Cirrhosis is Not The End

Cirrhosis is Not The End  – 

End stage cirrhosis
Cinderella Cirrhosis? Where’s that fairy godmother?

When I first got diagnosed with liver disease, it seemed like The End was scrolling across the last page of my life. Not a happy beginning, but it’s my story. Maybe it’s yours too. I like happily ever afters. I believe in pixie dust, and magic wands. I really am a day dreamer.Cirrhosis is not the end.

 

I have been teaching a unit recently that grabs my heart and I wanted to share it with you, dear Best Friend. Have you ever noticed that most fairy tales have a similar plotline? It’s one of the things we look at in language arts. I can always count on my student’s excitement. The main reason they love this lesson plan is because it gives them a chance to watch a movie if they pass the test. One of their assignments is to analyze the familiar character traits in heroes, damsels in distress, trolls, and princes.  A bit of magic is always thrown in and gives them an opportunity to look at how the use of spells and potions are metaphors for powerful tools we use every day.

 

Throw in some history and background of the Grimm brothers or Hans Christian Anderson and we can quickly make the leap to how each of our lives is filled with elements of a fairy tale. That is one of the things that make them so endearing to us. Sure, they were written to teach moral lessons, pointing out right and wrong behavior. They were a warning about safety and about consequences. But they also give a glimpse into our real lives. You cannot help but see the similarities in fairy tales and life with cirrhosis or Hepatitis C.

 

Once upon a time – Just hearing those words gives us the feeling that we can settle in for a good story. The plotline in fairy tales is quite predictable. There is the setting, which tell where it takes place and who the characters are. Then the rising action builds tension and finally leads to the climax of the story. From there, the falling action resolves the conflict and ends with another comforting line – And they all lived happily ever after.

 

What the heck happened to Happily Ever After? Can the dreams that we wish still come true? Many of us who have Cirrhosis, Hepatitis C or any other related illness can certainly relate to the Once Upon a Time. We start off with childhood hopes and dreams of a happy life surrounded by those we love as we fulfill our destiny. We are the main characters. Perhaps you are a damsel in distress, or a boy who has been tricked by an evil force. Both of those hold some truth while living with Hepatitis C, Cirrhosis, or just life in general.

 

We watched Shreck this week and it was hilarious how they introduced Cinderella as a verbally abused girl who is shut off from society. Snow White was a homeless woman who moved in with seven men. It’s clear that Jakob and Wilheim Grimm understood how life is less than pretty for everyone. Disney has definitely taken a lighter hearted approach to fairy tales, but even the movies leave us covering our eyes during the scary parts. But those movies also have some well placed songs and jokes to keep us engaged.

 

Cue in “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” or “ Second Star to the Right” –

We all start off singing a tune that is full of innocence and joy. We look fresh, happy, and gay. As we embark on our journey, our hearts are brave and our vision is clear. Life is not always pretty, or safe. Dangers are lurking in the form of big bad wolves, trolls, witches, jealous queens, and fire breathing dragons. Don’t forget the giants. The action in our lives can rise rapidly as we realize our future is in jeopardy. Relationships can be disappointing. Unfortunately, failing health contributes to the stress in our families. Financial difficulties can really cast a spell that seems to hover over everything, blocking out the sunshine and song.

 

This is when we need a hero. Into our lives, at our darkest hour, a hero or heroine always shows up. They may come in the form of a family member, friend, or spouse. They may have a title such as M.D. or R.N. A social worker, pastor, or psychologist may be the one who helps your triumph in your darkest hour. The suspense builds as we wait for our hero. We feel betrayed or abandoned. Not only are there outside forces working against you, internal conflict is tearing you apart mentally. The plot line is true to its’ course. Even as we fight our outside circumstances, a battle is also raging within us.

 

Cue in “Reflection” by Mulan or “Baby Mine” from Dumbo

Now it is time for you to stop and softly sing a sad song with birds or flowers, This is usually done alone in the forest or a dark room. Lots of wind blowing and terrifying shadows. Self pity abounds, but hang tight. A hero is getting ready to come in.

 

As your story reaches its’ climax, you are diagnosed. Your health has deteriorated. You are so very tired of fighting symptoms. You just want to crawl into bed with a sleeping potion. But do not give up yet. Just when the sleeping dragon is breathing fire into every corner of your life, an antidote arrives. Your hero and their side kick offer you treatment in the form of Hepatitis C treatment, medications such as Nadolol, Lactulose, Ribavrin, Sobusprevir, Interferon, or Sovaldi. Like a good hero or heroine, you know it is a risk you must take.

