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You are going to need a lot of folks to support you with the Hepatitis C Virus. Think of them as your People who Stand by Me with Hepatitis C and Liver Disease team.   It will include family, friends, medical, and social media friends from the internet forums and groups. I got your back, but you are gonna need a whole tribe.  

I got you Who will stand by me with Hepatitis C and Liver Disease?

Your family are the ones that were there long before you knew about the silent liver killer. They are connected to you for life. Some of those relationships may have been tested as you struggled with mental, physical and emotional difficulties. Also, coping with an illness may have brought out the worst in you. Anyway, for better or worse, they are your family. They may become your caregiver even while you deal with the harsh symptoms and side effects. Reach out and ask for the support that you need.

Talk with family members about the decisions you are making. Ask for their help when you need it. Protect those relationships by remembering that they have to deal with grieving the loss that they feel regarding your role in their lives. They may not always have answers, but you can ask them to research for you. Guide them to pages (like this one) for information about what you are going through.

Medical Backup or MASH

Your doctor and staff were vital members of the team I chose to stand by me with Hepatitis C and liver disease. At first, they ran tests and scans,  and also knew the current treatment options and decide which type is best. Next, they monitored me after treatment. Finally, they become teachers and coaches. You have a lot to learn about lab values, viral loads, stages of cirrhosis, and nutrition. Find a doctor that you can place your trust in.

Hospital and Laboratory staff are members of your team. I had the same phlebotomist for a long time. I trusted her to get a good vein, even when they were collapsing. When my platelets and hemoglobin were low, she had to stick me a couple of times a week. She was my personal cheerleader.

The point is this: Everyone in your life is there to help you. The Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) tech, the emergency room staff, the anesthesiologist, specialty pharmacy, nurses, nutritionist, insurance office staff, and the housekeeping staff all support to you. Most consider it a calling. There is a lot of compassion, education, and valuable support from these members of your allied health team. 

Insiders and Outsiders

Your Internet Family will become closer than you thought was possible. First of all, these peeps will cheer you on AND listen to your ramblings. In fact, they often end up telling you when to chill out, and when to get off the couch. Similarly, they offer a million ways to help with symptoms like varices or ascites. Some of those may be a little kooky, so talk to your doctor. Some of my favorite online resources are listed here.  Find chat rooms and forums and stick with them. They have been where you are in some form. Remember, they have their good and bad days too. Be there for them.

The things I discussed with a friend might not be relevant to my doctor or my internet friends. For example, the details I told to my family were sometimes revealed to the nurse, sometimes not. Choose the people on your team to share specific things with. If they cannot help you, maybe they will point you in the right direction.

At one time, I had literally dozens of people that touched my life weekly, if not daily. They were part of my inner circle of allies. Some of these overlapped, some did not. I learned that they would all stand by me with Hepatitis C and liver disease.

I am a member of YOUR Hepatitis C Support Allied Health Team. For sure, I don’t know everything, but I have connections with people like you. In fact, you all have helped save my life, and are also valuable members of my support group. Furthermore, you are the people I count on to stand by me with Hepatitis C and liver disease. Even now after the transplant and cancer mess, we’re still together. I love you with all my heart. XO Karen

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You need knowledge about how your liver works, so you can give it lots of support, and live longer, even with end stage disease. A lot of liver disease is caused from inflammation. Your liver is the target for  celiac, Hepatitis, and many other diseases like crohn’s, Nash, NAFLD, and fatty liver. They can choke and block the liver from doing its job. I learned how to be in a good relationship with my liver, and it has helped me make good choices, and kept me alive. Now I’ll share what I learned about  how your liver works. It is like an oil filter, a warehouse, a transformer, and also a recycling station.

