I Feel Like a Hypochondriac
Last updated: March 2020
There's a long list of things that can go wrong when your liver is sick. Some of them are common, like fatigue. What about those other things? Sometimes, I feel like a hypochondriac with all my complaints. No matter how crazy your symptoms sound, please talk to your doctor about them. Of course, you can tell your family and friends, but speaking from my own experience, they may begin to doubt your sanity, like mine did.
One of my first symptoms was being able to “taste” candles and perfumes. Who’s heard of that? Eventually, I gave away all the bath and shower gels and lotions. I remember looking it up on the internet, wondering if smells can make your heart race? Later I learned that my liver was failing from hep C.
You’re really going to think I’m a hypochondriac after I explain how my ears started peeling. Little white crusty flakes built up all around, in and on my ear. It was more than dandruff, it was more like eczema. Putting oil or lotions on it made my hair greasy, so it was a catch 22. I learned to live with it because I didn’t know that I had hep C or liver cirrhosis.
Does everybody look before they flush? I remember my stool being different colors. Sometimes I was totally constipated. The next week, everything would go straight through me. After asking my doctor if I could have food allergies, he just looked at me. Yes, I was beginning to feel like a hypochondriac.
When my skin looked like a snake, it was creepy, or crepey if you know what I mean. Since scented lotion was a no-go, I began to use rich creams with no fragrance. Sometimes I woke up in the night and had scratched so hard that there was blood on the sheets.
Nothing added up
My feet started getting swollen on longer car drives. Not enough to worry about, but enough that I went up a shoe size. I kept telling my doctor that my feet were spreading. In the end, I had severe ascites that had to be drained.
All of this was worrying, but when my face began to turn red with rosacea, I dreaded getting ready for work. It took a lot of makeup to cover it, plus everything seemed to sting my face. Even gentle lotions and cleansers made it painful for me to wash my face at night.
Lying in bed every night, I would stare at the ceiling for hours. It was so depressing. Then when the alarm went off, guess who would sleep through it? Reverse sleep pattern sucks with hep C.
My hep C diagnosis
After being diagnosed with hepatitis C and cirrhosis, so much of this began to make sense. The easy bruising, the brain fog, and the symptoms above were all part of my story of liver disease. If you feel like a hypochondriac, welcome to the club. Some of these resolve quickly after treatment for Hepatitis C.