I'm on the transplant list at UCSF because of liver cancer. My tumors, Audrey and Carmine, have been kept in check with the six TACE treatments I received at UCSF between May 2013 and August 2014. The next step is to take care of some existing conditions to prepare for the journey to Transplantville.
I have adult onset diabetes. I don't have the body type but I do have the genes. The HbA1c blood test provides an average of your blood sugar for the previous couple of months and shows how well your diabetes is being controlled. My HbA1c has been on the climb since March 2013. The ideal level is less than 6.0 and mine was hovering at 8.1 range the last time it was checked. There are a number factors that may contribute to the ascent: genetics, age, a tired pancreas, the TACE treatments from Hell or my compromised liver. I had been able to keep my numbers down with just an oral medication, but that train has left the station.
Damn, it's time to Cowgirl Up and take the reins. You know: pay attention, be responsible, take charge. The bottom line is that uncontrolled diabetes can increase your risk for infection and slow your ability to heal after transplant surgery. I'm working with a clinical pharmacist at Kaiser to find a long term solution. I've started doing insulin once a day. I've always had a dislike of needles, but it's a simple and painless ritual. We are also adjusting current oral medications.
I also have Hepatitis C. It's important to have the Hep C virus undetectable in my blood at the time of transplant. On October 17th I started the Ribivarin and Sofosbuvir drug combo. To my delight I am experiencing none of the dreaded or expected side effects and my health plan is covering a majority of the cost. I will be on the combo until the transplant. Having my blood clear of the virus decreases the risk of exposing the new liver to Hep C. We're looking for longevity here, there are still a good number of things on my To Do List.
So there are definitely some new routines in my life. I've got a system and a schedule set up so I remember what to do when and to track notes and progress. It's a tedious little job, but a small price to pay for long term results.
I've licked Breast Cancer and I am a Warrior in Pink. Now I'm down to liver cancer, diabetes and Hepatitis C. For some this would seem to be a three strikes situation, but I look at it as only a small part of who I am. Bottom of the sixth, score tied, two out, bases loaded and I need a miracle. Call me Mo'ne Davis in an elder suit. Play like a girl, fight like a girl!
Following my train of thought to the next station I decided to find out what the ribbon color is for liver cancer. Come to find it's emerald green, which seems somehow appropriate for a girl born on St. Patrick's day. I just ordered myself a black zip up hoodie sweatshirt with this logo. Time to wear it proud and encourage others to fight.