Here’s a simple breakdown! Filter

The liver is basically like an oil filter.  It is tucked right under our ribs on the right side, and is the largest organ in our body. It’s a 24/7 filter. Everything we eat, drink, inhale, or put on our skin is filtered by the liver. When an oil filter  in a car has been ignored,  it creates engine sludge, increased engine wear, burns oil, and finally has engine seizure. The same is true of your liver. The longer you ignore the warning symptoms, the more accelerated liver disease becomes.

Transform Foods

The liver is like a transformer. It removes sugars from our intestines and stores them as glycogen. When we need some energy, it shows up and meeds our demands.  if the liver is impaired,  blood sugar regulation gets out of kilter.  It can be a cause of diabetes.

The liver transforms animo acids into protein. It takes protein to produce the food, healing, and energy your body needs. You don’t even have to think about it. Just give it good sources of protein and carbohydrates, in the right amounts, and at the right time. If you’re not sure what to eat, read here and here or go the recipe drop down messages.

Warehouse

The liver is also like a warehouse that stores vitamins, sugars, fats, nutrients, and more. It converts all of these things into something our body can use. The liver then releases them into the bloodstream as the body needs them.  It can actually take the right amount of fats and proteins and turn them into usable glucose.  It is a silent partner that keeps us stocked up on what we need to stay active and healthy.

Recycling

Finally, the liver is like a recycling station  that breaks down everything in our bodies that can’t be used. It discards toxins  from the environment, and from our lifestyle, and creates bile. This toxin filled bile contains some extra fats, sugars and everything your body doesn’t need. It takes any poison we throw at it, and then turns it into water, or bile that can be eliminated through our urine or intestines!

It makes this liquid or bile from everything you eat, drink, inhale, or put on your skin. We need to be aware of our lifestyle because that includes food, drinks, work environment, hobbies, skin care products and a host of other factors. The less recycling the liver has to do, the better we feel daily, and also the less damage we create in the long run.

How Your Liver Works

The liver is the only organ that regenerates, or heals itself. As the liver tries to heal the injury caused by disease, fibrosis is formed. Fibrosis is like scar tissue that our liver creates in its’ attempt to heal.

The scar tissue, or fibrosis, binds and restrict blood vessels in the liver.It happened to me when my blood backed up toward my heart and stomach, causing esophageal varices.  

Now that we understand how important the liver is to our body, having the hep c virus, or any other type of liver disease takes on a whole new meaning. Hep C caused inflammation of my liver. There is no getting around the fact that if you have it, your liver will become more damaged with time. Getting a good diagnosis and medical treatment is crucial. You may have alcoholic cirrhosis, or something else. Talk to your doctor about ways to support your liver. You can always make positive changes and turn it around. Don’t give up on yourself. 

The Cause of Liver Disease doesn’t Always Matter

I’m not a doctor, but I’ve been where you are. If you can give your liver some relief from liver disease with medication, diet, lifestyle changes, or getting the hep c virus treated, then you can liver a longer healthier life. You will also be ready if your liver decompensates, you get liver cancer, or you need a transplant.   Your liver is a hard working organ.  XOXO Karen

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What a winter it’s been for many of our friends. Me too. I’ve been fighting sinus problems and still can’t take anything but children’s Benadryl. It’s been this way for years. With Hepatitis C, I was afraid to take anything, even for pain. After clearing the virus, I ended up with cancer and a transplant.

Can’t Get a Break

It seems like every little thing creates such a fuss. If you’re like me, at times you may get tired of living with the physical symptoms and all the effects of liver disease or Hepatitis C. You find your thoughts spiraling into anger, depression, guilt, or even despair. I hear from people who sometimes want to just give up. This blog is for those days. Don’t give up on yourself with cirrhosis or Hep C. You CAN find a way to overcome every circumstance that you face. 

Embrace yourself

Dwelling on the negative aspects of your health is not going to change anything. Sure, I fully understand the effects that liver disease has on my family, friends, finances, choices, and my health. My mind races around trying to fix one of those areas, and when it seems I have thought things through to a place of peace, it jumps onto the next one.

