A couple of months ago, I developed an angioma on the left side of my body. I developed one in that same location a couple of years ago as well, but I just picked at it until it went away. Feeling more responsible this time around, I decided to go to the doctor and get it checked. They didn’t say much besides telling me to go to a dermatologist, but I decided to go ahead and get blood tests done while I was there, just for the hell of it. Lo and behold, my liver enzyme count is high and I need to go in for a second test. The results of the second test: autoimmune hepatitis! Fast forward to yesterday, after more blood tests and an abdominal ultrasound, when I took my first dose of Prednisone and Azathioprine.
There were many months in between my initial diagnosis and the start of my treatment, so I’ve had a buffer period where I know I may have this disease, but I don’t have to give it much thought. Now, however, I’m faced with the reality that my liver is in danger from none other than myself. I swear, at times I wonder if this is a manifestation of the self-loathing I’ve always felt toward myself, but I know that that’s not necessarily a scientific answer, and it’s just me being moody. Speaking of moody, some of the symptoms of Prednisone include mood swings, irritability, and aggression. I’ve taken it once, so obviously I haven’t noticed any of these pop up, but I’m going to keep an eye out and monitor my emotions. I’m a very non-confrontational, non-aggressive person, so I’d like to think that I’ll be able to control my emotions even while on the medication and completely avoid aggressive behavior, but I understand that I can’t will that into existence. My body will undergo chemical changes, and no amount of thoughts will change that. Regardless, I will keep an eye out for any aggressive behavior.
Prednisone can also cause weight gain and an enlarging of the cheeks. I am not overweight, but I used to be six or so years ago, so I’m self-conscious about weight gain and am scared of it. If I do gain weight, then so be it. A small price to pay for being alive. Anyways, going to the gym is always an option, so I shouldn’t resign myself to the possibility of losing any weight I gain.
Drinking alcohol is also off the table now, which isn’t really a loss. I hate alcohol, sometimes a bit excessively. The taste of it, the effects it has on your body, and the effects it has on others just make me wonder why anyone in the world willingly drinks. I just don’t have a good history with drunk people, and I’m not fond of losing control of my body. If anything, this disease has given me a legitimate reason to turn down drinks, so that’s a plus, I guess.
I’m confident that this disease won’t kill me, at least any time soon, but it has still made me reflect on my mortality. The body, and the human behind that body, are fallible. They change, sometimes in contradictory ways, like in the case of autoimmune disorders. I’ll have to contend with this contradictory process my body is going through and see what road it takes me as I continue my journey. Next stop, liver biopsy!