Does your liver quiver?

“We’ve got an appointment set up for you with a Gastroenterologist,” my Cardiologist told me. “It’s later today, and shouldn’t take long. They’re going to do an echo on your liver.”

My brow furrowed. “Liver? We got a problem, Doc?”

“Not at all,” I was reassured. “We normally send all of our transplant candidates to Gastro, but right now they’re in the middle of a research project. So they asked us to send as many adults with a heart defect as possible. It won’t cost you a thing, the grant funds are paying for it, and it will take half an hour.”

Ok, that was a reasonable explanation. So once I get through with my Cardiology appointment, I head to Gastro. It’s not far – I have mentioned before that four offices share the same waiting room at Emory, Gastro is just on the other side of the room.

I always worry about the Cardiology appointment. 99% of the time there is nothing to worry about, but you never know. Even a few weeks ago when the doctor looked over my hernia, I was worried that after some poking and prodding he would look at me and say “That ain’t no hernia, son.” But this thing with Gastro is going to be a walk in the park.

They called my name and I got the forms to fill out, and once they found out I was an Adult Congenital Cardiac patient, they gave me two additional forms.  Those were fiarly long but not difficult, and in a few minitues I was seeing the Gastroenterologist.

“We would like to do an MRI on your liver, as part of a study of liver problems that may occur with people with Congenital Heart Defects,” I was told. That was fine with me, but I have a pacemaker. No MRI’s. No problem, they did an Echogram, (Also called an Ultrasound) and it wasn’t long until I was back in the examining room.

The Gastroenterologist came in with the same look on her face that I occasionally see on my Cardiologist’s face. I do NOT like that look….

“Seems to be a problem,” she says. “You have a `spot’ on your liver.”

A spot? Well what we gonna do about it?!?!?

“I want you to come back in two weeks, and we’ll repeat the Echo, and see if it has changed. Then we’ll start thinking about what to do.”

Oh, boy. So I’m just supposed to wait, and let this thing have two weeks of free growing time? I don’t like this at all, because I don’t see this thing waiting for the rest of us. But that is the plan, and I try to be patient.That’s impossible. It’s also impossible not to worry.

Two weeks later I’m back, ready to get this thing examined. So they call me back – more forms – I get one of those open backed robes, and I get the Echo. Back to the examining room.

After what seems like a week the Doc comes in. “We’ve looked over your Echo – ”

That’s not reassuring. Calling in a specialist already?!?!

“… and it’s just a spot.”

“Huh?”

“Either you just have a fold there, or something like a birthmark on the inside of your body. It’s natural, it is the same size and shape as it was two weeks ago, and it is not growing. It’s just the way you are put together.”

Obviously I was relieved. In my mind, the CANCER light had been blinking for two weeks now, and I was glad to be able to shut it off. The doc said we’d do another scan in five years (just to check on it) and as soon as the appointment was over, I got out of town! I have this policy: When the doc says you can go, leave quickly and drive fast. Hopefully if they say “Hey, he left too soon!” the police won’t be able to find me!

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2 Responses to “Does your liver quiver?”

  1. Kelly Says:

    So glad a spot is just a spot Steve! Scary when you start scanning organs that aren’t begging for a scan. JBR is out of the hospital, thanks for the good thoughts. Two hospitals, one ambulance and 4 days later…we are grateful. We are off to Miami for more sedated scans next week…we are looking for coronary artery origins. They must begin somewhere because he’s alive! Guess they’re hard to see. I’ll be praying for your liver, hernia and bloodwork.

  2. Kim Says:

    Glad you’re ok! Just what you needed… another thing to worry about. I’m glad this one was a benign worry!!

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