Don’t Give Up on Yourself with Cirrhosis

Let’s face it: Nothing will ever be the same again.  I personally think it will only get better. In the meantime, or what I call the “between time”, there are a few steps you can take that can re-adjust your mindset. It will take some practice, but there is no doubt in my mind that you and I cannot do it!

Take Responsibility – First, accept responsibility for your present circumstances and forgive yourself. You did what you thought was best at the time. Hanging on to negative emotions like guilt, shame, and powerlessness leads to blaming, unforgiveness, victimization, and bitterness. Those emotions are poison to our minds.  Maybe you contributed to your symptoms by drinking alcohol, living an unhealthy lifestyle, being bitter, or doing drugs.  Perhaps you ignored symptoms for years. It is what it is. You did your best. Move on from here.

Let Go – Our mind passes it’s pain on to our bodies. We cannot allow our thoughts to wreak havoc on what life and liver we have left.  We can spend our days, weeks, months, and years telling an old sad story, or trying to predict what is going to happen next. Life doesn’t have to make sense all the time. Let it go. Just let it go and then move on.

Take Action – Be deliberate about moving forward into a healthy future. Distract yourself by reading something uplifting or listening to a song that does not bring a bad memory with it.

Good Action Steps

Buy a new pen and book to write in.

Make a list of goals. 

Set your shoes by the door so you’ll walk more.

Buy some healthy groceries.

Clean out your fridge. 

Don’t throw in the towel

Taking positive action leads to a higher state of thought. Peaceful thinking frees us up to forgive ourselves, pardon others, and give grace to those who need it. That includes our parents, family, friends, health care providers, insurance companies, drug manufacturers, specialty pharmacies, overnight delivery drivers, medical billing clerks, collection agencies, lab techs, nurse and everybody. Forgive and release everyone and everything for everything, including myself.

We have so many opportunities to express bitterness out every day as we are battling for our lives. When we carry all that burden, we slowly leak our energy out. Don’t give up on yourself with cirrhosis. 

It is what it is.  We can accept that this is our life. That was our past. These were our decisions. This is what others did to me. This is what I did as a result of what others did to me. Meditate and watch your thoughts. You are so much more than those thoughts racing around in your head.

Don’t give up on yourself with cirrhosis

I won’t give up on myself. This is what is happening now. This is how I choose to handle it. I will not place blame on myself or anyone else. Now you can move out of limbo.

It’s been almost 4 years since I got a liver from my dear organ donor, and am now cancer free. Since the transplant, I am able to live a full and radiant life. It’s not without problems, but I have a future. You do too! We don’t give up on ourself with cirrhosis. We’ve got a lot of living to do.

XO Karen

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Your story of liver disease is unique, and your way of coping with it is too. You may have had a shocking diagnosis  from Hep C or to could have come on slowly if you have NASH, fatty, or autoimmune illness.It’s your body. No one knows it better than you. With all of its moles and creases, and poking out places, from top to toenails it’s all yours. Many times, we forget that we are our own best friend when it comes to our health. No one else lives in our skin. The breath that you just took? It’s yours.

Oh yes you can!

Now is the perfect time to study your symptoms and find the clues to the best diet for YOUR body. You’ve learned by now that liver disease is definitely not a one-size-fits-all illness. Your complaints and symptoms may be the total opposite from someone else. Our bodies all respond differently to food and drugs. In addition to that, our level of tolerance for certain foods can change depending on blood lab levels, energy output, and even stress. Finally, we can’t ignore hereditary factors. Each of us has a special set of genes that can cause our liver to function in a unique way.

An easy way to start is to look into the habits that create your lifestyle. You can detect little clues to discover your style of cooking and eating. Once you are aware, it is simple to make small changes.”

