Terri Monclova Milton

terri-milton.jpg

The picture was taken June 2018. My hubby and I are about to be 55. It’s hard to believe that in the past 11 months I was diagnosed with cirrhosis, diagnosed with HCC, had 3 surgeries and about to have a 4th, been admitted 4 times to hospital for non surgical reasons and in the ER 17 times. I’ve lost count of the number of CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic Radiology tools. I don’t remember all my doctors names or even what their specialty is. I’ve gone from not being able to walk to the toilet from my bed to hiking to see a waterfall. I’m alive.

When I was first diagnosed, my doctor told me his goal was to get me to die of an old age other than Cirrhosis complications. I was severely decompensated, leaking 2-3 liters a day of ascites from a surgical incision, and didn’t have a clue. I was scared to death because of all the things I had found on Dr Google. I was ready to give up.

One of the things he really emphasized was to not pay attention to any statistics. There were things I needed to do to help my body heal...but he couldn’t do it without me really jumping in and owning what needed to happen. I had to cut my sodium intake to less than 2000mgs per day. I needed to cut out processed foods, focus on lean protein and plant based protein. Even though I don’t drink, no celebration drinks for anything. I needed to increase my activity in whatever way I could...even if it was lifting a soup can 10 times with each hand. He also asked me to listen to what he said and not be afraid to ask questions.

It’s been a year since diagnosis. Yes, there are still things I have to deal with every day...some days more than others. And this disease is never far from my mind. Every thing I do or don’t do impacts it. I do constantly have a running calendar in my head of my doctors appointments and test dates. Due to being diagnosed with HCC in May and had an Ablation last week, everything is slightly increased in speed. I see my Hepatologist every three months and have blood work and CT scans every three months. Every day my breakfast appetizer is a handful of pills that keep the symptoms at bay.

It doesn’t matter what the cause of your Cirrhosis is.  Mine is from NASH...but it could also be left over damage from being a hardheaded college kid who liked to party too much 35 years ago...or from being a teenager who liked “speed” a bit too much to get through what life had dealt me. We all have a past. Sometimes it’s yesterday. Sometimes it’s 50 years ago. Our past doesn’t define us.

You matter. Your story matters...even if you’re not ready to share it...it’s still important.

My story isn’t done yet. It’s being written everyday. Someday, not soon, there will be a finishing period to my story. But not yet. I’m going to live! How about you?

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  • Alysa Suniga
    commented 2019-04-13 12:04:51 -0600
    Hi my name is Alysa I am 22 years old and my dad Angelo who is 57 has NASH. He got diagnosed 3 years ago. He use to be 389 lbs before he got sick. My dad has an addictive personality when it comes to food. Always his hole life. He goes through having no ability to drive because of high amonia, drinking the nasty lactulose 4x times a day, going to infusion center at the hospital 2x a week for blood transfusions because he’s always loosing blood. Since he got sick he lost about 150 lbs from not eating when he was critical condition. Now it’s so hard for me as a 22 year old to see your dad you once relied on now relying on you. He keeps eating bad carb foods and all he does is watch tv at home no pslhysical activity. He was resantly put on insulin due to very high blood sugar but I always tell him the medications and everything are all temporary and are only bandaids , but he still eats and does nothing actively to change his health around. So if anyone sees this or if Teri monclova sees this, I loved your story. I need help for my dad sack that he can survive this and that many people live with it and have changed for the better.
  • Wayne Eskridge
    published this page in Patient Stories 2018-08-01 15:40:53 -0600

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