 

 

Hepatitis C Dragon cirrhosis
Aw. Quit your fire spitting. You lose in the end.

Cue in Circle of Life” from the Lion King. Climax – is the turning point in every struggle. This is where those 2 opposing forces collide. Both internal conflict with yourself and external conflict against your arch enemies are rising to a fever pitch. Now your song is one of anguish and joy combined. You know who your enemy is and with the help of your heroes, you are ready to slay the dragon. Standing on the tower of despair, facing down your fears, the flames are blazing toward you. Just in time, you are handed the potion. Your friends and support groups see you from afar. They are cheering and joining in their own song of triumph which reaches a crescendo that can be heard far and wide.

 

Cue in “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and grab your magic carpet. Hepatitis C has often been referred to as a sleeping dragon. Once it is awakened, many times the damage to your liver has been done. But with hope on the horizon, it can be slain.

 

After such a huge climax with diagnosis, treatment options, tests, and medications, the falling action takes on a peaceful lull. This is the section where the plot begins to fall into place. The conflict is out in the open. Man vs himself, man vs nature, man vs society. The enemy is exposed and dealt with. It is time to put together all of the pieces.

 

Cue “Go the Distance” from Hercules – The falling action in the plotline sometimes reveals that all is in order. The characters all find resolution in a peaceful manner. But occasionally this part of the story may deliver more bad news. The saga will continue. The dragon is not dead, but still sleeping. This is also when you find out who the real hero is.

 

You are the hero or heroine of your story. You are still writing the conclusion. I don’t know what my future holds. My doctor assures me that a transplant is possible if or when it is needed. I have liver loving foods yet to discover, races to run, grandchildren to hold, a daughter to love, and a husband who is a prince of a fellow. Yes, I still believe in Happily Ever After. As for the dungeons and demons in my future? My sword is still sharp.

hepatitis cirrhosis disney
I rubbed a hole in that lamp. Watch out!

 

 

Cue “Zippity Doo Dah” from Song of the South.

There is still plenty of sunshine heading our way Best Friends. You and me and the bluebirds on our shoulder. We can face anything together. Cirrhosis is Not The End. All it takes is faith and trust. And some pixie dust. Happily Ever After, Karen:) xoxo

Check out my youtube channel for all the songs. Hit playlists and liked videos from the drop down. 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpzq-szy-V0-90WZ7X-lxAA

About Karen Hoyt

Karen Hoyt offers a no nonsense approach to living with Cirrhosis. A Hepatitis C treatment survivor, she created a liver loving diet and lifestyle that allows her to create awareness and advocate for her Best Friends at http://www.ihelpc.com

8 thoughts on “Cirrhosis is Not The End

  1. A work of literary art dear Karen.

    Such hope comes from the fairy tales we read as a child. Then pass along to our children.

    I choose to live my life in faith and with hope that I will realize that happy ending to this tale I call Cirrhosis or HCV or HE. The last chapter hasn’t been written yet.

    Maybe timing is everything. I just got home from being out with my family this evening for my birthday. Then I get home and see this new blog post. I read it like a fairytale and every word captured my attention. What a great way to end a great day. Thank you my friend!

    1. Joe,
      I know your birthday was awesome with your family. Let me tell you again – Happy Birthday! I’m so glad this was the icing on your birthday cake. You have been a brave warrior my friend. And you continue to run about helping others slay their dragons with every ounce of strength. A true hero you are.

      Yes, we never ever ever give up hope. Our faith is what makes us strong and we WILL have a happy ending. Thank you for all the inspiration Joe.

      Love,
      xoxo Karen:)

  2. Hey Karen,

    What a great storyteller you are, I loved this comparison and boy how true this really is isn’t it!

    I wish everyone lived forever, I wish no one ever got sick, I wish no one had to die before their time, I wish!!! I don’t know why some things happen to certain people. Maybe it’s because they can teach us how to be stronger or maybe it’s so that more awareness can be presented. Maybe it’s because they needed to give hope to someone who was meant to do great things in this world or to inspire a doctor to investigate new avenues.

