I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of liver. Maybe it goes back to having to eat it as a child, once even cleverly disguised as country fried steak (no amount of breading and gravy can hide that distinctive taste). The only way I can stomach it is all jazzed up as pate.
While I may never love liver, I am learning to love my own liver. I never gave it much thought until I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Then I began to understand just how important this strange looking organ is as I watched various numbers on my lab reports start to go haywire this past summer, things on my comprehensive metabolic panel like alkaline phosphatase, ALT, and AST. What followed was a series of tests to try to figure out what was going on: a liver biopsy, an MRI, a PET/CT, and a triphasic CT. The PET/CT and triphasic CT finally revealed the presence of metastatic liver lesions.
This would explain the sudden weight loss, the inability to digest my food fully, the presence of repeated plural effusions and ascites. Within a span of days I went from walking four or five miles a day to barely being able to walk up the stairs. It was scary stuff. Add to the physical issues the fact that we were also moving to a new state and had to get a house on the market and packed up. Yikes!
Fortunately my new oncologist wasn’t overly worried and felt that the chemo we already had planned to address the rising cancer markers would also address the liver mets. And if it doesn’t, he told me, there are other ways to address them. So while what was a minor bump in the road turned into a pothole of sizable proportions, it is nowhere near the end of the road. My markers have come down significantly after only one cycle of Abraxane, and my liver numbers are stable or dropping. Whew! Come on little yew tree with your bound protein molecule, do your thing to bring this body back into balance.
What’s the point of this post? Learn to love your liver now–before you are diagnosed with liver mets and/or stage four cancer. Begin an anti-cancer lifestyle now and take care to the best of your ability of your body for you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Whether you love liver and onions or despise the stuff, well, that’s your call.
Check out these facts about your liver and read more about this fascinating organ here:
- Largest glandular organ – Our liver is the largest glandular organ of the human body and the second largest organ besides our skin.
- Multifunctional – Our liver simultaneously performs over 200 important functions for the body. Some of these important functions include supplying glucose to the brain, combating infections, and storing nutrients.
- It contains fat – 10% of our liver is made up of fat. If the fat content in the liver goes above 10% it is considered a “fatty liver” and makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- It stocks iron – Our liver stores important vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat and stocks them up for when we need them later.
- Detoxifier – Our liver detoxifies the harmful things we take in like alcohol and drugs. Without the liver the body cannot process these items.
- Creator of blood – The liver creates the blood that circulates in our bodies. In fact, the liver starts producing blood before we are born. Without the liver there would be no blood and no life.
- It regenerates – Our liver has the amazing ability to regenerate itself, making liver transplant possible. When people donate half their liver, the remaining part of the liver regenerates the section that was removed.