scared.

The doctor’s assisstant just called about the blood I had drawn back on the 4th for the thyroid, liver and other thing.*

The liver enzymes are elevated.

They want me to stop taking pain medication and stop drinking alcohol immediately, and abstain for three months, and get tested again. I told her I cannot stop taking the pain medication, that the Tylenol3 is the only thing that helps me with the pain every month. We discussed how much Tylenol3 I consume each month and she told me that should be fine. I told her I’ve also been taking Chinese herbal medication for my liver and for uterine pain, based upon instructions from my acupuncturist. She said that should be fine to keep taking, and that as of now, I must abstain from all alcohol.

I remember being given the same stern warning oh… fifteen years ago after my pancreas got all inflamed and landed me in the hospital for four days. Within a year…maybe within months, I went right back to drinking. I started getting blackout drunk at clubs and parties within two years and that continued until at least last year.

In short, I don’t listen very well.

Wow. Elevated liver enzymes. That explains why I’ve been chronically tired dating back to Christmas, and likely explains the lethargy and depression for the last two weeks as well.

Your help is greatly appreciated – if you see me or read about me drinking alcohol from this point on, please remind me sternly that it WILL kill me and to STFU and STOPPIT NOW.
Please. I cannot do this alone. I have social anxiety – that’s mostly why I drink. And I also drink when I’m too stressed out.


5:35pm Edit: This article has a lot of good info for me. To wit:
“Mild to moderate elevations of the liver enzymes are commonplace. They are often unexpectedly encountered on routine blood screening tests in otherwise healthy individuals. The AST and ALT levels in such cases are usually between twice the upper limits of normal and several hundred units/liter.”

“The most common cause of mild to moderate elevations of these liver enzymes is fatty liver. In the United States, the most frequent cause of fatty liver is alcohol abuse. Other causes of fatty liver include diabetes mellitus and obesity. Chronic hepatitis C is also becoming an important cause of mild to moderate liver enzyme elevations.”

“A host of medications can cause abnormal liver enzymes levels. Examples include:
…Pain relief medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), neproxen (Narosyn), diclofenac (Voltaren), and phenybutazone (Butazolidine)”

“With drug-induced liver enzyme abnormalities, the enzymes usually normalize weeks to months after stopping the medications.”

“Less common causes of abnormal liver enzymes in the United States include chronic hepatitis B, hemachromatosis, Wilson’s disease, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, celiac sprue, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and autoimmune hepatitis. Though not as common as hepatitis C, hepatitis B can cause chronic liver disease with persistently abnormal liver enzymes.”

“Rarely, abnormal liver enzymes can be a sign of cancer in the liver. Cancer arising from liver cells is called hepatocellularcarcinoma or hepatoma. Cancers spreading to the liver from other organs (such as colon, pancreas, stomach, etc) are called metastatic malignancies.”

“If alcohol or medication is responsible for the abnormal liver enzyme levels, stopping alcohol or the medication (under a doctor’s supervision only) should bring the enzyme levels to normal or near normal levels in weeks to months. If obesity is suspected as the cause of fatty liver, weight reduction of 5% to 10% should also bring the liver enzyme levels to normal or near normal levels.”

“If abnormal liver enzymes persist despite abstinence from alcohol, weight reduction and stopping certain suspected drugs, blood tests can be performed to help diagnose treatable liver diseases.”

“Ultrasound and CAT scan of the abdomen are sometimes used to exclude tumors in the liver or other conditions such as gallstones or tumors obstructing the ducts that drain the liver.”

So it’s good that I’ll be going for further testing to rule out celiac. If I DO have celiac, it could be a factor in the elevated liver enzyme issue. Then again, I’ve done well with abstaining from glutenous foods, so why would I be having a liver reaction?
Anyway, the drinking does NOT help me AT ALL, and neither does the Tylenol 3. But what do I do for the Endometriosis pain? :(

And don’t forget about my lovely gall stone issue (hmmm was it really a liver issue now I wonder?) back in September.


*I STILL forgot to ask them what that third blood test was for.

One Response to “scared.”

  1. I Will Not Suffer In Silence » Blog Archive » Trying out Vicoprofen

    […] had suggested a few months ago that I try Vicoprofen instead of Tylenol 3 – for two reasons: 1) My liver enzymes were really high in January 2008 and the doctor thinks it’s from taking Tylenol 3 every month for the past few years. 2) The […]