Wendy’s story: “I never ate fruit or vegetables”

Wendy was diagnosed with non-alcohol related fatty liver disease and cirrhosis in 2020. She's shared her story to help others avoid the condition. Thank you, Wendy.

I lived off microwave meals.

When I was younger I never ate fruit or vegetables except at Christmas. Before I retired I was always really busy at work or with hobbies so I lived off microwave meals. I didn’t drink much alcohol. I have always been overweight, but wasn't warned about liver disease.

When I was 68, at Christmas 2019 I had a routine checkup and my doctor told me I had a fatty liver. They didn’t give me any advice on diet and exercise and I felt generally well, so I carried on with life as usual.

A few months later I called my doctor to ask for some painkillers for another problem. The doctor said she couldn’t give them to me because I had fibrosis of the liver and it could be dangerous. This was the first time I’d heard about it! I asked another doctor for a second opinion. He told me that my liver was actually cirrhotic and had already gone past the fibrosis stage. I had no idea that this had happened as I never had any symptoms of liver disease.

"I've lost over three stone"

Doctors told me I probably had about 12 years left and that I needed to do what I could to lose weight and eat a healthy diet. So I completely changed my diet. I cut out chocolate, biscuits and sweets, cut down on red meat and salt. I eat a lot of fruit and veg, chicken and oily fish and drink coffee. By the time I had an appointment for a Fibroscan at the Freeman Hospital in April 2021 I’d lost over three stone and gone from a size 22 to a size 12. I’d never been a size 12 in my life!

Wendy before she changed her diet.

 

Wendy after she changed her diet.

Doctors now monitor my condition with blood tests – despite the cirrhosis the results are normal and my liver is still working. I have no ascites, varices, no bloating and no liver cancer. I’m hoping that this will continue for many years to come.

My advice to others is to eat your veg and keep off the fat, sugar and salt! Even tinned fruit and veg count towards your five a day. It could stop you from getting cirrhosis.

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