My Liver, My Liver, My Life!!

I think we would all agree, at last most of us over the age of 40, that losing weight and trying to stay healthy becomes more difficult as we age.  Our metabolism slows, our activity slows for the most part, and we do not have the energy we once had.  Then the numbers on the scales start to creep up.  We might not notice at first.  Then one day we try to put on a pair of pants and they are just a little tight.

When this happens, we stumble into the bathroom, drag out the scales and dust it off.  Then we take off anything that might have any weight to it at all and step on the scales.  As we look down we scream “HOLY MOTHER OF BACON AND EGGS!!!!”

Over the last few years I have become more and more aware of what I’m eating.  I try to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed prepackaged food.  BUT!!  This is not always easy.  It takes planning and a conscience effort.  Therefore, I slip.  Once I slip, it starts a landslide and before you know it, I am in the drive thru for breakfast and lunch.  I think I am doing well because I’m eating a home cooked dinner at night.  WRONG!!

Like most generally everyone else, I have yearly blood work done.  So on July 10th I woke up, skipped breakfast, and took my rather large hinny to the doctor’s office to have blood drawn.  It’s no big deal.  I’ve been doing it for years.  Everything always comes back well within the normal range.  I consider it a hoop to jump through to get my medicines refilled.

A week later on July 17th, I return to the doctor’s for the results and my annual chat with my healthcare provider.  My name was called and of course, the first thing you see as you pass into the doctor zone is the scales.  For the past few years, my weight has pretty much been the same.  It’s not a good number, but its one that I had become accustomed to.  When I stepped on to that scale and the number popped up, I became weepy.  I was a full 13 pounds heavier that I was before.

While the nurse was taking my blood pressure, my temperature, and asking the standard questions, it was all I could do not to curl up into a ball in the middle of the floor and cry.  How had it come to this?  I’m HUGE!!!  Bigger than I have ever been in my entire life.

As I waited for my doctor, I had a little chat with myself.  “You’ve got to turn this bus around while you still can!!”  By the time the doctor entered, I had formed a game plan in my head to get myself organized.

She informed me that some of my results were “troubling”.  All of my cholesterol levels had nearly doubled except for the good cholesterol and it had dropped.  However, that wasn’t the part she was worried about.  My liver enzymes were elevated to a level that required some attention.  These were indicated on the report as AST 66 (normal is under 40) and my ALT was 124 (normal is under 45).  She quizzed me on my alcohol use, my Tylenol use, and some other things.

She wanted to run the liver enzymes again to be sure that it wasn’t a lab error.  That pretty much told me that this was a problem.  Another week passed and that result came back:  AST 78 and ALT 145.  Higher than before.

She told me that more than likely I have a fatty liver, probably caused by a poor diet.  All I could think was “I am so fat that now the fat has nowhere to go but on my internal organs.”  She said the next step was to do an abdominal sonogram.  If it were a fatty liver, they would be able to tell from the sonogram.

I got a call Wednesday that they had the results of my sonogram and the doctor wanted me to come in.  I went that afternoon.  She said my kidneys, gall bladder, spleen, and pancreas look very good.  BUT my liver was fatty, very fatty.  It was determined to be “moderate to severe hepatic steatosis, severely limiting evaluation of the liver.”

Therefore, the next step is to go to the gastro guy to do more extensive blood work and possibly doing a liver biopsy.  She said it was important to do the follow up and find out exactly what is going on with the liver.  If it is caused from a poor diet (she said she could count on one hand the number of people who had this problem because of alcoholism and everyone else was caused from a poor diet) than it is completely reversible with a change in diet.

The good news is that on July 17th, when I walked out of that office I was already determined to change my wicked ways.  I will admit that I went to El Fenix for lunch that day and drowned my sorrows in a plate of Mexican food.  But when my feet hit the floor the next morning I was determined to change my ways.

So I am happy to report that after turning over a new leaf on July 18th I have lost – so far – nine pounds.  That’s nine pounds in 2 weeks.  If you’re interested, I will be talking more later on what I’m doing.  I really didn’t mean to go on this long.

However, this liver thing really threw me for a loop.  After all, you only have one liver and does a lot to keep your body running.  This problem is completely and totally my fault.  I take full responsibility for it and hope to correct it one small step at a time.


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