Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Thing #31: Liver Dye

This isn't so much an active New Thing, but I'm counting it because it's definitely something new, and getting there was not without some mild distress, in the form of a dungload of tests and doctor's visits (gee, thanks routine physical tests that came back weird!). I was diagnosed with a liver condition called Gilbert's Syndrome. Wow, that sounded really dramatic! It sounds more dramatic when you say it out loud, because it's not pronounced like annoying comic Godfrey (though that is how I remembered it), it's pronounced the French way, and with a soft J. And it's 100% not dramatic. It's a completely benign inherited condition where the liver overproduces an enzyme called bilirubin. The print-out the doctor gave me said that most people who have this find out about it during routine tests, when their kidney and liver tests come back weird. The worst thing it causes is a jaundice appearance in 40% of patients when they have a cold. Well, I just had a cold, and I never appeared jaundice, so I guess I'm a slightly above-average Gil Syn patient. Also, having this condition actually protects you against developing certain kinds of cancer, so you could say it's a beneficial disease (and not even a disease, my wry and completely likeable nephrologist said). I was relieved to hear all of this, because Googling 'bilirubin' led my overactive and slightly paranoid little mind to draw all sorts of disastrous conclusions. "Benign, symptomless condition that doctors don't even bother to treat" wasn't one of them, but I'm glad it ended up being the right one.

Likeable Nephrologist gives out cool bags.

This is the refrigerator at work.
It's totally still in there. My boss helped me arrange it for maximum readability. Hee.


Kathleen said...

Aww, yes I heard your liver was producing too much Billy Gilman or something like that. Is that why you felt compelled to become a boy soprano? =-P Hee hee. I also heard that it's not really bad... still, I wouldn't want my liver producing anything named Billy.

Kathleen said...

Whoa, I bet no one will steal YOUR drink from the work fridge!

Brian said...

Guess what? I, too, recently found out I had Gilbert's... about 5 weeks before they told me I had scabies.

Best part about the Gilbert's diagnosis: When I told my mom she said, "Yeah. We've known that since you were little." But she never told me!

Amanda said...

Caton's father is named Gilbert. He seems nice enough...I'm going to call him and ask him why on earth he thought it was okay to give you a disease!