Sunday, November 15, 2009

What's goin' on in there?

The other day, my mom said that I seemed more clear - alert. I agreed, I had already given River a bath, started the dishes, and when she mentioned it, I was wiping down the trash can with a Clorox cloth before I put the bag in. It was what I was doing right then that made me smile, because I was on a roll. I had taken out the trash, automatically cleaned the can and put a bag in.... 3 steps in a row that I hadn't completed so easily in months. These are the days I live for! BIG deal guys!!! - my head didn't even hurt with confusion. Lately, I have had to stare at each item for a second and then it clicks...What's this? Garbage bag. Where does it go? Garbage bag go herrre.
So below is my diagnosis along with MY symptoms (I took out the ones I don't have - please see the ALF website for a complete list) I have completed ultrasounds, MRI's, massive lab work, and physical examination for my diagnosis from multiple doctors now.

Ricki's Diagnosis and Treatment:
  • Decompensated cirrhosis - End stage liver disease: means that the severe scarring of the liver has damaged and disrupted essential body functions. -- The reason? I was born with the Hepatitis C virus, I have high blood/iron levels, mixed together with shear luck of the draw! MELD Score - 15. Treatment options - Liver Transplant by either living or deceased donor with a blood type of A or O.

Ricki's whine fest.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss (Kinda cool -- at first)
  • Nausea / abdominal pain / Vomiting (This is what started it all last August - DAILY VOMITING)
  • Spider angiomas - These are pinhead-sized red spots from which tiny blood vessels radiate. (I just recently, and very happily found out that these do go away, it just takes many months... Luckily when the ones in my eyes pop, it only takes a few days to go away, don't worry, I have found that not bending at the waist reduces the pressure that causes those to burst...Yaeh!)
  • Ascites - Fluid buildup in the legs and feet (edema) and in the abdomen (ascites). Due to portal hypertension. (This so far has proven to be my greatest nemesis!)
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy (Causes my confusion, irritation, lethargy, muscle ticks...)
  • Jaundice. This yellowish cast to the skin and eyes occurs because the liver cannot process bilirubin for elimination from the body. (I prefer to call this color - tanned)
  • Itching. Itching (pruritus) develops from buildup of bile products. (This just sucks)
  • Easy bruising (This with the extreme tan look is what gives me the nickname BB...Bruised Banana)
  • Excessive bleeding (This one scares my momma - even if it is just a nose bleed)
  • Thinning skin (making it impossible to wax) and Thinning Hair :(
  • Wasting (Malnutrition - This is what I find gives me that "models bone structure")
Ok, so what have we learned? One. Cirrhosis sucks. Two. Cirrhosis is broken down in two stages - Compensated and then Decompensated (People can live many years without even knowing they have cirrhosis) and Three. BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE! Many people can slow, stop, and even reverse damage done to the liver! Transplant is the last option. I, for one, do not want to receive a liver ahead of anyone else suffering in need - I don't want to be part of the problem... the shortage.


Sam and His Girls said...

Question? When you mentioned the blood type, does that mean the donor liver (alive or not) need to have the blood type o too? Does negative or positive play a roll in this at all? I'm really curious :)

**Ricki** said...

It is interesting stuff!! Nope, just 'A' or 'O' and the pos and neg does not play a roll in matching. :) Larry's site has more info on that. lol....

Mona said...

The surgeon takes only a part of the living persons liver, and thank God, we don't need all of it to function normally! We can have the surgery, be off work for a certain amt. of recovery time, and resume our lives as "a true hero".