Terri's Journey -- Battling liver cancer caused by NASH

I haven’t posted a personal update in a while and so here you go.

First, before I begin, I’m doing really well right now. I still get tired easily. I still have minimal energy to exert. I still take naps during the day. But I’m doing good.
As a reminder…in August I had a procedure done to remove a cancerous tumor from my liver. The cancer is called HCC, or Hepatocellular Carcinoma. It is a cancer that originates in the liver. This is the third tumor I’ve been diagnosed with.

The procedure I had was a Microwave Ablation. I did have to go under general anesthesia. The Interventional Radiology Doctor who did the procedure used one probe that he inserted through my abdomen into my liver. He moved it 3 times around the tumor to get clean perimeters. The total amount of current through the probe was 16 minutes. And yes, it is a microwave current. Just like you heat up your food. Gross, huh.

Afterwards, I did get to go home. In the weeks and months afterwards, I struggled with a lot of pain. Getting comfortable at night was hard. Moving during the day was slow and easy. I did have pain medication but tried to use it wisely. Some days were tougher…but I did get through them. I also had a problem with my voice. More than likely when I was intubated my vocal chord was affected. So if you talked to me on the phone and my voice sounded a bit rough, now you know why.

One of the things that has happened because of the ablation is that I’m once again struggling with hepatic encephalopathy. The surface of my liver is less so there’s less of it to remove toxins from my blood. And unfortunately those toxins do affect me in several different ways. They can affect my memory. They affect my fine motor skills. They affect me emotionally. They can affect my perception. They affect my sleep patterns. I had a couple of weeks in mid October that I really struggled. Fortunately, Doug and I finally recognized the symptoms and contacted my doctor who prescribed medication that I have to take every day called lactulose. I am doing much better. Fine motor skills are still not back to normal. But otherwise I’m doing good.

The other thing I struggle with is fluid in my abdomen. It’s called ascites. Due to my liver being treated for the cancer, it makes this a bit worse too. Right now I feel like I’m very pregnant. Waddle and all. Some days it’s hard to breathe. Most days I’m very uncomfortable. So if you see me holding my belly, no baby. Just lots of fluid. And unfortunately because of my past abdominal surgeries there are no pockets of fluid big enough to drain. It’s all in my tissues.

I am on the transplant list. It will be at the very least a year before I receive a life saving transplant. So to keep me well, lots of doctor visits and a new MRI every 3 months to check for cancer in my liver…and lots of blood test.

I do ask one thing. When you see Doug and me, resist hugging us. Right now my white blood count is a bit wonky. So I’m careful. Very careful. I’m a hugger so it is soooo stinking hard to say no. But seeing your smiling eyes is good for my heart. Air high fives and a hope for future hugs will have to do.
Keep praying. I know God is faithful. He is sustaining me with His love and presence. But even in this desert I’m walking through, there is beauty. All around me is proof of His everlasting goodness. Of His love and mercy towards me.


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