Latest update after seeing my GP again... - British Liver Trust

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Latest update after seeing my GP again...

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8

I just thought I’d update you on my latest visit to my GP, and the plan that he has put together to try to sort me out.

The plan is for a routine medical (which he has already done), some new blood tests, an ultrasound test and a chest X-ray. He did the medical today and felt all round my liver and said it felt "lovely and soft" and "not swollen at all", neither of which would be the case, he said, if there was anything badly amiss (He was referring here, I think, to the possibility of Cirrhosis, though I realise now that there will be people on the Forum who wouldn’t agree with him on this).

He also looked at my last set of blood test results and actually looked quite taken aback, saying "Those blood results are excellent", but we'll get a new set done to make comparisons with the LFT's, and that should tell us a lot"...

He then said, "I'll book you in for an ultrasound" and asked me to have a chest X-ray down at Otley (our nearest local hospital) but added that he was only doing that for my own assurance, and that from his physical check of my liver today, he'd be very surprised if there was anything wrong.

I'm feeling a little bit happier now, and have just had a call from the hospital to offer me an appointment on Friday as they’ve had a cancellation today, and I’m having my blood tests done on Saturday, so everything is suddenly moving along pretty quickly now.

All the things I’ve recently learned about the unreliabilty of tests has really shaken me a lot, and this, coupled with fact that I seem to be hearing about some many cancers and cases of cirrhosis being missed have shocked me to the core, but ai can only do what I’m doing and hope I might eventually find some hope I can hang on to. If anyone can give any clues on where I might find that I’d very interested to know...

..

but one we get all the test results I'm hoping I'll be feeling even happier still.

14 Replies

Good evening young man. Hi Graham, thanks for the update, gosh you have been busy! Firstly, please don't, let a few negative comments talking about the unreliability of tests etc worry you. I was a little concerned earlier that some people particularly newcomers may be overly concerned reading some of the comments. I think folk are correct in that blood tests results for example if taken in isolation are not always reliable. Mistakes in diagnosis can be made just as they are in other fields, but we have to look at the bigger picture. Blood tests alone can give a faulty impression, a physical examination alone can lead to a faulty conclusion for example, but when all the pieces are fitted we can then get a clear picture of the entire puzzle. Your Doctor has given you a good physical, with encouraging sounding comments on your livers condition. Taken any relevant blood tests ( many docs would stop there, ) and booked you for an ultrasound!. Wow! Some of our fellows cannot persuade their docs to give them an ultrasound, the fact yours is to give you peace of mind is fantastic. Your Doctor sounds fantastic and I think you can have total confidence in them. So, relax, please don't listen to negative people, and with all of your tests results being taken as a whole, you will have a true and reliable picture of your liver health. Your exam today is a fantastic report for starters. Have a lovely evening, bev.

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to Thehermit

Hello Bev

Many thanks for your very encouraging comments. My GP also booked me for a chests-ray, too, so it seems he’s doing as much as he can for me at this time. He was also at pains to stress that he is doing the tests for my benefit, and not because he’s expecting to find anything sinister when they’re all done...

Thehermit profile image
Thehermit in reply to GrahamB8

Exactly, he sounds like a Doctor you can trust Graham and you sound a little brighter and more positive than you did in earlier comments if you don,t mind me saying so. Bev.

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to Thehermit

Thank you, Bev

I do feel a tad brighter now, and along with what I heard from the doctor, you’ve also played a huge part in lifting my mood, too, by the very reasoned and very balanced post you took the time to write to me. I’m really grateful to you for doing that, and I definitely owe you one (though it properly won’t be a pint, or anything dodgy like that!)...

Regards again

Graham

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to Thehermit

Hello again, Bev

Am I right in thinking that if a liver is “lovely and soft” as my doctor days it was, then that would make it different to how a cirrhosed liver would be? I think I read that livers in that condition tend to be quite hard, and that the doctors can feel the hard edges. Am I right in thinking that?

