Life Lately | Liver Biopsy

Life Lately | Liver Biopsy

Last chance diagnostic saloon

Yesterday I went in for a biopsy on my Liver.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been seeing a Hematologist since late 2017 and as of yet, we have yet to really pin point why my LFTs – Liver Function Tests – have continued with their trend of being very high since 2014. The transfer of my notes from my specialist liver consultant at the QE in Birmingham, who saw me from late 2014 until 2017, took a while to get to Peterborough, so I’ve enduring more of the same testing as before; 3 monthly monitoring of my liver specific bloods – they also get done for my Vedolizumab infusions every 8 weeks too – as well as ultrasound, MRI and this final biopsy test.

To read more about my liver posts, see the ‘further reading‘ section of this post.

 

This procedure is a surgical investigation so required a pre op. That was done on Friday, four days before my procedure and was lengthy and involved alot of paperwork. For something so small, it felt like overkill but as we are dealing with my second biggest organ; I’d prefer thorough rather than skimmed. I suppose in some ways, it was good ‘practice’ for the colorectal pre op I’ll be having in the coming months…

After I had alot of bloods taken – GA: Group and Save, U&Es: Urea & Electrolytes, FBC: Full Blood Count, Coag Screen: Coagulation; they also added a Vitamin B12 and folate level to this set on the day – I  trotted off home to rest. I’d been recovering from a terrible cold which was causes me some chest pain when coughing, but I was cleared for my procedure.

On the day, I was admitted at 7.30am for my admission paperwork and was first on the list. We needed a final blood read of my Iron Levels – a IRN – which was in range and I got into theatre at 10 am. Thirty minutes later; I was back out, being monitored by the wonderful Day Surgery Unit staff for six hours. The risks of a biopsy were reaction to the local anesthetic and bleeding. So I was kept in for the rest of the day, on bed rest. That was something I was unaware of but happy to accept. I was quite sore on my right side once I was able to sit up abit more on the trolley but it was managed with my regular painkillers.

I had time to kill before being allowed to be discharged. Here are some snippets of what was going around my head during the day:

“Waiting for this is like how it was waiting for my first surgery. If anything I feel like  back home and my surgeon will come through the double doors to theatre to reassure me.

But I’m not at home. I’m in a new hospital, navigating how this one works, how I become a patient here. Because the admissions I had here in 2017 have just melted in my mind. I can’t recall them. Maybe I’ve blocked them but on the whole, I don’t remember them because I am choosing not to.”

The hospital is becoming more familiar to me, and I will always compare it to Good Hope. That is natural, not unexpected. And some of the familiar is good, it reassures me that despite just being a patient to people who look after me, I also feel comfortable. Hospital’s don’t scare me or make me as anxious as they once did.

“This, today’s procedure, is something I have to do. It is the final step in diagnosing my liver condition of which has been an issue since 2014. This goes way back into a time when my IBD was sort of controlled but also wasn’t. As I always do when I think of my liver, I wonder what I have done / taken / neglected to get this way. I realise that no-one is to blame and even if this test diagnoses me with a condition, the odds of whatever it is happening are just that ODDS. Nothing is certain.”

I’ve never really understood my liver and why it’s been acting up for so long. It does give me concern; something as complex and important as my liver, makes me worry from time to time. I don’t enjoy going to see the Hepatologist; at this point I want a diagnosis so we can get onto treating it. Monitoring it has been good for the last year but I want answers. And this is the final test to give me that.

“It’s now 9 am and yet to be called to theatre. The paperwork will take longer than the actual procedure so I’m just waiting. Waiting is good and bad because it gives me time to just acclimatise myself but I also want to just get it done with, progress to the next level / stage / chapter.”

Recovery came around faster than I expected and waiting to go home was long. But I was happy to just sit and rest. It’s not very often I can do this, so I seized the opportunity. I was able to chat with the staff, had someone kindly help me empty my stoma bag when I was bed bound and I felt very well looked after.

 

I’ve experienced some pain since coming home, and I keep forgetting my dressing is on my wound still and will be for another day. I changed it earlier and I have two small puncture wounds, with some bruising underneath. Nothing too bad but forgetting they have gone through my skin, muscle, fat and into my liver; this is to be expected. The soreness is nothing too bad, if anything the stinging of my bleeding skin under my stoma bag – should have done a fresh pouch before hospital and made it a two piece to empty / change easier; hindsight eh?! – is more painful and obvious. I’ve been out for a while today, I can cope quite well with the pain but will need my relief at work tomorrow.

Results from the biopsy take between 10-14 days to come back from the pathologist. Hoping they give my consultant some answers and we can go into our April appointment knowing we have a plan going forward.

 

Do you have any questions or queries? You can leave me a reply here or leave comments via my social media accounts – on Twitter, find my blog page on Facebook and over on Instagram

Further reading:

Infliximab #7 and Liver Problems (11.08.2014)

Liver, PCOS & IBD – What a combo! (22.12.2014)

Life Lately | “And Another Thing…” (24.03.2018)

May Month in Review (31.05.2018)

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