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We Need to Talk

Chapter 1

“We need to talk.”  This phrase has so many meanings.  It can invoke positive excitement of anticipation; it can be lead to curiosity and suspense, or harbor even fear.  Hearing this phrase on the phone from my physician immediately brought me back to memories of hearing the exact same words from my dad.  So many times he would call me on the phone and say, “Hi Sarah, We Need to Talk.”  Most of the time it was good, but one of was the last time he uttered those words to me, I’ll never forget them.

My family and I were visiting my parents in early October 2013.  They lived in Kanosh, a small town in the center of Utah.  We knew my father’s health was declining fast and we were trying to spend as much time with my parents as possibly.  We drove from American Fork to Kanosh, about 100 miles to help my father harvest his small, but plentiful garden.  In the middle of the day, he uttered those words, “Sarah and Mike, We need to Talk.”  We had my brother entertain our kids with the 4 wheelers and we went inside for a conversation.  I knew this would be serious.  I knew that just the day prior he had a paracentesis done; a procedure to drain excess fluid buildup in his abdomen. This is a complication to advanced NASH.  He had been averaging every 5-6 days between procedures, but now needed it done twice a week. He informed me that the fluid buildup was continuing to increase each time he went in and this time there was a complication.  This was the reason for our talk.  He felt prompted to get his affairs in order. Today quickly turned from a happy visit to “This is what I need you to take care of.  You and Mike are to take care of your Mother. “and so forth. He knew didn’t have much time left, and he didn’t. 

When I received the call from my physician and he asked if I could come back to the office, his exact words were,  “Sarah, we need to talk, and I feel this would be better in person and not over the phone.”  I knew what he was going to say.  I knew deep down inside what my labs were. I am my father’s daughter and this was just confirming my suspicions that I had his disease, and I agreed to meet later that day.

Frankly, when we met, I think he was more in shock than I was.  I was already prepared for it.  I went to him for the validation of the lab work confirming my symptoms.  He was the one who originally was in disbelief that I could have a Liver disease at 45, after all, he thought it was just all chalked up to obesity symptoms; so why look any further?  He looked right at me, dead serious and said, “Your liver panel is higher than I have ever seen before, especially for someone so young.  We need to run more test. Get an ultrasound…” and I interrupted him.  I told him, “Thank you for confirming my suspicions, but if it’s all good with you, I just prefer to get a referral to a Liver specialist.  My Dad waited too long to see a specialist and I’m not going to make that mistake. “We talked a little longer and found out I had “proper channels to go through for my insurance.  I would need to see a GI, Gastroenterologists.  So I went through the process of getting set up.

Losing my Dad to this disease was hard. Losing the grandfather to my children was even harder.   From the time my dad was diagnosed to the time he passed away was 22 months.  He was told he needed to lose weight or he was pre-diabetic.  It wasn’t until he had ruptured veins in his esophagus, that they realized, or they looked further into all of his health conditions.   I knew I was going to fight this disease with everything I had in me.  I was going to fight it for my dad, as if he was along side, telling me, “If I knew sooner, I would have fought!”  It was too late for him, but not for me.   I was an athlete in High School. I knew the basic fundamentals of exercise and healthy eating.  I had done the Yo-yo weight loss with pregnancy, battled with depression and PTSD.  Now it was time to fight for my life, fight for my kids and grandkids. 

Now to see the GI and get his opinion…Yeah, this does not go well!


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