    I’ve lost so many people in my life way before their time and I’ve lost them I guess when it was their time. I hate that this has happened to you but I know through your blog you’re helping others. I know that you will get your fair tale ending because I believe in them 100%. I believe if you keep the faith and never waver your time will come.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Karen and you just have a wonderful holiday with your family okay because you’ll get your happily ever after! 😉

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted…How To Write Content Your Readers CraveMy Profile

    1. Adrienne,

      Thank you my friend. I love fairly tales and like you am ever hopeful for a magic ending.

      You make a good point. They teach us to be strong and give us hope. That is one of the reasons that I love to watch the movies. Our minds open up to the endless possibilities. Our happily ever after may not be what we thought it would. Even with a twist at the end, we can all do our best to win whatever battle we face.

      Gosh, I’m all full of deep thoughts today. I hope your holiday at your brothers is full of fun!

      Thankful for you,
      Karen:)

  3. Hey Karen,

    Great analogy of using fairy tales for this post. I use to love them as a kid, but I guess we all do.

    I know it may be hard having this sickness, but definitely there’s always hope, and this is a sickness that will definitely make you strong. It’s like going to the gym. If you want to get into shape and build muscle, there’s got to be some resistance to do so. Maybe this sickness is a way for you to become more spiritually stronger as well as being a great example to others.

    I can tell by the strength you have from the fair tales you use to relate to! Some people let the sickness beat them, while you see it as a lesson for yourself and for others. It takes a lot of courage to share this, and I definitely commend you from doing so!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…It’s Not About The Blueprint. It’s About The Person!My Profile

    1. Sherman,

      I am happy that you came by. I draw a lot of inspiration from you and am glad you enjoyed this blog. I never dreamed of being this ill, or of starting a website. It has definitely helped me to be surrounded by and reach out to those who deal with unexpected liver disease.

      As you can tell, this illness may put me down, but I am never out. Your exercise analogy is a good one for me since I have always worked out. It is a big part of staying alive, and yes my mind does resist it some days.

      All of us living with liver disease have learned to push through the pain. Spirit, mind, and body all become stronger with adversity. It’s a crazy lesson that life teaches us, but it always works. I hope your week is awesome!
      Karen

  4. Hi Karen,

    Wonderful! 🙂 Loved how you brought in similarities between fairy tales and real life.

    Isn’t it about how we look at things in our lives? 🙂

    People who got everything and nothing to worry about their mental or physical or whatever state, still worries about something over too much. Yet, there are other people who have nothing or lost something, and still they lives with hope and get most out of the day knowing that time won’t ever come back again.

    Especially, I’ve some stories about people who had cancer and some even mentioned, their last months / days are the best days of their lives 🙂 I think they are kinda lucky ’cause they knew their time was limited and made the best moments. Yet many of us don’t know what future holds and in case some of us have to go suddenly, might regret about what could have done with the life.

    I feel like most people (including me) are wasting all of their time wanting to be rich and famous or something that will never last longer, Karen. Don’t you think that just a bit of change to the perception can do a whole new level of transition? 🙂 With that thought in mind, I feel more relaxed and happy even before.

    I can assure you are one of the happiest person I got to know, Karen 🙂 I wonder why people can’t relive in their fairy tales and brave enough to be happy in each moment, spreading the happiness into other lives. Yeah, you do in numerous ways including this blog.

    BTW, this post convinced me enough that your grandchildren love to hear you all day along 😉

    Of course! There is still plenty of sunshine heading our way 😉

    You have a lovely weekend there dear!

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted…How to Set Up Trusted Contacts to Recover Your Facebook AccountMy Profile

    1. Mayura –

      Your comments always leave me feeling better about everything dear friend. Yes, it is always a matter of perception. While I do not enjoy the hardships so much, the lesson of living each moment with joy and bravery is a gift from the battles I face.

      Your friends who have faced cancer learned the best thing. Many who have this illness of liver disease, cirrhosis, or Hepatitis C also get cancer. The doctor checks every six months for tumors and we have to face this. Indeed, most of the best friends who visit my blog have also learned to let go of regret and appreciate each moment.

      You are so sweet. Yes, the sun indeed shines every day, even if the cloud block it for a moment. And yes, those grandchildren and I take great delight in each other.
      I hope your day is filled with as much love and sunshine as you spread to me!
      xo Karen:)

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