Your Story of Liver Disease is Different than Mine

“I’ve gotta be me cause everyone else is taken. You do too. One thing I get asked over and over is how I am still alive after being diagnosed with End Stage Liver Disease, Hepatitis C, and liver cancer. I can absolutely say that food is a huge part of my survival. I’m on a mission to help everyone eat better and live stronger longer.

But let’s be honest: You won’t do things exactly like me. All I am is a fairly decent example of what healthy eating can do. You can learn from me, and then do it YOUR way.

You are going to tweak the Liver Loving Diet and make it your own. By playing around with some ingredients and ideas, a different kind of healthy eating will be born at your house. Think of it as a hybrid way of cooking based on your personal taste. Don’t think for one minute that you will do it like anyone else.” From Chapter 1, The Liver Loving Diet

This book was written as I lived with end stage and liver cancer. It was my deepest effort to stay on the planet. The diction is not perfect, but the stories, real life tips, screw ups, and work arounds are real. So are the cooking sessions for over 250 recipes. Let me know what you think. I didn’t publish in book form so that everyone could afford it.

If you have questions or comments or just need encouragement, comment below and I’ll get back asap! XO Karen

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I can’t write about my organ donor the way I write about everything else. As a transplant recipient, there just  aren’t enough words in my vocabulary or heart. My dear donor, that beautiful boy who’s pictures I have memorized in every corner of my mind – the boy whose liver is tucked literally beneath my heart – would have been 21 years old on March 11. This blog is for my organ donor’s birthday.  

Happy Birthday Angel

I wrote a letter to his family soon after my transplant. Gavin’s mom and I have messaged a lot since then.  In public speaking, I haven’t mentioned his name, but mom recently said it would be fine now. However, even before I knew his name, he had moved far beyond being the boy who passed, whose mom donated his organs to save lives. Gavin wasn’t just the boy who shared his liver to rid me of cancer. He is, and always will be, many things to many people. 

Gavin is the boy whose life on earth ended, while mine was saved. I say this in a heavy hearted way that only a transplant recipient will understand. My donor passed too young, leaving forever during springtime, and his life will be remembered, and celebrated like springtime.

Survivor’s Heartfelt Emotions

Forgive me if this blog is disjointed. My heart is in a tangle right now. I’ve typed and edited sentence after sentence, and am finally going to publish – on time – the ways I’m learning to think about, and celebrate, my organ donor’s birthday. 

Liver Cancer – By March, the tumor was like a sumo wrestler. It was slowly getting more aggressive, growing rapidly, and being joined by a fellow tumor. Additional liquid poison was poured directly through a catheter in my femoral artery. The tube protected the vein from destruction, and allowed targeted delivery on the tumors and surrounding liver tissue. It was our 3rd attempt to rid me of The Awful. At any moment, my Meld could change and I would be denied a transplant, removed from the list.

Celebrating Gavin’s Life

Gavin turned 17 on a Wednesday afternoon. He was celebrated with gifts, gathered around a cake and blowing out candles with his siblings. He was a typical teen, who liked to hang out at grandpa’s place, and nobody ever loved a grandson more. His brothers were his best friends. His sisters thought he hung the stars. Even though he had to bend down to hug his mama, he was always and forever her baby. 

After that birthday, life went on as usual. Next came spring break, school testing, and helping his little sisters get ready for Easter egg hunting. As the oldest, and tallest in the family, everyone looked up to him, literally and figuratively. Living in a small home town, he knew that a welcoming door was always open at his family and friends house.

There is no wonderful summary here. No paragraph to announce that his loss is now easier. His voice, presence, and love are still deeply missed. His birthday will be celebrated as always,  with mom remembering the day she gave birth to two boys. The cake will be made and the candles blew out by his twin brother.

In my home, heart, and in my body, I celebrate my organ donor’s birthday too. That sweet boy who never grew into a man would have been 21 today. I carry him, and the thought of him with me daily. As a transplant athlete, I draw strength from his life. As Lifeshare Oklahoma’s Advocate of the Year, I tell our story in hopes of encouraging others who have loved and lost.

