"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, 9 April 2014


I've been having trouble with my lower back and hips for a while, so the GP sends me to the physio.  Physio says I am quite 'bendy' and don't seem to be having trouble with the stretching exercises she gives me.  But it's painful when she rotates the leg/hip joint.  So off for an x-ray.  This diagnoses  degenerative changes to the sacroiliac joints on both sides.  I'm not sure what that means, but I think it's osteoarthritis.  I'd been waking 5-6 times a night so the GP prescribes amitriptyline which in low doses is used in pain relief.  Just half the prescribed dose works and now I can sleep with less disturbance, though I have to take it very early in the evening so that I can get up at 6am for work and not feel hung-over.
24th Jan I have my 6monthly MRI.  4 days later the report comes back "no evidence of residual or recurrent disease".  Hurrah, all clear for another 6 months

The atrocious winter weather seems to peak this month in the North West.  J tries twice to get from Uni in Huddersfield to his girlfriend at Oxford Uni, and is foiled both times by train cancellations and landslips.  I try to meet with old school friends near Leamington Spa but have to cancel.
12th Feb I have my 3-monthly clinic at Salford.  In the absence of Dr Al it's run by a hepatologist from the Manchester Royal Infirmary.  Dr P also trained at the Freeman in Newcastle and has experience in treating both viral and autoimmune liver disease.  Interestingly he also runs a liver cancer clinic.  I ask if I can be re-referred to him at the MRI, and he puts me into his cancer clinic.  With the North Manchester team due to relocate to the MRI later in 2014 I will now get all my monitoring at one centre, instead of 3.  Brilliant.
Not so brilliant was the drive home.  Strong winds and horizontal rain, I can feel the car rocking and see the lamp-posts bending, scary.  Pick up T from his office.  We get half way home, then the route is blocked by a tree which has fallen on a car, luckily nobody hurt.  We park up and have a meal in a not very good Italian while the traffic and the weather eases

My yearly cancer check up at North Manchester.  Hopefully the last clinic I will attend there, especially as this time the waiting time was 1 and 1/2 hours.  They give me another appointment in March 2015 which I know I won't be attending.

3rd.  Off to see Dr P at his Manchester Royal clinic.  Instead of driving I can take the train and then catch a shuttle bus at Piccadilly station.  Easy peasy, no traffic jams, no car parking worries.
All the Manchester hospitals are now on one site - the infirmary, the eye hospital, the children's hospital, the women's hospital.  All very modern and airy. Dr P arrives 20 mins late for his clinic which doesn't bode well, but he explains he witnessed a road traffic accident and being a doctor stopped to give first aid to an injured girl.  Now that he will be responsible for treating both my viral and autoimmune liver disease and monitor the liver for cancer, I can cancel my North Manchester clinic and Macclesfield clinic appointments, yippee. All it needs from me is monthly bloods taken by my GP and the rest will be dealt with by him on one site.  
It's a big site and will take a while to get to grips with.  With trips to bloods, pharmacy and the cafe it took 3 hours to get round everywhere, but i should whittle this down once I get more confident around the corridors.


  1. Happy Easter Fiona : )
    I was so excited to see a post from you again and to learn that your most recent MRI was clean! YEAH!!!
    I was also glad to see that your future appointments should be a lot easier to get around to since you won't be having to jump around to different locations to get everything you need done. Life is complicated enough without extra running around. It is nice that you can get there by train now as well.
    Steve has started using the public transportation system to get to his work recently. He is loving all the reading time he is getting while someone else deals with the traffic : )
    Steve is doing great with his test results. In fact he doesn't have to do a yearly colonoscopy any more. They said he should be good to come back in two years. His next set of blood tests are in June and if they look good we should cut back to once a year for those as well. The only health problem he is combating is one he created by trying to rollerblade with his son Michael. Let's just say it didn't go so well. He managed to dislocate his shoulder (ouch!) and broke off a piece of bone as well as tore his labrum. After having an MRI and a 3D CT scan and seeing two specialists (because he had such a unique combination) they decided to try and let it heal up on its own unless it becomes more problematic. He starts seeing a physical therapist this week to strengthen his rotator cuff muscles. I've banned him from rollerblading!
    I'm enjoying the spring and have lots of daffodils, hyacinths, and multiple colored tulips in bloom all over my beds. I just wish they came up without the weeds : ) I hope you are having a beautiful spring as well!


  2. Thanks Carla and good to hear of the longer gaps between check-ups for Steve. I did ask Dr P if I would be signed off after 5 years and considered 'cured' but it seems due to my chronic liver disease and need for ongoing treatment the answer is 'no'.