Ally’s Story

Living with PBC

This mother, teacher and motorcycle enthusiast had symptoms for years, but didn’t know her itchy hands and fatigue were related to her liver.

My name is Ally.

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.

Getting diagnosed with PBC was a difficult and confusing process.

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.

It was a very frustrating time.

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.

Our whole world was turned upside down at that moment.

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.