This mother, teacher and motorcycle enthusiast had symptoms for years, but didn’t know her itchy hands and fatigue were related to her liver.
I am a special education teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. I have four beautiful children, a wonderful husband, two loving dogs, and two very sweet cats. This is my story.
When you have a rare chronic illness, it is really important to understand what you need to do to manage it. As a mom, it can be hard for me to put my own health needs first, but I know that I have to.
It started with a routine physical. My doctor tested my liver function and the results showed that something was wrong. From there I had to go to several follow-up doctor’s appointments and saw a specialist.
Both my doctor and the specialist I went to asked me several times about my drinking habits. They told me that liver function test results like mine were usually a sign of alcoholism. I kept telling them that I was not a heavy drinker.
After a while, the doctors told me that my liver tests were abnormal because I had something called fatty liver disease. It’s a common condition and I thought I would just have to be more careful about eating well and exercising more.
But a nurse from my doctor’s office called to schedule a liver biopsy. I didn’t know what she was talking about. I told her that the doctor hadn’t said anything about needing a biopsy for my fatty liver disease. She said, “Oh no honey, you don’t have fatty liver. Didn’t the doctor tell you? You have PBC.”
Since then, I’ve learned a lot. I started taking medicine to treat my PBC, and I know how important it is to get my liver function tested every few months. I am my own best advocate, and I have my family to support me.