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12/14/2009 03:14 PM

Hello, new with some questions (of course!)..

welovedis
Posts: 4
New Member

Hello everyone!

I am awaiting what I actually hope will be an official diagnosis of fatty liver, as opposed to something worse---like cancer.

Some history..I'm a 40 year old woman, went back to college later in life and am 1 week away from taking my final exam in nursing school to be an RN. Saw my MD recently as I'm having some pain-right rib area and he said the right lobe of my liver seemed enlarged.

All LFTs are normal, and U/S just confirmed presence of larger than normal liver. CT is scheduled for tomorrow to rule cancer or other causes.

I drink maybe 1 alcoholic drink approx every 2 weeks. In the last 6 months I have put on about 25 pounds due to a back injury. I'm back to work and back is fine, but the extra weight is making it harder to do everyday things. I was overweight to begin with and this is really tough. Right now I am 230 pounds with a height of 5'6" so I know I need to lose weight no matter what. I take 2 meds daily: lisinopril for HBP (my BP on it is 117/68) and clonazepam for anxiety issues.... Also I had my gallbladder removed in 1997 after my son's birth so I don't have that to help with fat breakdown.

Anyway, my question to you all here is what does the pain feel like that you experience? I have a dull pain in my side, right under my ribs and below them a bit that usually gets worse as the day goes on. The pain sometimes will awaken me from sleep at night and I have to change position. I am wary of taking anything for the pain, even though I realize my liver is working just fine because I don't want to do anything wrong.

What would I expect to see on a CT scan? I've asked ahead of time and they will allow me to look at the scans when they are finished so I'm curious as to what I'd see, besides just a larger than normal liver--is there a darkness or lightness to it that is not the usual?

Afterwards, if this is indeed my diagnosis, what would be the expected course of treatment? I started eating more healthy since last week and am trying to incorporate some exercise, but with my final coming up next week my stress level is out of this world!

Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. My wonderful husband keeps telling me that everything will be ok, but since he had no experience with this type of health issue it is not as reassuring as it would normally be.

Thanks for reading my rambling!

Karen

Post edited by: welovedis, at: 12/14/2009 03:18 PM

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12/15/2009 12:25 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Karen,

Hi and welcome to the group.

You described the pain I felt pretty well. I always describe as it felt like my rib was boring a hole in my liver.

The treatment for Fatty liver is weight lose , exercise , Controlling Diabetes , Controlling cholesterol and tryglercides, No alcohol, Limiting some medications.

Most people with simple fatty liver do fine. And live a normal life span. About 10% will develope what is called NASH . This is more serious and can lead to cirrhosis in about 10% of patoents.

The treatment is the same for NASH patients as it is for Fatty liver patients. If it progresses to Cirrhosis complications are treated if they develope and some (not all) will need a transplant.

The most important thing is to be as healthy as possible. I know that is easier said than done But that is the Key.

I always suggest that you keep copies of all test results. Keep a binder if your health changes theses test are important.

A ct scan of a fatty liver will show a enlarged dark liver. It may also show a enlarged spleen.

I am including a link to 1 article with a picture

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Fatty+liver+ct+scan& FORM=BIFD#focal=5cf8c42f63508f219ea198d9a3bf3ce9&furl=http% 3A%2F%2Fwww.nkch.org%2Fgraphics%2Fimages%2Fen%2F1178.jpg

I am also including a link to my site for general information on cirrhosis.Many of the symptoms are the same

http://livingwithcirrhosis.weebly.com/index.html

Even a liver damaged with cirrhosis can continue to work fine for many years

Again welcome to the site and if I can be of any help please let me know

Gail


12/15/2009 12:55 PM
welovedis
Posts: 4
New Member

Thanks for the welcome Gail!

I had my CT today, but they did NOT let me look at the images as they had told me over the phone. Said they didn't want me to start asking any questions so they said from the beginning not to expect it.

Had to drink the lovely concoction, contrast injected via the IV, the whole works. Said my doc will have the report by Thurs (his day off!) but my doc said to call him tomorrow for the results so I will hopefully have some news then.

One thing that someone else brought to my attention was the annual flu vaccine & the H1N1 vaccine. I normally don't get either because I suddenly was allergic to some food items (eggs, bananas, nuts, pineapple) a few years ago and never took the chance. This year I had to get vaccinated because I live in NY and to work in a hospital here you have to at least have the yearly flu vaccine.

My allergist gave me a "flu challenge" where I was stuck numerous times to see if they could bring about a reaction (nothing happened) & then eventually given the whole vaccine. Afterward that doc said that the allergy is probably "gone" at this point and that I could get the H1N1 vaccine, which I did a week or so later.

My symptoms started about 10-12 days later. Could this just be a coincidence? I will mention this tidbit to my regular doc when I speak with him as I had not thought of any connection until my sister mentioned it.

Will post back when I hear more & thanks again for the post & the links. Gail, your story sound very scary but it seems as though you are on the right path now!


12/15/2009 03:42 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Karen,

I really have no idea. Most liver patients are advised to get the vaccine but I suppose it's possible that it could cause liver inflammation.

I am sorry that they wouldn't let you see the scans , But I'm not surprised. Make sure and get a copy of your report. from your Dr.

Keep us posted on what you find out

Gail


12/16/2009 04:11 PM
welovedis
Posts: 4
New Member

Hi again Gail-

Well, I got the call from the doctor and it is a big surprise. They found absolutely NOTHING on the CT scan. In fact, he said, based on the measurements they have my liver is not really enlarged all that much and shows no fatty tissue as expected. He said the only difference they noted (and he saw because he can access the scans online) is that my liver sits a little tilted with the right lobe lower than most people's would be. T

he only thing he can think of that is causing the pain is the fact that because the edge is sitting against my lower ribs & is causing the pleural tissue to rub against the rib. Because of my weight gain it is putting more pressure on that area and therefore I'm having more pain.

He will be following up with me every month by phone and every 3 months or so in the office and running labs to be sure. I will call if I have any worsening pain or other symptoms but for now just need to work on losing weight, exercising more and getting my cholesterol in check (right now going to take simvastatin to help low it).

I do appreciate your help and will be on the lookout for any warning signs on FLD. Thanks again-

Karen


12/16/2009 04:14 PM
welovedis
Posts: 4
New Member

Oh, and he referred me to my immunologist about the questions on the vaccines. He said because my liver function was not changed, he didn't think it had anything to do with the vaccines. The immunology doc wants to have a look-see at my scans and labs but he DID say that he has seen 2 patients with other liver disease problems that have had a poor reaction to the the influenza and H1N1 vaccines, only when done within a short period of time. He said he will pass along more info when he sees my labs,etc.. and I will be happy to post back here with that.

12/17/2009 11:42 AM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Karen,

Congratulations! What great news.

Good luck with the exercise and weight loss.

Please let me know what the immunologist says.

Gail


12/20/2009 07:04 PM
bearlie
bearlie  
Posts: 1517
VIP Member

Karen,

Welcome to the group. Much of what you said sounds very familiar. Especially the part Gail described as a rib boring a hole in the liver. My ribs do that and also bite on the stomach side.

I want to wish you much luck with your exercise and weight loss. I've managed to get my cholesterol down to 210 but my bad cholesterol is high and my good cholesterol is low so.... still much work to do.

Please keep us posted on your progress, hearing that someone else is working and succeeding is such good news.

Again - Welcome!!


12/22/2009 09:42 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

bearlie,

The "bite" you are feeling of the stomach side may be your spleen.

it's very common for the spleen to be enlarged if you have liver disease.

Gail

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