Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Livers and Mojos

It's just struck me, looking at that headline, that it sounds like the sort of healthy eating meal plan that Gwyneth Paltrow would post on Goop: Pan fried organic liver of guinea fowl with Peruvian mojo berries. But no. As you will be aware by now, I am no Gwynnie.

Talking of menus, this is a quick one as my mother - The Matriarch - known in the family as 'She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed' -  is coming for lunch, which I have to do without a couple of glasses of vino 'to take the edge off'. The edge will most definitely remain on.

So, livers. I thought that having totally ignored mine for decades, I should do a bit of research and get to know it a bit better. Here's the basic scoop: livers are big and important, and alcohol screws them up.

A bit more detail: The liver is the largest and most complex organ in the body. It does all sorts of really important stuff like fighting disease, aiding digestion, getting rid of toxins and regulating sugar and cholesterol. Drinking 'heavily' (over government guidelines) can lead to liver disease.

There are 3 stages of 'alcoholic' liver disease: (1) Alcoholic fatty liver disease, (2) alcoholic hepatitis and (3) alcoholic cirrhosis. The bad news is that it's estimated that over 90% of heavy drinkers will have fatty liver disease. This disease does what it says on the tin: your liver gets fatty (and yellow - yuk), which is not good. The good news is that it is totally reversible. It turns out that the liver is pretty damn efficient at healing itself, and within 2 weeks of not drinking any alcohol it can get totally back to normal. Woo hoo!

Now, stage 1 is virtually symptomless, so most people are not diagnosed with liver disease until they get to stages 2 and 3 which are much more dangerous and difficult to treat. Cirrhosis is irreversible, and 50% of people diagnosed with it die within 5 years (if they don't stop drinking). Also, bear in mind that women are far more prone to alcoholic liver disease than men, especially if they're overweight.

In case you're worried, the symptoms of stage 2 liver disease are: weight loss, feeling sick, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin/eyes and pain in the top right of your abdomen. Here's a link to the NHS website.

Given that I have none of the above symptoms, I'm hoping that I've dodged the bullet and only reached stage 1. This means that after 22 days of not drinking I - hopefully - have a gorgeous, pink, healthy liver. Yay!

I was thinking about this yesterday (I am SO fed up with not being able to think about anything other than not drinking. How long is it going to take my head to shut up about it???) as I walked to school to pick up #2.

A car drove past slowly with two cool looking black guys in the front. They were young (and by that I mean under 35), and one was hanging out of the passenger side window. He whistled. I looked round to spot the hot blonde following me (bear in mind that I have walked past building sites untroubled for at least a decade). No-one there. He whistled again. I'm presuming he's lost his dog, but no dog in sight.

Eventually it hits me. Sod the healthy liver! Mama has her mojo back! Oh yeah, baby.

6 comments:

  1. Every year I have to have full spectrum blood work done for my health insurance. I used to stop drinking a couple of weeks before and everything always came back completely normal (heart, liver, cholesterol etc.) I would then think I had carte blanche to over indulge for the next 12 months.

    Now I consider myself very lucky that I didn't do any lasting harm and am slightly embarrassed to have been so fool hardy. It is probably worthwhile getting yourself checked out if only for your own peace of mind.

    Sobering thoughts. Good for you getting your hot mama mojo back!

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    1. God idea Laura. I'm going to book in for an MOT! xx

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  2. Hot mama mojo rocks!
    I am getting a little too old for whistles, but I do get a few looks when I wear my yoga clothes! From guys not too old! Ha!
    I am so thankful I didn't mess up my liver too. I am so thankful I didn't mess up more, because I was on that path for sure!
    I still think about not drinking, but partly that is because I read and write a blog. I was just talking to my hubby about this.
    xo,
    Wendy

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    1. Hi wendy! what's your blog address? I'll look you up! SM

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  3. I love your blog today it really made me smile - pink liver and wolf whistles that should keep the wine witch at bay !! Talking of which I seem to think about drinking far more than I ever did when drinking when so you think the wine witch stops nagging ?

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    1. God knows, Kags - it's driving me crazy. I think I'm a little less obsessed than I was, but it improves so slowly that it's difficult to tell. I can't wait to go one whole day without thinking about drinking/not drinking!

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