Mom

As a mom and grandma, I feel his passing keenly, and am extremely thankful that his mother intuitively used her great heart, and presence of mind. Because of her decision, she insured that he would be remembered forever in many lives, including the ones who received his donated organs. Yes, sweet wonderful thoughtful caring tenderhearted Gavin is remembered, and lives on in all of us.

Happy Birthday Gavin. You are so loved, and missed so much. You are forever in our hearts and minds. We celebrate your life today, and every day.

XOXO Love, Karen

The post My Organ Donor’s Birthday appeared first on I Help C.

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I’ve been battling cavities a lot. Some of it was from Hep C, some may have been medicine or treatment, liver cancer, or the Tace and Ablation. I feel like diuretics and even diet or hepatic encephalopathy make it worse. In any case, I did a fb live and have had questions about it lately. Here are some facts for dry mouth with liver problems.

Karen and Kat Facts for Dry Mouth with Liver Problems

Increased dryness may go along with some medications. It is more than just dehydration or thirst. No amount of water helps when it gets that bad, but there are some things that can help. If you have thrush, first try the miracle mouthwash  and then tackle the dry mouth.

Your voice can become scratchy or sound different. You might even have a hoarse throat and deeper tone due to dry mouth. It is hard to talk when your mouth clacks and your tongue feels swollen. Did you read my blog on teeth and gums? 

Dry mouth needs treatment because saliva helps to protect your teeth. When you do not have enough, it can cause increased tooth decay. So brushing and using your water flosser becomes even more important. Check out my youtube on that. I got a CLEAN CHECK UP after going to work on my mouth.

Products and Practices

Help for dry mouth can come in the form of a mouthwash and toothpaste.

Biotene or Xerodytom are 2 that my dentist recommended. Look for any brand that contains Xylitol,then talk to your doctor in addition to your dentist. Any mouthwash that contains alcohol should be avoidedwith liver disease, whether from Hepatitis C or any cause.

There are several on the market. There are also some brands that target dry mouth! When you find these products on sale, try and stock up. In addition, try mints and sprays with xylitol.

Some of the ingredients in contain olive oil to help coat your mouth. Check out my blog on oil pulling and add that practice to your dental care regime.

During some medical treatment, like that for Hep C, depression, or other meds, dry mouth is one of those side effects that you may have to deal with daily.  Think of it as a reminder that there are wonderful drugs in your body that are helping you feel better and move into a healthy future.

Diet Can Play a Part

Eating soft, healthy, bland foods that have moisture can help.Pudding, shakes, ice cream, and popsicles are good. I even ate some baby food at times. Avoid spicy dishes and salt, which can cause discomfort and increase dryness. Check out the Liver Loving Diet. I also feel that drinking water or other beverages at room temperature can be less harsh and help dry mouth.

I’ve had so many dental problems with teeth and gums. I’ve made it through and then after my liver transplant, started having more problems. My tips are pretty thorough. I’ve tried everything, and am getting good check ups now. Stick with me and you can increase your oral health too! I hope my facts for dry mouth with liver problems helps. If you have any questions, let me know! XOXO Karen

The post Facts for Dry Mouth with Liver Problems appeared first on I Help C.

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Can You Exercise Safely with Liver Cirrhosis When my liver failed with Hepatitis C, my doctor made me quit exercises. No weights, no cycling, no running. I had to prove that I would be super careful not to cause another varices bleed. Ascites was a problem too, and low platelets. Once I got my body calmed down and my Meld was below 15, I was allowed to begin working out again, but very slowly. Can you exercise safely with liver cirrhosis? No matter what the cause, Nash, fatty, autoimmune, hepatitis, PBC,  PBS, you can. If you don’t have advanced disease, these are good tips to keep your muscles strong, and your heart and lungs healthy for many years to come.

Uhmmm. Not that easy.

