little spring break fun for me. Who needs the beach?
I feel bad dumping my sunshine on you, dear reader. But with all these life changers I haven't picked up my laptop very much..and when I have it has been in a mad search for information. I have not abandon you. But up until a week ago couldn't sit up long enough to shower much less type anything. I do have a request...
After 3 months of eating chicken/bird and it looking like it will be my food of the future...I am in desperate need of easy and tasty recipes. Would love to hear your suggestions.