Regards

Graham

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to GrahamB8

I would say so, they like a good poke. The Gastroenterologist I 1st saw did exactly that & said lose the alcohol or lose the liver. I like a wee poke myself. With my Cirhossis I think I can actually feel the nodules.???

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to Hidden

Thank you, Ofeckman. He certainly did have “a good poke” when he examined me, so it’s been a pretty good start to getting things sorted out...

Regards

Graham

Thehermit profile image
Thehermit in reply to GrahamB8

, yes your liver sounds very healthy from the checkup. "Lovely and soft " is nothing like how a cirrhosis liver would feel. When I fetched up in Hospital the first time the Doctor told me my liver was " small and hard " and that " if you don,t stop abusing it with alcohol you will be dead within two years ". I gave up drinking immediately, but for the next year I was in constant pain, terrified, and my abdomen felt like there was a stone in there. It was awful and a constant reminder of the damage I had done to myself. The next time I was examined at the Hospital the consultant said my liver was hugely swollen, inflammed, which was a good sign he said ( didn't, sound like it to me!) as " it shows your liver is fighting back". I think you can sleep easy with " lovely and soft" cirrhosis is fibrous. Have a lovely evening Graham, Bev.

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to Thehermit

After your comments, Bev, I’m quite sure that I will. Thank you so much for sending that to me. It really does mean so much...

Regards and thanks yet again!

Graham

I think you can take a great deal of hope from the fact that your GP is giving you a thorough check out and promptly too. Many people become anxious with the waiting game. I, myself take the appraoch that if they take their time to give back results, then my condition must not be giving them any cause for concern. I know it is hard to wait for results, but people who are urgent will be pushed to the top of the list usually.

I've never had a doc palpate my liver, so everyone has their own approach I guess. I have found though that if you ask the sonographer (person doing the ultrasound) what they can see, how does the liver look etc they will usually answer, but then I have been having them done for a while now. I find they are fine about commenting on what they can see, just don't expect a diagnosis- they won't give that. Mine is usually happy to say if they can see changes, but since you haven't had one before, that won't be relevant to you.

Livers in good health will have even texture and be soft. Livers with damage will have hardened in places (not necessarily evenly- depends on the cause) and have uneven outline.

With the ultrasound they will also look at the gallbladder possibly and the spleen.

Good luck and I hope that you get some answers soon.

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to CarpeDiem11

Thank you, CarpeDiem11

I’m taking hope from it, as you suggest, and the doctor was very thorough in his approach. I felt he involved me in the process, too, because he said he would suggest a plan with me, and then see if I was happy to go along the route. I said I was, and he said said he’d get things set up for me straight away.

No complaints from me about my GP, then, and it’s actually not surprising because there seems to be a culture of being very thorough there, and that’s the way it’s been for as long as many of who are friends, and who go there, can remember. We’ve actually joked about the practice in the past and said “Don’t go there with a broken fingernail, or else they’ll be having you admitted straight away”.

As you might imagine, then, I actually expected a response that was similar to the one I got today, though that actually deterred me for a few days because I knew that if I mentioned it to them, they’d be at it like they were, and I wondered if I could cope with that just now.

Anyway, I’m “at it” with them now, and I just hope I get through every stage of the tests intact. Wish me luck on the scary journey because I’m strapped in now for the ride...

CarpeDiem11 profile image
CarpeDiem11 in reply to GrahamB8

It can feel like a scary ride, but a GP that discusses a plan with you is " jackpot" as far as I'm concerned. You seem to be taking the right strategy- getting properly informed and having a positive approach.

Whatever the outcome of the results, I am sure you will get through the next stage with such a great mindset. Having wobbles about the unknown is what many of us experience.

Good luck and " keep at it".

GrahamB8 profile image
GrahamB8 in reply to CarpeDiem11

I’ll try to keep at it, CarpeDiem, but I know how scared I’ll be whilst I’m waiting for the results.

I suppose I could have a pint or two whilst I’m waiting, but then again, maybe not...

CarpeDiem11 profile image
CarpeDiem11 in reply to GrahamB8

Well I can see you have been very active on the board, so it will be great to see how you get on. Until then.....fingers crossed.

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