"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Visit to A&E

As a sucker for medical programmes I've watched via Channel 4OD the observational series "24 Hours in A&E" about London's King's College Hospital emergency room.
A backdrop to the high octane emergency cases are the mundane 'walk-ins' and time wasters, with their cuts and bruises that could be treated at home. Yesterday I felt like an A&E time waster.

After 10 days of patiently bandaging the persistant swelling and increasing pain in my sprained ankle T decided it was time to get a second opinion from a medic on the best strapping so I can carry on driving and working. The best place, I reckoned, was a quick visit to a nurse at my GP surgery. In and out, 5 minutes. No wasting the GP's time. But....

With apologies to A A Milne and his poem 'The King's Breakfast'

'T' asked
Me and
I asked
the receptionist:
"Could we have some strapping for
Fiona's hurty leg?"
Reception asked the Practice Nurse,
The Practice Nurse
Said, "Certainly,
I'll go and get the bandage
Before she goes to bed."

The Practice Nurse
She rang us
And went and told
"Don't forget the GP must
first check out the leg."
The Practice Nurse
Said sadly:
"You'd better tell
That no nurses nowadays
Can bandage up
a leg"

The GP
Said, "Fancy!"
And thought it might
be broken.
She turned to Fiona, and
suggested instead:
"Best to get an x-ray,
Off to emergency,
and if its broken,
they'll put a cast on instead."

The Triage nurse said
In X-ray they
imaged it, and sent me back to
sit by a boy who cut his head.

.... 4 hours later ....

The Doctor said,
"Deary me!"
And then he said,
"Not broken"
So I said, "Thank Goodness,
Can you bandage my leg?'
I pleaded,
"Could call me
A fussy one;
I only want
A little bit
Of bandage for
My leg"

The Doctor said,
"There, there!"
And went to
Get some bandage
The Doctor
Said, "There, there!"
And went to get some tape,
The Doctor said,
"There, there!
I can do a bandage,
Here we are
All fixed
I’ve bandaged up your leg"

(And you know, he did it exactly how T had been bandaging it)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Leeds Festival 2011

J and friends are at Leeds Festival today. Headliners on the main stage today are the Strokes. J will be particularly thrilled I'm sure if they play the same set as at Reading Festival yesterday. The set includes 'Someday' (click Replay, below) which J recorded for his multi-track/mixing task for last years AS level for which he got an A overall.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Missed a step and twisted my ankle today.

We didn't have a handy stick of rhubarb (looks more like a baguette to me!) so I'm hobbling around using an upside-down broom for a crutch.
Embarrassingly for J (and T)my trip was in full view of a room of prospective Music Technology students at the University of Keele open day.

Cant drive, so will have to cancel my 3-monthly check with Dr Al at Salford which was scheduled for Monday. It was to review the last 3 months of bloods, but as all is looking stable at the moment I'm sure I can re-schedul

Friday, 19 August 2011

Diet and liver disease

New edition of the British Liver Trust publication 'Diet and Liver Disease' is available as hard copy or to download online here: www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/home/order-publications/download-publications.aspx

Monday, 15 August 2011

Still in remission

AFP blood test results are back. This is my 4th cancer tumour marker test since surgery. Still at 1, well within the 'normal' range of 0-10.
Sadly a fellow 'Nomad' with Hep B was diagnosed 5 weeks ago with a cluster of HCC tumours and given 2-3 months to live. That's how agressive these sly bu**ers are. Hence my frequency of testing.

For some reason a full set of liver function tests and full blood count were done at the same time - bit of a waste of NHS resources as I had them done 2 weeks before the AFP and only need them taken monthly.

Anyway, the test that measures liver inflammation went down again, in just 2 weeks! Its now 21 instead of in the 80's. 'Normal' is between 10-50. It may be explained as things continuing to calm down after surgery, but as that was 11 months ago I doubt it. My feeling is the improvement is down to a clever herbal supplement called Milk Thistle.

The seeds of the milk thistle have been used for 2000 years to treat chronic liver disease and protect the liver against toxins. I've been drinking it as a tincture since diagnosis.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Cyber support

3-monthly AFP tumour marker blood test today. I have a love/hate relationship with this test. I want it done for the reassurance a good result gives, and I hate the moment of opening the envelope to read the results in case its gone up.

On the support forum I help administrate a member who has finally cleared Hepatitis B after a course of drug treatment has been diagnosed with multiple HCC tumours. He's waiting to find out if he can be assessed for a liver transplant. This tragic news came just after I'd posted my positive July blood results and I had to admit that his story will haunt me for a while. Within a few hours of my post, a knowledgeable HCC survivor wrote me this message:

"They excised segment 2 of your liver, apparently with good margins, and you had a single mass? Early stage 2? No lymphatic compromise? If that's the case then I wouldn't be stressing too much about the HCC coming back. It might very well down the track, perhaps a very long way down the track, but it's unlikely to be the same one. Given that you *didn't* have a cluster, and that everything remains fine, then I think your prognosis is good. Obviously I'm not qualified to make that call, but it's my (reasonably educated) opinion. Unresolved HCCs usually come back like a train. If it's been more than a year - and it has by now, surely - then you should be relaxing about it. Relaxing in this context doesn't mean not being vigilant"

Thanks Dallo, if you ever pop by and read this!