Thursday, December 19, 2013

Positive Changes

Time for a medical update.

I've had my liver ultrasound and follow-up appointment and the good news is that there are no scary lumps or masses on the liver. [How had "liver cancer" never entered my consciousness as a possible diagnosis? Seriously! The world's biggest hypochondriac manages to stick her head so deep in the sand?]

The ultrasound did, however, show fatty deposits on the liver, indicating the creatively named "Fatty Liver Disease." I think they've given up on Latin and Greek. Actually, that's not true. The medical term for "fatty liver" is hepatic steatosis, which is basically, Greek for "liver fatification."

Non-alcoholic fatty liver - those
glow-in-the-dark globules are fat.
 This is not my actual liver.

I know. I'm as shocked as you are. Who would have thought that a diet high in processed foods and delicious fats [Mmmmmm . . . butter!] would result in a fatty organ?

Well, I would have thought that because, to my knowledge, no one else in my (literally) large family -- almost all of whom share my dietary idiocy and my body shape -- has fatty organs. Just me.

In my case, it's considered non-alcoholic because, even when I was drinking (which I have pretty much completely cut out - one glass every two weeks, and I'm not even sure that's worth it), I didn't drink enough for that to be the cause of my symptoms. The radiologist described my liver as showing "moderate" fatty deposits. (By the way, it's normal to have fat in your liver. Mine has just gone overboard.)

I should note that it is normal for a liver to have a certain amount of fat in it. What is abnormal is the size and quantity of my globules. If it goes far enough, it can cause scarring on the liver. I'm not there yet, as far as I know.

The blood work shows that the changes I've made are having a beneficial effect already, but the liver enzymes are still high. Also, surprisingly, the inflammation marker (C-reactive protein) almost doubled (in the bad direction) in the space of one month. So now we'll do some follow-up blood work in January which will include a check for Rheumatoid factor.

In good news: despite cutting Metformin out altogether (it's a blood-sugar med), my blood sugar has not changed dramatically. This may be in part because I've adjusted my diet as well as continuing the Victoza, my other blood sugar medication.

In terms of how I'm actually feeling, my joints are still stiff and sore, but it's manageable. The ridiculous overheating (sweats) and bizarre random bruises are both rare now. I have not turned on a fan in weeks.

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