Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oops. I Spoke Too Soon

The full report on my biopsy is in. There's good news and bad news. The good news: As I noted in my last post, the fat in my liver has virtually disappeared. The bad news: Everything else.

In biopsies, liver condition is measured by grade (the extent of the disease or inflamation) and stage (amount of fibrosis, or scarring). In June 2010 my liver was grade 3 (on a scale from 0 - 9) and stage 3 (on a scale of 0 - 6). Note: Stage is commonly measured on a scale of 0 - 4; my transplant center uses a different scale.

Now, my liver is grade 9 (!) and stage 4. This sucks. A lot.

I'm having a little trouble coming to terms with this news. I'm scared. And I'm fresh out of suck-it-up. But in a day or two I'll feel better and can start working on the next thing, which apparently is IL-28 phenotype, whatever that is.

Photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Saturday, January 22, 2011

At Last! Biopsy Results that Seem Promising

Last week I had my third liver biopsy in seven months (for those who are unfamiliar, this number is well above average). The past two showed troubling results and I'm greatly relieved to receive better news this time around.

Regarding the presence of fat in my liver, I quote: "GONE :)"

That sigh of relief you heard was mine!

My liver biopsy in June 2010 showed 80 percent - 80%! - fat in my liver, which is very unhealthy and also is an inidcator of metabolic syndrome. My docs told me to lose weight and control my blood sugar better, and I did. Even hampered by the steroids I had to take after my rejection episode, which made it very tough to follow doctors' orders, I was able to keep off the weight I initially lost (the blood sugar was beyond my control, however). Nonetheless, it worked!

The lessons: Follow doctor's orders. Hope for the best and stay as positive as possible. Don't give up.

Image courtesy of

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sometimes I Get Depressed

Please pardon my absence. The past three months have been busy, but enough of that - it's time to blog again.
As of my last post, I'd experienced a rejection episode and was working with my docs to recover from that. Although I expected to have all that behind me by now, some of the challenges continue today. My blood work results are finally beginning to show real improvement, except that my bilirubin level still is not in the normal range.

It's taken a mountain of medication to get to this point. I've stopped, started and adjusted more meds than I care to count. Although I was initially expected to have discontinued the prednisone by now, I continue to take a small dose daily. I'm also taking CellCept. Additionally, my potassium and magnesium levels are low and I'm taking meds for that. In a nutshell, taking meds is like eating a small meal. And then there are the 4 or 5 insulin injections daily...

This frustrating regimen, which has been VERY slow to work, combined with the stress of the holidays has left me blue. I'm depressed. I hate feeling like this: In fact, last week I was in tears for several days. What the... ?! This week I was determined to turn the corner, so I created a "to do" list each day. Every item I crossed off was an accomplishment (something I had control over!) and the sense of satisfaction has been very helpful. Tomorrow I'm going to get a pedicure as a reward. I'm also going to try to get a little exercise.

I'm also going to do more blogging. A number of interesting research projects have recently been published and as I read up on them, I'll share what I learn.

Photo by Mattox