Because of my addiction to substances—amongst other things—my liver has never really been too great until recent years. I’ve gone through talks with doctors who’ve mentioned things like liver transplants, and put myself at risk for hepatitis C and AIDS by sharing needles. My liver has been inflamed and I’ve never drank enough water, at the right foods, or took care of myself until I found recovery. It was always booze, needles, and fast food joints on top of smoking and garbage into my system… But what struck me the hardest, and most painful, was blood clots going through the vein into my liver and the vein out of it, too.
Doctors couldn’t find a reason for the blood clots as I’d been clean for a couple of years now. But something they could conclude was that I wasn’t taking care of myself, I was just staying sober, cutting out needles and booze, and replacing it with things like anorexia, dehydration, and a stagnant life. We wanted to ride it off to a genetic disorder, but I knew that wasn’t the cause. And being “sober and stagnant” wasn’t working for me, anorexia and mental health wasn’t helping my early recovery either. But the blood clots were a true wakeup call; not to mention the auto-immune disorder caused from my anorexia, too (Guillan-Barre Syndrome).
The blood clots in my liver felt like someone was drilling a hole in my gut at all times. It was relentless and tearing apart my sleep and psyche. At first doctors wrote it off to acid reflux because I was non-stop throwing up bile. I think I’d visited 11 emergency rooms in 3 weeks, all of which just wanted to give me dilauded, morphine, or muscle relaxers on top of anti-nausea medication. Being a person in long term recovery this wasn’t anywhere near a solution, except seeing the systematic failure that set me up for heroin use years ago.
On my last doctor visit I finally caved in and went to the most expensive, but credible doctor that I could. “Why does this have to be a last option?” I asked myself, and all that I knew that this was my last chance because all of my other resources were dry. This was where I received an ultra sound of my stomach, kind of like pregnant mother’s, although a different type of answer was brewing in my gut! And what they found were a portal and superior vein thrombosis, which breaks down to a blood clot going into your big vein in the liver and the vein going out of the liver! Luckily or unfortunately, I was immediately hospitalized and started on IV blood thinners, blood thinning shots, and oral pill blood thinners. I was hospitalized for two full weeks and upon release given the paperwork for options on liver transplants and staying on blood thinners the rest of my life. But if recovery had any plan, it was that when I started to work on myself the rest started to get better too.
Today I’ve defied odds being cleared with a clean bill of health for not just my liver but no more anorexia, a powerful strength lifter, my mental health is great, and I’ve now got over 6 years in recovery, clean and sober. But this didn’t come easy. I followed a strict regimen of blood thinners for a few years and got myself to the gym, follow a good diet plan and made sure that I drank enough water. And to work on my mental health I joined recovery communities and started one of my own! I learned how to get up and pace myself while remembering to not stay too stagnant anymore! And by the grace of God, today marks my first day off of blood thinners with a switch to low dose baby aspirin (which is usually recommended for men over 30 anyways!).
I feel truly blessed to have “defied the odds.” But, I didn’t do it without the help of a recovery family and those who loved me through the process of finding a good balance that keeps me healthy! I will not need a liver transplant or blood thinners anymore! I work out regularly and have bulked up to a solid powerlifter weight! I eat well, with no problems to my anorexia! And water never tasted so great! So remember that if someone slaps a label on you that it’s not a death sentence, it’s a notice to change for the better… just like I did dozens of times and will continue to do so as recovery moves forward with every step I take! God bless and remember that we do recover!