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.