St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Autumn Tale: Battling Back from Inflammatory Disease (part 3)

You can read Part 1 and Part 2 by scrolling down beyond this post if you've come to my homepage; or by going to Here Part 1, or Here Part 2.

As my autoimmune disorder journey continued, eight weeks had passed by the time I met for the second time with the gastroenterologist in his office. During those weeks, the nurse called me with testing and lab work, and finally the liver biopsy had been scheduled.  Another five days passed and the call came to begin medication.  By the time I met with the doctor, I had thirteen days of medication behind me and blood work scheduled for the very next day. 

As I sat down with the doctor it all became rather surreal.  I was hearing things like:  Stage 2 liver damage, and Stage 3 inflammation, a prominent lesion, a little cirrhosis of the biliary ducts, and "chronic."  Chronic.  This wasn't something that had just happened the last six months, or last, this had been slowly happening for a number of years.  Sigh. 

The doctor asked about my autoimmune thyroid disorder.   Fifteen years ago it had been diagnosed.  I only went of medication for it in the last four years.  He felt the liver inflammation may have been going on for quite a number of years also; maybe sometimes I didn't feel good, maybe sometimes I didn't notice.  At times I may have thought I had a virus. 

The course of treatment.....To continue to take the medication and get blood work, and eventually wean off the steroid, but continue the immunosuppressant a while longer.  More blood work all along.  The blood work would tell all.  The trick would be if the disorder will "stay" in remission once the medication/medications are withdrawn.    

I left both hopeful but yet fretful.   Liver damage, that just rang in my ears for the longest time. How an autoimmune response can turn against it's own body tissue destroying it.  At least they knew what was happening, but it seemed so bleak when I really thought about it.  Yet, there was: remission.  For how long?  The doctor said, it is any one's guess, as every one is different, and this actually not as common as your usual liver ailments.  

In the meantime, I had already begun to change my diet based on the recommendations of the Paleo Mom and the autoimmune protocol diet plan.  I could see that many things I had previously eaten in abundance were likely culprits to this kind of disorder.  I studied more about the food plans and was determined I would at least eliminate the foods to be avoided and give it my best try.  After all, I wanted healing and I definitely wanted to feel better and stay in remission once the medicine was withdrawn.   I downloaded the book onto my Nook eReader: The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body, by  Sarah Ballantyne, PhD

And so this is where I am.....after 3 weeks, on a different diet plan, and taking the medications daily.  My morning schedule has changed dramatically -- as it started with coffee each morning. My sleep schedule, likely a side effect of the medicines has altered also, 4-5 hours a straight sleep is about all I  can manage - then I'm quite awake!  

Once I got a little energy back, definitely due to the steroids, I was able to pay more attention and detail to actual cooking from scratch. (the fatigue was quite overwhelming!, it was hard to cook, and nap at the same time:)  Now, that I'm at least back in the game, low/no sodium, low/no sugars (most due to the steroids); I keep my plate plain and simple.  I do like the variety of fresh foods I can eat, so that's always a good thing.  I have avoided raw veggies at this point because my digestion is so poor - -so I do need to steam or cook vegetables.  I can do some fresh fruits, like apples and bananas and I can do some canned (no heavy syrup or added sugars) or frozen fruits also. I have added in more fish choices, which I enjoy anyway.  So far, so good.  And herbal teas have become my standby, although I have had a cup of coffee here and there, but certainly not every day, or every week.  

Highlight of the last week:  that blood work I had the very next day after the doctor visit.....well, it came back with much improved liver enzymes levels.  The highest level tipping upwards of 3,000, (the cut-off is 49)  was down into the hundreds.   One level was only 1 pt above the cut-off, (remarkable!), and one level had already gotten into the "normal" range.  Praise God. 

 My journey has by no means ended.  In the weeks ahead I will be returning to this health issue on my blog and sharing with you my progress.  I ask that you keep my in your prayers as I navigate this difficult time of my life.  Thank you for reading, and thank you for thinking of me! 

Blessings ~   

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