NOTE: My general health was good when my liver failed from Hep C. BEFORE you start, be sure to get permission from your doctor. If you approach exercise with caution, it’s possible you’ll get the go ahead.

Safe Exercise with Liver Cirrhosis

Weights – If you have liver disease, you’ll be a light weight to start with. I had to keep it under 5 lbs. Otherwise, the risk of creating a new varices was too high. Of course, popping one could always bring on a bleed out and those can be life threatening. I don’t want to scare you, but I learned the hard way and am super lucky to be here. Low weights with lots of reps can keep you strong. You won’t lose a lot of muscle mass, and you can continue to eat healthy protein that your liver can metabolize. 

Nutrition – Eating protein that is safe for your liver is a no brainer. Of course you can go totally plant based. I mixed in some meat from the start due to anemia. Watch your lab numbers and if your UREA and metabolic panel are within limits, your doctor may allow you to eat meat too. In spite of eating good protein, I got a bit soft. Ask your doctor how many grams of protein you should get per day and go from there. Get all the nutrients you need by eating healthy veggies, fruit, and protein. 

Cardio – Walking is always the best. It can help you beat fatigue and keep your energy level up. It’s proven to help hour heart health and is safe. Cycling and running are great options too. A helmet is a smart idea if you have low platelets. Any type of head injury could cause excessive bleeding. Running may require more energy than you’ve got with advanced disease. I always ran when I could and think it helped. I’m no longer a runner since the diagnosis. 

Can You Exercise Safely with Liver Cirrhosis ?

If you have advanced disease, a scarred up liver will back your blood up into your esophagus. I had a stomach full of the little varices, probably from all the cycling I was doing. If you have portal vein hypertension, take your beta blocker, and ask your doctor how high you can get your heart rate. For cycling, running, or fast walking – this is a must. Wear a heart rate monitor and STAY under your doctor’s orders to be on the safe side.

It’s always in your favor to do some type of exercise. I go with stretching and yoga these days and you can catch my videos here. If you are determined to lift weights and keep up cardio strength, I’m right here cheering you on! My physical strength paid off when they found a liver tumor. After using Tase and Ablation to treat the cancer, I got a transplant. I credit my overall health and recovery to my lifestyle, diet, and exercise. Please let me know if you have any questions, and always talk to your doctor about your limits. Take your medications like diuretics or lactulose if needed, but stay active and strong! XO Karen

The post Can You Exercise Safely with Liver Cirrhosis appeared first on I Help C.

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In the span of about 5 minutes, my mind can move from doing a routine thing, like scratching my elbow, all the way to something totally ridiculous – say….. moving myself into a cardboard box underneath a bridge. I don’t even have to exert any effort. I can shift my mind from a “relaxed non thinking” state to a “weight of the world on my shoulders” state and within seconds. How is it that my thoughts go from peaceful floating, to a crash landing with cirrhosis?

Getting Yanked Around by Your Mind

In Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier, he refers to the nonstop conversation we have with ourselves as “getting yanked around by our mind”.

I get that. It’s so easy to get pushed around by our thoughts. The mind cuts out on us. Here’s an example: I’ll feel an itch on my skin. My fingernail automatically does it’s thing on my elbow.

Cut to remembering the time I had an allergic reaction to a Hepatitis C Treatment.

Cut to lying in St John’s Medical Center with a varices bleed.

Cut to worrying about my health or dying.

Cut to thinking about the future.

Crash landing with cirrhosis – soon I’m losing everything I own and living in a box.

I’ve never lived inside of anyone else’s mind, but I’m pretty sure you do a version of this too. We’re not alone in our mental skirmishes.

There are a lot of ways to respond to the “fast thinker” or “monkey mind” mode.

Just Do Something

Activity reigns supreme in my ideal world. I’ve never felt too cuddly with the notion that rest is best. Quite the opposite. I innately believe that if we’re busy, busy, constantly busy – something good is bound to happen. The problem with that is, sometimes you’re powerless, can’t do anything, and mentally crash anyway. You’re stuck with a mental mess similar to PTSD.

