My Horrible 2014 Continues: Fatty Liver Edition

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[NOTE:] This is a very personal article and one that has nothing to do with living in Romania. I just felt the need to write it and get it out of my system.

Earlier this year, I was saying that 2014 seems to be one of the worst years in my life. After an amazing 2013 when I was doing great in all areas, 2014 debuted with a big hit and I’ve lost almost half of our income. I was tired and depressed, stress was sky rocketing and I was starting to feel worse and worse. Then other problems came to bring more stress to my life: my accountant messed up some papers and I was expected to pay some huge tax this year (eventually, things got solved) and other minor things that kept me reminding that it’s a bad year, after all.

I was hoping that things are getting better: we managed to purchase an apartment in Romania, we had a great vacation here in Romania… but nothing was flawlessly perfect: the apartment renovations ended up costing a lot more than anticipated, so we’re on a really, really tight budget now (more on this in a future article); during our vacation, a fire started in our hotel, just two doors away from hours (it was a minor thing, but it was still pretty scary), so I couldn’t really enjoy everything. Still, things were getting better.

Or at least so I thought, until I decided to visit a doctor and run some tests because after the partying and crazy eating during our vacation, I wasn’t feeling very well. Except for the blood tests, they recommended an ultrasound, which I accepted. When I heard the doctor who gave me the ultrasound start seeing things, I felt that the sky has collapsed on me: liver’s a bit increased, there’s fat inside, fat inside the pancreas and many medical terms that I couldn’t understand. I was shocked.

In the end, the diagnose came: I have a fatty liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, I found out after doing some research – although here in Romania they don’t seem to differentiate between the two). The ultrasound doctor told me it’s in stage one and nothing to be extremely worried about, while the specialist doctor told me it’s in stage two out of three. She explained that after stage three, it can evolve to cirrhosis and something even worse that I don’t even want to write here. A biopsy was needed. I was insanely scared. Biopsy equals very bad things in my books. When I got home, I simply couldn’t hold it and I started crying like a little baby. I was going to die. (Of course, no doctor told me that, but our mind has a great gift at drawing conclusions).

So in my mind, it was a disaster. And all that pain came from one major problem I was seeing as a result of the fact that I was going to die soon: I wasn’t going to be able to see my little baby grow. I wouldn’t get the chance to enjoy all those first moments with him and with my beautiful wife, I would leave them without some extra income, without a father. All these problems that my disappearance would’ve caused to the ones I love the most, these were more painful and scary than the tragic think that I felt was coming. These thoughts simply tore my heart. It was horrible and it certainly was one of the lowest moments in my life.

However, after I managed to get over this initial shock, I decided that I will not go down without fighting the best battle I can fight. Things started to add up: there was a new (but insanely expensive) blood test that could’ve been done instead of the biopsy to calculate the exact amount of damage inside my liver. People on the internet said that they were able, after solid and prolonged extreme dieting, to get healed and reverse the stage 2 fatty liver. I had the will to keep fighting and I still have it: it’s survival instinct, it’s more than that. It’s horrible, but I have to do it and hopefully I will be able to heal it. I read hundreds of articles. Diets. Opinions. One book about the fatty liver. And I still read and learn. Thank God for the internet!

Today I got the tests for the “biopsy,” together with the other blood tests. The conclusion was that things are a bit better than the specialist had anticipated and I am not in the second stage of the fatty liver, but in the first one and this should have no impact on my life. Actually, most of my results were still in the “OK” zone, which gave me an extra boost of confidence. The specialist says that I can’t get cured, but with dieting I can keep it at this stage for a very long time. But I actually plan to reverse it. So I really hope that God and all the people near me will give me the strength to do it. I want to do it.

This probably marks my rebirth.

I am dieting for almost ten days now and it’s not easy. I am not allowed to eat anything fried, no fast food, nothing with too much fat. No alcohol at all, not even non-alocholic beer. I have to reduce the meat intake and increase the veggies and fruits. I am not allowed to eat anything that has preservatives, no soda, no sweets. Basically, I say that if there’s something that tastes great, I am not allowed to eat it. And it’s difficult. Even though I consider myself a moderate drinker, I did enjoy a beer every now and then, during the evenings, after a long day, when it’s still hot outside. It’s difficult to look at all the booze that I have stored in the house, the whiskey and the wine, the beers and the soda, canned things that I am no longer allowed to eat. And I think it’s only going to be even more difficult in a couple of months. Which makes me sad. It makes me really sad, actually, but these are nothing but tests of my power of will.

