Archive for July, 2007

Liver Pain

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

I still get liver pain – regularly and fairly frequently.

I first experienced this pain shortly after I was diagnosed five years ago. At first I thought I was just imagining it or was just ‘favouring’ my liver now that I was aware I had a serious illness. When it began to occur off and on over a few weeks, I accepted it was actually because my liver was ailing. Then I became frightened about it. Surely something serious was happening, confirming my new fears that I would die of this disease. When I finally managed to speak to someone in the hospital (my first clinic appointment hadn’t taken place yet) they were less than concerned and I was somewhat reassured by their indifference to my new pains.

It has now been 21 months since I completed 48 weeks of combination therapy treatment. And 31 months since I cleared the virus (in Week 12 of my treatment). There is no inflammation in my liver – according to my regular Liver Function blood tests. My ALT (an enzyme secreted when the liver is inflamed) is at level 17 (normal is 0-40). It has been this sort of level consistently since I completed treatment.

However, at times I experience a dull ache in my liver area. Other times I sense a sharp pain that comes on quickly. The whole area can become tender to the touch. This doesn’t happen every day – but several days a week.

I was concerned enough to discuss it with one of the GP’s at my surgery practice a few months ago. She expressed some surprise at how tender the whole area was to the touch. She arranged a sonar scan as I wanted to rule out the possibility of liver cancer. She said she doubted that there is cancer but was agreeable to eliminating this as a possibility. I had the scan the day before I went to the US for a month. The scan technician said there was nothing to worry about, so I haven’t been back to the GP – to be told the same thing. (And I am assuming if the final report contained something concerning the GP surgery would surely contact me.)

So, medically checked out – no liver cancer, no inflammation, no obvious explanation for my experience. It’s something I now live with. I don’t have Hepatitis C but I still have some of the trappings.

It’s also something that people who do have Hepatitis C live with. It is a symptom common to many. A good number of people speak of experiencing pain in the liver area. Various people have described it:
• like an ache located from the upper right hand side of the body through to the back shoulder blade
• like a pulled muscle that never goes away
• Sometimes it’s more noticeable than others and when it aches I get tired
• like having my ribs pinch the inside of skin and the only way I find comfort is to stand and walk around.
• I did not realize where this pain was coming from until I had my biopsy
• a gripping sensation or ache on right side for over 10 years

Most doctors will tell say you can’t feel pain in your liver – there are no nerves to feel pain. Someone’s doctor, however, added there are two nerve endings in the liver, one of which goes to the right shoulder. (Pain in the right shoulder is often reported after a liver biopsy)

The GP I saw recently acknowledged that liver inflammation can cause discomfort which can be experienced as pain. That my liver is not inflamed and yet I experience an ache or pain is a mystery to the GP. And me.

But there it is. One way I try to deal with these aches and pains. I regard them as ‘growing pains’ that indicate my liver is healing and re-generating. It’s better (healthier) to focus on a positive rather than a negative thought.

If you experience an ache or pain in the liver area it is of course something to bring to your medical team’s attention. But like me (and others) you may not get a reassuring and certain medical response. This can lead to varying amounts of worry and anxiety. I am writing my thoughts and knowledge on liver pain today to say you are not alone in your experience. While that won’t make the aches and pains go away I hope it is of some reassurance that it is a very common Hepatitis C symptom.

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Two Days

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

I found this somewhere or other on the net (can’t remember or I would give a proper acknowledgement…..)

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There are two days in every week about which we should not worry – two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.
The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow with its possible adversaries, its burdens its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise either in splendour or behind a mask of clouds – but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it as yet unborn.
This leaves only one day – today. Any man can fight the battles of just one-day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities – yesterday and tomorrow- that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives men mad – it is remorse or bitterness for something, which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.

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This reads like a fitting philosophy for modern-day living. It is also the message which Tibetan llamas have been teaching for centuries, that meditation aims to achieve and that many therapies, such as Person Centred Therapy implemented by Carl Rogers decades ago, are based.

When ideas from different disciplines and philosophies coincide and speak a common message, that is surely the hallmark of a universal truth.

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The Hepatitis C Forum

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

This message is for regular readers of this blog, for those who have arrived here looking for my Hepatitis C Forum through a search engine or a link from another site.

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