Dream a Little Dream

Woe is me if I linger on the crash ending with cirrhosis. I can stay “in my head” and let feelings of anger, panic, or sorrow wash over me for all the loss that I have, or could potentially face. From liver cancer, the hepatitis c virus, all the treatment side effects. The crazy thing is, most of the time, I haven’t even experienced the loss yet. But my brain doesn’t know that. The problem is that our body becomes accustomed to the chemical brain bath that floods our cells. It will actually scan our environment demanding more worry and anxiety to level out. You’re stuck with a mental mess.

Either of these can lead to negative feelings and behavior. If you always end up doing doing doing, whether at work or home, you may begin to feel used. So you day dream about running away because nobody appreciates all your sacrifices. Self pity could lead to passive aggressive thoughts and actions. That cycle sucks big time.

Instead of darting down to the mental crash landing, what if you had been spending time doing mental calisthenics for your brain?

Meditation is the equivalent of prefrontal cortex push up.

Each time you sit in silence, noticing your thoughts cutting here and there –  simply NOTICING them – you’re meditating.

You’re sitting with your thoughts and calling them out for being unruly. Yeah. That’s meditating. By practicing noticing your thoughts, you’ve begun a meditation practice. Now, that’s how to prioritize what your mind is doing.

A better use of a cardboard box

It simply makes sense to catch myself before I start lining that homeless shelter cardboard box with used newspapers. I can mindfully follow a line of thought that has me living the life of my dreams, living fully in the world I was created to live in, surrounded by the people and things that I love and cherish.

The post Crash Landing with Cirrhosis appeared first on I Help C.

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“Give me the whole truth” I told the doctor. After hearing that I wouldn’t make it to Christmas, I wanted details, kinda. You and I both know that we can’t take it all in at once. Part of you wants to know everything now. Another other part of you wants to bury your head in the sand. What if there were a way to have it somewhere in between? My health care wishes: Prognosis Declaration delivers. With that document, my health care wishes can be known by my doctor, and also my family and friends. It’s your body and mind, and everyone has a right to know exactly how you feel about your medical care.

It’s your body. Your life. For Real. Why is it important to have a Prognosis Declaration?

Prepared – When decisions need to be made, it’s best to know ahead of time how your health care will be managed. Then, YOU will be in control of how much information you want. Think about it as advanced directive for you peace of mind.

With the initial diagnosis of liver disease and decompensated illness, I started with option 1. because I wanted to know everything. Every med that went past my mouth required an explanation. Then, I had another emergency room run with multiple blood transfusions. After that, i just wanted peace. I told anyone listening that the worry was stressing me out, and I needed a break.

So, I went to option 2. I did what I was told without asking for details. It was a relief in many ways. My sister had permission to get all the information she wanted, and I told her to leave me out of it, until the cancer. This led to my advanced directive during transplant listing. 

Following, is the official Prognosis Declarations written by my friend, Steve Scheier. He wrote this after his wife died of liver cancer. It was their respectful way of communicating her wishes to her family and doctor.

Take it to your doctor’s office and ask them to talk to you, and put a copy in your file. Let everyone know how you feel about the important medical concerns in your life.

My Health Care Wishes: Prognosis Declaration

I wish to participate in my care, and to always operate from a position of “informed consent”. That being true, information on my prognosis can be difficult for health care practitioners to offer, and for patients to accept. In order to facilitate communication with my physician, I opt for one of the following options:

OPTION 1 Tell me everything about my likely prognosis, including the recommended course of treatment, my expected life expectancy, and the challenges inherent in the treatment option I decide to pursue. Be direct, but kind with me. Spare me no details. I want to know what is ahead of me.

OPTION 2 I’ve not yet decided what I want to know about my prognosis, but please feel free to ask me whether I want additional information over the course of my treatment.

