Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hey Jan Brady - My Liver Knows How You Feel

Lost in my medical story is that I also have liver disease. This has been confirmed by test results, scans and a liver biopsy. It's serious, yet I rarely think about my liver.

The only change I've made due to my liver disease is that I gave up alcohol. I had one drink in 2014 -- a Stella Artois on my birthday. 

Other than that, everything is about my kidneys and trying to stop the progression of fibrillary glomerulonephritis. The frequent tests and office visits. The expensive and experimental chemotherapy treatments. The special diets. It's kidneys, kidneys, kidneys all of the time.

My liver? I don't really give it much thought.

That changed a few weeks ago, when I saw the liver specialist at UM. During her warning that I could be headed toward cirrhosis, she gave me a pep talk about my diet.

"This is really simple," she said. "Only eat whole grains, and things like whole wheat pasta and brown rice instead of white rice."

I laughed and shook my head, knowing that my kidney doctor has me on a low phosphorus diet that has me avoiding all whole grains, wheat pasta and brown rice. The diet is completely counter-intuitive, but it's pretty standard for where I'm at with my kidney disease.

That's when I said that I wasn't going to deviate from what my kidney doctor has ordered.

And that's when I thought of The Brady Bunch - and how my kidneys are Marcia Brady.   

Jan Brady once lost her mind about "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"

If my liver could talk, I know it would whine, "Kidneys, kidneys, kidneys. I'm tired of being in the kidneys' shadow all of the time."


So what's next? I've been referred to a UM dietitian who will try to create a diet plan that will work for my kidneys and my liver. I go on March 4 and I'm actually pretty excited about the appointment.

[Big thanks to Rachel for the awesome drawing featured in this post!]