WHY AM I BLOGGING?
I want to thank my two girls for encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone. For the last two years, I have been blogging in Spanish only, sharing my cooking recipes, and the process of change we have been facing at home with our diet while going through one of the hardest times of my life. I am blessed for having my daughters loving and supporting me, and at the same time finding in them that “little push” to go for new challenges and ideas. So here we go, making the content from my Spanish blog available for English speakers.
How unexpectedly life can change…..
In the spring of 2015, my husband’s health deteriorated really bad. He was showing signs of internal bleeding and struggling with symptoms of severe anemia. The initial diagnosis was that he had esophageal varicose veins (level 3 & 4) generated from a liver condition. For the first time ever we heard that someone could get cirrhosis of the liver, without having a problem with the alcohol.
After a long process looking for the real cause of the cirrhosis, the hepatologist conclusion was that my husband had the fatty-liver disease for many years (without knowing) and, due to a congenital condition, his liver turned cirrhotic. On September 2015, the MELD Score obtained (a numerical scale used for adult liver transplant candidates ) from the laboratory tests was “9” ( on a scale from 6 -40). The doctor explained to us that this indicates a mild level of cirrhosis. The only treatment he prescribed at that moment, was losing weight (20 pounds) and a change in his diet (cutting off 70% of the food he was regularly eating!). We were then on a path, that was not a 100 meters race, but a marathon of 35 km. 🙂
During the next months, the varicose veins in the esophagus had to be treated to reduce the probability of presenting new episodes of internal bleeding. My husband got into the OR for seven times (every six-eight weeks approx.) to have a procedure that it is called “banding”, where they placed rubber bands around the varices during an endoscopy. By then, there were no signs of a light at the end of the tunnel. The gastroenterologist opinion was: “While his body keeps creating varices, I will keep performing the banding on him.”
When the storms of life are raging……
In the middle of these circumstances, I started to do some research trying to understand why he should avoid the list of food that was given to us by the hepatologist. It is true, I am not a nutritionist to give any kind of advice on this area, nevertheless, I have decided to give others the opportunity to learn, to grow and to understand their options from our experience and testimony. We have it clear now: What we have gone through it is NOT about keeping up with a DIET, but about a permanent transition to a healthy lifestyle, and this is the process I am posting on this blog.
Six months past and my husband had to go back to be tested again. In March 2016, the results indicated that the enzymes of the liver were working almost at the normal levels, the response of his body to the change in his diet had the hepatologist amazed to the point of telling us for the first time, that the cirrhosis of his liver could be called now a “reversible condition”.
It is known that the challenge has never been “getting there”, but to be able to “STAY there”. This new step was giving us the opportunity to prove that the impossible could be possible if we were determined enough, stubborn enough and strong enough to keep up with the little changes here and there in our diet.
The rainbow after the rain…..
In May 2017, we got very good news. The varicose veins on the esophagus stopped growing and there was no need to do more banding on them. The CT scan showed that there were no signs of any kind of tumors or cancer, and the MELD score of the liver went down from “9” to “8”. Even an ulcer that he had on the intestine months ago, couldn’t be found during the endoscopy/colonoscopy. My family & I are so thankful and excited for what we know God has been doing with us on every step of this adventure.
During 2018, my husband has been feeling great. He keeps attending to his regular check-ups every six months. The hepatologist allowed him for the first time in three years, to wait twelve months before having his next endoscopy. The results of the abdominal ultrasound and blood work stay on the accepted margin levels, even the scaring tissue on the liver still shows on the imaging. We stay on track with a healthy diet and looking forward to the best for the next months.
I will be posting the chapters that are yet to come for us on this blog, so I invite you to keep visiting my website. I find so much comfort in knowing that, everything that has come to knock us down, will only be used to make us stronger and for the good of others, who are looking for answers in the midst of a disease.
Thanks for visiting our space, 🙂
– Jose & Magnolia Beristain
VISIT OUR BLOG IN SPANISH:
BUY US A COFFE HERE 🙂