To be diagnosed with cirrhosis is a truly awful experience. Many people who go through this have no idea what cirrhosis is, or maybe they’ve heard of it but are unsure what it actually means. Virtually no one is going to know what to expect, what the disease entails and what is going to happen to them.
Diagnosis day is certainly one of life’s “Oh Shit!” moments and certainly a day never to be forgotten.
It doesn’t matter really what brought you to this fateful day, there are many reasons for getting this disease but once you have it, cirrhosis is cirrhosis for all of us.
Likewise how we respond to the disease. No two people are the same and no two instances of cirrhosis are the same. The symptoms, the severity of the symptoms and the type and nature of the symptoms will be different for everyone.
Diagnosis of cirrhosis is not a simple task. There are many factors that need to be taken account of. Liver function(misnomer) tests will normally show elevated liver enzymes, blood tests may show abnormalities, jaundice may or may not be present and physical prodding and poking may discover an enlarged and possibly lumpy liver.
Other tests may follow. Ultrasound is common as are Cat-Scans. If the diagnosis is equivocal then a biopsy may be called for.
None of this makes the process any easier for the poor patient. Confusing medical terms and jargon spill for the mouths of those doctors we trust to treat us. In truth the diagnosis will leave us lost, confused, scared and almost punch-drunk.
For most of us we do not even know what all this means and what is to come of us.
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