This professional actor was all too familiar with NASH when she was diagnosed, having lost both her mother and brother to the disease.
I am a working actor living in New York. I enjoy expressing my creativity and find writing daily to be therapeutic. I even wrote and performed a one-woman show about change and letting go, that incorporated some of my body issues.
I have a phenomenal medical team, but I still worry about my future with NASH. I know I need to do everything I can to help keep my disease from progressing further.
During a routine visit with my primary care doctor, she tested my liver function and saw that the numbers were elevated. Thinking it could be due to hepatitis C, she sent me to see several different specialists. An ultrasound exam revealed that I had a fatty liver. Following that, I underwent a liver biopsy and was diagnosed with NASH, and learned I already had significant fibrosis.
My mother and brother both died from NASH. Even though they were in later stages of the disease when they were diagnosed and both had Type 2 diabetes, which I don’t have, learning that I too had NASH made me feel anxious and fearful. I also felt some shame because I knew that NASH was related to my weight and issues with overeating.
With the support of my medical team, I’m now focused on making lifestyle changes to improve my health. I’m also seeing a nutritionist and therapist, who have helped me both physically and emotionally. I have long struggled with self-esteem issues as it relates to my weight and self-image. Being diagnosed with NASH motivated me to lose weight, which is something I don’t think I would have otherwise done. However, I was surprised to find that I had mixed feelings about shedding pounds; while very positive for my health, I’m also resistant and fearful about changing how I’ve always been. Losing weight has also impacted my acting career as I now have to re-introduce myself to casting directors. It has been a big adjustment for me to no longer identity myself as overweight, and I’m working through the emotions and changes that I’ve been experiencing.
As an actor, I’m very used to inhabiting a role and telling my character’s story, and I’m comfortable in that role. Now, I find myself on the other side. I never thought I would be talking about my family history of NASH and talking about my own diagnosis, but I’m happy to be sharing my personal story to help raise awareness of this disease and let others know that there is hope.