liver MRI

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by amazeofgrace, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    well I cancelled it last month, I went to my OB-GYN and she felt the gastrologist was test happy, she put me on milk thistle and had me go for a blood test.

    Now I have to go discuss the results, the fact that I have to go discuss the results means there's something to discuss, and it's probably not good. I have been feeling really unhealthy and have had shortness of breathe and my arms go numb sometimes, so my Dad is freaking out saying it's heart related, now I am young, but I am also 100 pounds over weight, so I am nervous. I try to diet but stress sends me straight to sugar and carbs! perhaps I should take up smoking!

    anyway that's my nervous vent for the day.:(:anxious::sick:
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    So go already and maybe it won't be as horrible as you fear. I don't mean to be callous, but you don't gain anything by putting it off. And if there's something the doctor can do to get you feeling better, the sooner you get on it, the better.

    As for the numbness, it's not necessarily your heart. If you are large breasted and have an ill-fitting bra, there's a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome that can cause numbess or tingling in your arms and fingers. It's due to pressure on the nerve that runs under your collarbone, and for some women, their bra puts too much pressure on the shoulder and this happens. I suspect I have it because when I take a deep breath, I get the tingling sensation down my arms.

    The shortness of breath is also very likely due to the weight issue and just being out of shape. You could also have asthma and not know it.

    So make the appointment -- you deserve to feel better and you can't until you find out what's going on.

    And whatever you do, DON'T take up SMOKING!!!!
  3. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Going in to see the doctor also gives him another copay and office visit. Some docs do that, ya know.
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'd have the MRI. It's better to be safe than sorry, I always say.

    Besides what Gcvmom talked about (which I had never heard of, by the way, but then I've never been large busted :tongue:), and the heart thing your dad talked about, you have a lot of stress and anxiety can cause shortness of breath and even numbness/tingling...especially if you're not breathing right or the stress has caused physical symptoms and pinched a nerve or some such thing.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Take it easy- just go see what they say and recommend. Just remember, if anything is going on, it won't get better by putting it off.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well I would tell you to go have the MRI but I wouldnt take my own Just saying the words MRI makes me have numbness and tingling! Not to mention anxiety, panic attacks, blackouts and the Did I mention I dont like MRI's? In fact, it could be said that I am downright scared to death of them!

    Hopefully you are a far braver woman than I am and will go see the doctor.
  7. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    Sometimes medical problems have a more clear-cut answer than the behavioral/emotional/mental health ones. Seek information!
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Go and see the doctor. I hope the doctor says "you are fine, no need for any stinkin' ole MRI", but you DO have to go and see the doctor. So go.

    Hugs. Medical stuff is the pits.
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Amaze...........did you ever go talk to the doctor?

    Please keep us updated.

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh dear, so sorry.
    It makes for a very long weekend!
    Let us know what happens.
    I hope it's just to discuss ideas and treatment plans, and nothing "new" or scary.
    And Loth has a good point about the copay. It will be interesting to see if you get charged and if it's worth it.
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    You see? Another REALLY good reason why I don't wear a bra. Thanks, GCV!!!

    I'd get the MRI done. Questions not answered are stressful. At least you'll know.

    Hugs, dear.

  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Numbness can also be a B-12 deficiency. Go have the MRI, though. If it's something that can be fixed with medication or a surgery, you want to do that. You don't want to have a stroke or untreated cancer.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm another vote in favour of having the MRI. If your liver is in trouble, then it can be making you feel quite ill.

    I've been there done that, as you know. Still there, to a certain extent, but definitely doing a lot better. And doing better, because I KNOW!

    I'm also not keen on CTs or MRIs, but having had the older, more invasive tests I am very grateful to be able to have the more modern, less painful ones. I'm assuming this test hasn't been ordered simply because the doctor wants someone to play with? I suspect you have had blood test results which are perhaps indicating that your liver is not happy. Again, been there done that.

    Be aware - liver enzymes can go out of normal for a wide range of reasons. However, the sort of results you get, the ratios etc, can give a good indication of possible causes. GGT for instance is very sensitive to any toxin. Paracetamol is one of the safest analgesics, but even a small amount taken for a headache can make your GGT level rise a little into the abnormal range.

    However - if your levels are more than a little out of normal in a number of different enzymes or other liver function tests, then yes, it does indicate you need to find out more. Your liver, more than most organs, is remarkably capable of regenerating and coming back from the brink. Providing you haven't done too much damage. I mean, even MY liver is beginning to make a recovery, and it was in really bad shape seven months ago. When they do liver transplants they can also do them form living donors, knowing that the donor's liver will grow back to its original size even as the piece transplanted into the sick patient also grows into something that resembles and works like a complete liver.

    You say you are 100 pounds overweight - if that weight is carried round your middle, then your health is in serious trouble. Fat that is in that area not only puts pressure on the internal organs and blood vessels, it also can directly clog those organs and interfere with their function. When fat clogs your liver, it also ironically makes it harder to lose that weight. Again, been there done that. I was on a low fat diet from before difficult child 3 was born - I'm not sure how long. Too long. And despite this, I was still gaining weight even while trying not to. When my liver test results first began to come back abnormal, it was nearly 20 years ago. That is when I stopped drinking alcohol - not that I ever drank to excess, or even close to it. I discussed with my doctor the possible causes for the sudden change, and we eventually blamed medication. I went onto a medication regimen that was as safe for my liver as possible.

