Off the Dial

Back!

So great to go back to work today. I almost didn't mind the 3am alarm clock. Almost.

I'm hoping this will be my last health update for a while; it'll mean things just keep getting better. At this point, I'm just going in for tests every 2 weeks or so, to make sure my liver is still healing. I'm eating more and am happy to report I'm gaining weight (never thought I'd type that sentence). 

I've been told to slow down a bit.  That's great advice I've been given before, but I've never really taken it seriously. Well, I'm listening now.  I have to. 

After all…


 

Thanks so much again for all the wonderful emails, tweets and comments here & on facebook. It's great to be back.

Slow (But Steady!)

I have never been known as a very patient person. I'm also not one to get a lot of sleep. So the last three weeks could be some sort of cosmic payback or even life's way of teaching me a lesson. 

Tee-liver-new

I'm recovering after a big scare involving a prescription drug's serious effect on my liver (more here).  It's probably too soon for me to be laughing at stuff like this (left) but the website Iheartguts is so ridiculous it's funny. They specialize in plush organs. That's right, cute & fuzzy versions of your heart & pancreas.

I'm definitely getting better, but it's relative. Right now, getting better means sleeping maybe 12-14 hours a day instead of 18-20. It means eating bland foods like applesauce, mashed potatoes and jello instead of barely able to stomach a glass of water.  I'm thankful and I'm trying to be patient.

Since April 18th I've only left my house for doctor's visits and blood draws. Well, that's a lie. I'll probably get in trouble with either my parents (!) or my work, but I'll tell you anyway. Slade and I snuck out Saturday night and saw The Avengers.  I'm so glad we did. I was getting very down and that movie was the perfect fun distraction. (Mom, I promise, we didn't go out to dinner or anything else. Just sat in the car on the way there, sat in the theater for the show, then back in the car and home.)

One of my nurses helped me a lot, too. I was getting a little whiny about how long my recovery was taking. She set me straight, telling me how lucky I am we caught this early. Another recent patient, similar age, similar circumstance, took months to get where I am now. 

I have missed some great stuff. The Charlotte JDRF Walk and our first time as a family team. Benny's Brigade did great, thanks so much to our wonderful friends who stepped in to make sure Lea & Benny had fun.  I missed several events at which I was supposed to speak or MC.  Another JDRF walk, the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society Man & Woman of the Year, etc. Again, everyone has been gracious and understanding.

I am very hopeful I'll be well enough to travel to NYC for my dad's 70th birthday party later this month. That's something I can't imagine missing.

I'm teling you, though, I do have to get out of this house again soon. Does anyone read ASOIAF, the George RR Martin series? I keep thinking of Strong Belwas and all that liver & onions.  (If you watch HBO Game of Thrones, we'll just have to wait & see if he shows up!)

I truly hope to be back at work on Monday, May 14th, if for no other reason than I am sick and tired of changing my out of office email message! Truly, that's a moving target. I'm just trying to take it slow and steady and yes, be… patient. 

Thanks so much for reading, commenting and checking in. Your messages are really helping me get through this. 

Health Update

I haven't been at work for two weeks.  I've been really sick, but I'm going to be fine. I need some more time to recover and I hope to be back at WBT soon. And no, to answer an email I got from a listener, I am not hiding out after having cosmetic surgery!

Here's what happened.

At the beginning of April I'd been feeling very run down and even more tired than usual. Since my wake up call for the last ten years has been 3am, I'm used to being tired. This was different. When my body started giving me some other signals – I'll spare you the details – I called my doctor.

Dr. H. took one look at me and said, "Do you know your eyes are are yellow?" I hadn't noticed, but they were. And my skin was sort of orange.  Classic signs that something was wrong with my liver. 

I'm pretty healthy, except for that back problem I told you about last fall. What could be wrong with my liver? Over the next few days, they ruled out all the really scary stuff. No Hepatitis A, B, or C. No mono, no Epstein- Barr. No cytomegalovirus (say that three times fast).

Was it gallstones? Something with my pancreas? We did an ultrasound – thankfully normal. The rest of my body was healthy but my liver tests were all coming back "alert!"

We were very nervous at that point, especially because I was absolutely exhausted. I would sleep for two hours, get up for about 20 minutes and go right back to bed. I couldn't eat. I lost 6 pounds in 4 days.

Finally, I was able to see a liver specialist.  I'm so glad I did. Dr. R.  figured it out in just a few minutes. Turns out a medicine that had been prescribed for me for the back injury can, in rare cases, cause serious liver problems. The drug is called Diclofenac and is sold under a few different names.  This specialist had only seen a handful of cases like mine in his career, but it can be very serious. Some people have been hospitalized and a few have needed a liver transplant.

The good news was, we'd figured out the cause well before my liver was severely damaged; I'm expected to make a full recovery. The bad news is that, other than stopping the offending medication, there's really no treatment. My body just needs to heal. It's a slow process.

So each day, I do feel a bit better. I'm sleeping less and eating a bit more. My skin is no long oompa-loompa orange, and my eyes are almost back to normal. Just yesterday I started feeling bored and today I'm able to sit up and write this blog. Those are great signs.

I am so grateful for all the emails, texts and phone calls. My neighbors and friends have been wonderful making sure Lea & Benny get to baseball and girl scouts – the kids haven't missed any events because of my illness. Of course, Slade has been working overtime to keep our household running.

I really hope to be back on Charlotte's Morning News next Monday, but it all depends on my recovery. The folks at WBT have been wonderful. Bo Thompson and Jim Szoke are just doing a great job and my thanks to Carl and all the managers for being so supportive at this time.

(Of course, Szoke always has the best line.  When I told him what was going on, he sent this email: "There are funner ways to ruin your liver.")

I'll keep you posted on my return to radio here and on Twitter, Facebook, smoke signals, etc.