“My… liver? I ask in shock.
My doctor nods. “Yes. It’s not too bad right now. But don’t do anything that will increase your levels. No painkillers, no alcohol, no unhealthy foods”.
I close my eyes. Life can be unfair sometimes. Most of my graduate school friends are walking high in energy, ready to graduate. I am sluggish, my body hurts. Now I know why.
“Why is it that something new is wrong with me every time I come in here? First the vitamin deficiencies and now my liver?” I ask.
“That’s how most autoimmune disorders work Shaz, symptoms go and symptoms come” she says sympathetically. “But the good thing is, we can treat the symptoms. You had a vitamin B-12 and vitamin d deficiency, and we fixed both of those!”
“So remember. No alcohol, no painkillers, and implement a good diet! I need to see you back here in a month to re-check your levels” she says.
I go home and tell the news to my Mom and Dad. They don’t worry too much, which is comforting.
But when I leave the day before school ends, my dad pulls me in a hug. “Don’t worry about your liver. It will be all okay. If you need extra money to buy healthier foods, I’ll send you some. Come back soon so we can re-check the levels and see if you are healthy again”.
I go to school the next day. I see my friends. They talk about going out, I say I can come, but I can’t drink. I explain why.
“Wow what unfair bullshit. This girl is the one that has a drink once a season, and something’s wrong with her liver???” my very outspoken friend Linette says.
We all laugh.
My friend Susan gives me a ride home. She just lost someone and we were talking about it. When I leave I give her a hug and say “If you need anything, and I mean anything, I am here for you. I can bake cookies or bring you alcohol!” I say.
“Only if you can have some!” she says.
And it makes me laugh. Because. Here’s the thing. My friends are standing with me in solidarity.
Through the last semester of graduate school, through the period of writing our thesis, through this intense time of endless job applications and interviews- I’m not going through it alone. We all have our problems, and we help each other out. Not like where I went to college.
When one of my pediatrician friends Yassin asked me to dinner this week, I told him I couldn’t because I wasn’t feeling well. He asked me what was wrong. I told him the same old fatigue.
“I think you have Anemia!” Yassin says. “I’m convinced I have Celiac” I say.
“What did your doctor say?” he asks. “Pernicious anemia” I say rolling my eyes.
He laughs. “You need to trust us!”
“If I felt better I would!” I say laughing.
Welp. So that’s that. Another day in the life of Shaz. Along with this, school has really picked up. I am taking a few hard classes, working on my thesis, and applying for jobs. Regardless, I’m not afraid. I’ve come a long way. And there is no stopping now!