Hope this finds you all relatively well.
Bear with me, this is quite a lengthy post, but I hope some of you will read and perhaps advise...
My name is Tim and I was a frequent heavy binge drinker from about age 18 to 40.
In October 2011, there were signs that something was afoot. Immediately acknowledging my heavy drinking history, I stopped drinking all Alcohol immediately.
I developed back pain to the rear lower left ribs & this seemed to be exacerbated after eating. Coupled with a change in stools to soft and bulky, I thought this could be Chronic Pancreatitis caused by Alcohol. However, I also began having Hypoglycemic episodes (the opposite of what you would expect with Pancreatitis) and back pain eventually going all across the back over to the bottom right rib cage.
I lost quite a bit of weight, but put it back on over the next few months so I now don't think this is Pancreatitis, as Pancreatics struggle to put any weight on.
The only thing that has stood out from a long regime of blood tests and scans over the last 2 1/2 years since was an enlarged liver on CT in February 2012. Liver functions were fine and there was no pain in that area so I wasn't overly concerned at the time.
The doctors said the back pain must be Musculo-Skeletal and/or IBS.
After a regime of taking 3 Evening Primrose Oil capsules per day for over a year (recommended for inflammation, I guessed it would be a good idea) I suddenly decided to stop taking these. Immediately, I noticed two chalk coloured stools followed.
My attention then immediately turned to the Liver.
I noticed that on five of my finger nails, I had lost the Nunulas, and I had developed red bands to the tips of these nails.
Also, after coming off the Primrose Oil (in March 2013) I also developed a period of mental fog, where I was disorientated and found it harder concentrating on things.
I went to my Doctor and insisted on a private referral to a Hepatologist (Martin Lombard, the UK' Governments Tsar for Liver Disease no less) and also at my own suggestion, my GP perscribed Lactulose to see if this helped with the mental fog.
So, I saw Martin Lombard, who basically perused all the data and scans and said "we can only diagnose what we can see" and that there was no outstanding evidence of advanced liver disease. As regards the enlarged Liver shown on CT he came out with a reply along the lines of "thats subjective and only one opinion". He said there was no evidence of Spleen enlargement (I asked because of the pain in my lower left rear ribs that started all the alarm bells ringing in the first place) and also no evidence of Portal Hypertension. He also said he had never heard of Terry's Nails and said "we dont diagnose things on that basis anymore, maybe they did 100 years ago"
He basically said, just live healthily and what will be will be. He didn't rule Liver Disease out, but he didn't rule it in. He wrote to my Doc basically saying "no cause for alarm".
Meanwhile the mental fog I was experiencing, did not seem to react to the Lactulose intake - and I took up to 150ml per day at the end of the trial. It just went away of its own accord after about six weeks. I took this as a good sign. Maybe the Liver was just a Fatty Liver and taking the Primrose Oil for a while had exacerbated that?
Meanwhile, I was still getting the back pain out on the wide left, tip of rib cage.
Ok I thought, the docs suggest IBS. Lets give that a REAL good looking at. I looked at the concept of Dysbiosis in the gut and all the wonderful things it can cause: Hypoglycemia, Brain fog etc. It seemed to tick quite a few boxes.
So, I read that Candida overgrowth is a common cause of dysbiosis.
In the absence of any better suggestions from the doctors, and nobody saying "This is definitely Liver problems" I purchased a single dose 150mg Fluconazole tablet on 6th September 2013 and took it that day.
Within 24 hours, I developed pain under the front right lower ribs. 48 hours after that, I pass two pale sand coloured stools, the stools then reverted to a more normal shade. I also noticed my urine had a very strong ammonia odor about it. And then the Brain Fog returned.
I had a full blood count done on 9th September 2013, blood came back yet again saying all is normal. Still having the pain under my lower front right ribs. Went back to Doctor who sent me for an Ultrasound of the Liver. When I had the ultrasound I was suffering with a virus and the ultrasonographer said the Spleen was "ever so slightly" large at a diameter of 12.5cm. But nothing really to worry about & the Liver looked ok.
Plodded on into 2014 still having pain on the wide left of the back, lower tip of rib cage where I guess the Spleen is & also pain in the front lower right rib cage . Brain Fog on and off since I took the Fluconazole in Sept 2013.
2 year old daughter has just had tonsillitis - I caught the same bug, and that pain on the wide left spleen area had gone up a notch and now I've got Hypoglycemic symptoms (shakiness after carbs, heavy night sweating) returning over the last couple of nights as the virus subsides.
Hope my worst fears aren't realised, this would be an absolute nightmare scenario for me, I decided to have children late in life (I'm 42) so I've got a 2 year old daughter and a 3 year old son and a disabled wife who all very much count on me.
Am I right to be very concerned?
If so, any advice? I feel like a rudderless Galleon bobbing on the waves.
Thanks very much for reading, peace & love to all, Tim