And when my motivation is living near my family for as long as possible and seeing my son grow and helping him become a better man… well… then nothing else matters!

I have a fatty liver. I’ll do my absolute best to cure it!

12 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Calin:
    I can relate to you in some respects. When I found out I had Hepatitis B, I thought the world would end. I went on a crying jag, too. Then, I found out my blood pressure was so high, I was close to having a stroke! Thankfully, you are young enough to control your liver disease. You caught it in time, and with your can-do spirit you will control it. I hear you about dieting, too! So MANY things I crave are bad for me. I miss my pizzas, Fruit Loops, shrimp salad, chile con carne, liverwurst (no pun!), and all the other things I used to indulge in. I never really acquired a taste for alcohol (fortunately!) because I’d probably be an alcoholic by now;-)
    Also, you’ve got Wife Romanian, who is a wizard in the kitchen, to keep your diet on track but still keep it tasty. Even Baby Romanian’s Gerber baby food isn’t all bad;-)
    So, are you staying at your old place, and spending the days working on your new place? (I guess this will be covered later.)
    I hope your sharing of your malaise will help you to stay well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Looking forward to more stories in the weeks to come.
    Your American amigo,
    ~Teil

    • Hello Teil,

      Sorry to hear that you have health problems too. Guess we live in an age where perfect health is difficult to come by. I also have high blood pressure (docs believe it’s stress based) but I am keeping it under control so far. I guess I’m not the only one who has to diet and not eat all the things I’d like to and since others do it, I can do it as well!

      Yes, we’re currently at the old place since we just got the kitchen installed (last week we had nothing in the new apartment, not even a sink) but I hope that by September, we’ll be ready to move in there. An article on this is coming soon!

  2. I can highly recommend salads. 1 year ago, I hated them. But as you get older it becomes harder to shake the weight off. My gf put me onto salads. Now, when I dine out, which can be 5-10 times per week if busy in the city, I eat Cesar or chicken salad with olive oil & balsamic. Extremely tasty, filling, sweet even. Not sure if my fatty liver has improved by a doctors warning 3 months ago, but I feel healthier & I never ever feel like I am abstaining.

    • So it seems that this is a pretty widespread problem, after all. Indeed, salads are becoming my friends too and I was just thinking that when I will go out, that’s all I can eat. It takes some adjustment, but I am sure that in the long run I will feel better from eating healthier.

  3. C, you CAN do this. Hang in there, my friend. I’ve seen and experienced how a really healthy diet can clear up SO many things, and it can help you too. Ratio of veggies to fruits shouldn’t be anymore than about 70/30 percent. Fruits have a lot of sugar in them, which should be kept at a minimum.

    • Thank you for your nice words, Laurie! I am still trying to get the hangs of this, but I have my hopes high right now. I only eat fruits as snacks between the three daily meals and I am trying not to overdo them because of the sugar they have. I will be really careful with that too!

  4. Good thing you caught it early, in this case there is a lot of improvement to be made and I am sure it will work out great. I went through 2 biopsies myself and, while the results were good, just the thought really made my days horrible.

    Hang in there and get well soon 🙂

  5. Hang in there C! I am sorry to hear about the fatty liver 🙁 . I am sure it us very scary. My doctor mentioned the same thing to me like 4 years ago, along with the high cholesterol . I went less with the fried food, and more with the fiber (Weetabix became my friend again). It got better. I don’t deny myself anymore. I just try to do everything in moderation. I did add an apple a day, and salads when l can with balsamic vinegar. Seems the older we get, the more things fall apart . Stress will kill you faster than anything, so try and chill as often as you can.

    • Ever since I was diagnosed with this, I indeed started to spend more time with my kid and I am learning how to enjoy the small things in life. This is what matters, in the end – being with the ones we love the most. Moderation is what my doctor recommended… for the rest of my life.

      I am glad to hear that your fatty liver got better, I have high hopes for mine too 🙂

  6. you shoul lay low on the h**kers. also, only deadbeats romanians spend their vacation in venus. Most of them go to turkey or greece.

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