OPTION 3 I want to participate in my treatment, but I DON’T want to receive any information on my prognosis.

OPTION 4 I don’t wish to know any information about my prognosis, but I authorize you to speak with _________________________________ about my case and for you to answer any questions that this person may have about my likely prognosis and treatment.

This is so helpful

Of course, you will have to have a conversation about HIPPA violations and laws, advanced care directives, and a host of other things if you are terminally or chronically ill. Don’t get all caught up in sadness about this. It CAN empower you to take charge of your health care. I’ve got a PDF here for you to print.

My Health Care Wishes- Prognosis Declaration-ilovepdf-karenhoyt ihelpc.com Steve sheirer 

Please share My health care wishes: Prognosis Declaration with your family and friends, and especially your medical provider. xoxo Karen

You’ll get over this hump. I’m right behind you baby. xo

This document was written, and generously shared with us by Steve Scheier. He wants everyone to be able to use this freely, so please print it and pass it on. You can also find a copy on his website at decsionclaritygroup.com. His email address is steve@decisionclaritygroup.com.

The post My Health Care Wishes: Prognosis Declaration appeared first on I Help C.

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I’m so convinced that meditation is a huge part of my health success, that I’m going all in to share it this year! For many, the word meditation has kind of a bad reputation. Maybe it was left over from the 60s scene. Some of you may imagine a spaced out person curled up like a pretzel on a cushion. (Cue incense, religious chanting, and oversized tunics.) While you can have all of those things if you want….. maybe you can begin to think of it in terms of being aware of your own mind. It could also be considered a spiritual discipline. It’s also good to think about mindful meditation and your health. I’m posting meditations for you to follow on my soundcloud for free right here. 

There is Love New evidence even points to health benefits

Body
When stressful events occur, our body takes a hit. The brain sends out chemicals in response to stressful or busy thoughts. Our blood pressure rises, and our heart rate gets faster as a result of the fight or flight syndrome. Over time, we get addicted to those chemicals and have ptsd. You may have been in situations where you need to calm down your mind, but your body is holding tension.  Relaxing isn’t always easy. Mindful meditation and your  health go hand in hand.

Mind
Mind chatter is always with us. Technology today has us thinking, checking, reading, and listening to something nonstop. Not only that, but our thoughts can go back into the past, and forward into the future. It can lead to worry and anxiety. If your brain is so busy that you’re having a hard time de-stressing, being mindful can be a cure. It brings you into your life right now with peace and serenity.

Spiritual
While it’s not quite synonymous with prayer, it’s a close cousin. Scriptures talk about meditation as a way of getting our mind untangled from the world. It also implies thinking and repeating a prayer or an attribute of The Universe, Creator, God, or Love. (Powerful, Loving, Protector) It could be that meditation is when you repeat a peaceful phrase or a reassuring word over and over in your mind. I tend to think of it like this: Prayer is when I talk to God and ask Him for something.Meditation is when I get still in silence and allow God to talk to me.

Meditation and Prayer In the Closet

I’ve been a closet meditator for years. In public circles I referred to it as my “quiet time” where getting alone with my Creator helped me find peace and wisdom to navigate the rocky waves of life.

I’m coming out. The newest research proves that spending a few mindful minutes a day, can increase the size and shape of your prefrontal cortex. If that’s too much information, think of it as mental push ups. You know, like exercise for the “thinker” that is running your life. (you)

The spiritual benefits are instant as you rest in the presence of freedom from fear. Your mind begins to form a new habit: that of slowing down thoughts. The bonus for your body is that it can feel the peace and relaxation. Life can be fun again. Follow me and let me know how it goes. This is working for me in more ways than I can tell you. xoxo Karen

Below is an audible listen to help you chill AND renew your mind for healing.

Check out my meditations on soundcloud here.  

The post Mindful Meditation and Your Health appeared first on I Help C.

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