    When I was in the last weeks of my pregnancy with difficult child 3 (almost 15 years ago) I was badly anaemic and doctors put me in hospital to pour elemental iron into me in a drip overnight. This treatment has now been discontinued, probably because it is damaging to the liver.

    After I had difficult child 3, my liver enzyme levels were not good. My iron store levels were abnormally high for the next ten years at least. And I began to gain weight, despite trying not to.

    Who knows how or why this happens? What matters now, is putting a stop to it getting worse, and trying to find a way to turn it around.

    Just about any other organ in the body could be damaged to this extent (or even a fraction of this extent) and you would never be able to improve on where you are. If you have damaged kidneys, or you lose a lobe of your lung, you have to do the best you can with your health to give your body some TLC and try to not let it get any sicker. But with the liver - it not only needn't get any worse, it can actually get better.

    But you have to first know exactly what is wrong, so you can have an idea of how to help it fix itself.

    I didn't have the opportunity to have a liver MRI. We do have MRIs here, but it is one area in medicine where Australia lags behind the US - our health system won't justify a liver MRI very readily, because it's in too much demand for other more serious medical problems. The only MRIs I've ever had were done in the big teaching hospitals.

    MRIs and CTs - yes, it can be noisy, it can be a bit claustrophobic, but you have to keep telling yourself - when did you ever hear of someone suffocating in one of those machines? It just doesn't happen - not only is there plenty of air, but air is actually PUMPED in, you can feel the breeze on your face. I use my time in the tube to do one of my meditation/relaxation sessions, running through it in my head. They also told me I could bring in a tape of my favourite music which they played for me over the speakers. Unfortunately, the hammering sound of the machinery was too loud for me to hear it all properly but I had chosen a radio play I knew well so I was able to use what I COULD hear to replay it in my head. It helped me visualise the story, and with my eyes closed I was far away, feeling an ocean breeze on my face (thanks to the air flow in the tube!).

    Given the choice between a liver MRI, and a liver biopsy - I know which I would choose. You can also get up from an MRI and walk away within minutes - not so after a liver biopsy - you have to lie flat on your back, not moving, for about four to six hours (just in case you begin to haemorrhage).

    My test results - over 90% of my liver cells were loaded with fat. This, despite having been on a low-fat diet since before difficult child 3 was born. It's not the fat in your diet that gets loaded into your liver - it's the blood sugars getting converted into fat for storage.

    My doctor told me I had to lose weight, and I got angry with him. How the H was I supposed to lose weight, when I had been trying to for years? Decades?

    The thing is, I had no choice. Not only was my liver overloaded with fat, my body was having trouble in other ways because my pancreas was pumping out massive amounts of insulin in response to the slightest rise in blood sugars. Soon my pancreas was about to give out. Diabetes was a matter of months away, if that. Plus I was having trouble breathing at night when I slept. I couldn't bend comfortably because I would get a pinching effect which took my breath away - my liver was getting pinched under my ribs. Sometimes my belly would feel stretched tight and burning, I could feel pressure from the inside.

    My specialist told me that if I failed to lose weight then he would put me on the list for lap band surgery.

    Now, I didn't think I was fat enough for THAT - yes, I was overweight, heavier than I had ever been. But I didn't waddle. I could still buy my clothes in the store - some stores, anyway. The larger ones with names like Bountiful, Abundance, Plus, Big Is Beautiful.

    I had strict instructions - cut out all sugar, cut out all fat, cut back on calories sufficiently to lose weight, be prepared to take supplements because this all would mean cutting back beyond what is normally considered sensible. Get help - he put me on diet pills, a sort to help me not feel so hungry and stop my metabolism slowing down from dieting.

    What helped me stick to it - knowing what was in store if I didn't. By having those simple rules, I was able to find ways that worked for me. I cut my portions back with the mental image of eating as if I already HAD had the lap band surgery. If I didn't diet to lose weight now - I would soon be living a permanent diabetic diet anyway.

    I've lost 21 Kg - that's about 46 pounds. But I'd only lost about 5 Kg when I found I was breathing better in my sleep and could again bend over without getting that horrible, nauseating liver-pinch in my belly.

    I needed to lose that weight, for so many reasons. But if I hadn't needed to so badly, if I hadn't been given those test results on my liver and pancreas, if I hadn't been told that I was one hair's breath away from some nasty alternatives, I don't think I could have been so successful.

    Amaze, you need to make a good choice for yourself. Not because we tell you to, or your doctor tells you to, but YOU have to do it.

    MRI is something you can close your eyes through, it doesn't hurt, it's over quickly. It's far preferable to a liver biopsy. They both can give you very useful answers. And because it's your liver, and not something less capable of recovery, you have some good chances.

  14. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Amaze...get the test. Marg is right in that it can come from anything. I have auto-immune Hepatitus and supposedly got it from taking Tylenol. (Who's kind of like finding a needle in a haystack.)

    I have chosen to stop medications many years ago because side effects, but I'll take that risk. One that saved my life was Imuran, which was experimental at the time, but worked wonders. The Prednisone I can leave on the curb. Ack.

    Go, girl!!