A Long Letter
I've had cirrhosis for 11y'rs. and was treated in North London 'cos
I lived there, and with the treatment I've received here in Birkenhead, I wish I still did. They're so backwards,probably to do with lack of funding, that when I first asked for a case specialist, I was told I had one.The fact that he was in London and I would never be able to see him didn't seem to come into it.
In Chase Farm hospital,North London, within the first two months Of discovering I had liver problems I'd had loads of blood tests leading to a bone and the liver scan, colposcopy ( horrible by the way) a biopsy, ultrasound and a test for cirrhosis and I'd only gone to my doctor with joint pain and was taking paracetamol . I was phoned within two months with the diagnosis of ALL of the tests and and assigned a specialist before I knew where I was and the speed of it all was really great as it didn't have chance to feel sorry for myself.
Firstly, it was diagnosed as autoimmune hep which is difficult to diagnose but although I did drink quite a lot for a 5ft 7.8 stone woman and deserved it to be that, they were sure it wasn't but told me not to drink any-more. As with a lot of people who suffer with Autoimmune ,I also had cirrhosis for which for the liver disease plus the osteo-arthritis I was given azathioprine, which stops my blood cells attacking healthy ones so helps everything. For my bones - calcium,adcal,vit B (strong) plus thiamin - they call these "the alchy drugs (nice and polite). The only drug I was worried about is called Attarax which stops the itching immediately, A pain killer for my joints, and is also an anti/depressant which stops anxiety and panic attacks - but is rather addictive and also called xanax which I'm sure we've all heard quite a few Americans live on (sorry Yanks). My specialist assured me that he was just replacing the anti depressant, ( I was on citalampram - because I'd had a really bad fall for which I've had six operations and still need more and so obviously it made me me miserable and in pain) the painkiller s( co-codomol 30/500 - also quite addictive ) would treat the insomnia ( because of the anthihistamine ) and mostly imortant for me ,the itching which was doing my head in. He did tell me that they're not sure about the effects on my liver. He said he would do continual bi monthly tests to see that the cirrhosis didn't get worse, and that if I ever got well enough to stop taking it he would insure it was tapered and I wouldn't suffer any detox effects. He gave me the choice and really trusting him, I accepted and incredibly in a matter of days, it did everything he'd said and didn't even make me forgetful. I was totally chuffed.
Then I moved to Birkenhead and I've had to start from the beginning. We'd got to know each other quite well, so I've left a message at Chase FarmHospital for my old specialist for him to get back to me and the hospital here and hopefully he'll be able to sort things out. I was lucky to be allocated a top specialist so he may be able to make demands if I'm lucky.
Sorry about going on, you only asked how long I'd had cirrhosis, but I thought I'd give you all the info I had.
Good luck and keep us informed of your progress
I'm knackered now