So, the day came that I went to this infamous hepatologist, Dr. Galati. He is an Italian from New York and an avid photographer. He reminded me of the Raymond guy on "Everybody loves Raymond." Dr. Galati was very kind and knowledgeable. He gave me a little more hope and he started messing with my doses of steroids and Imuran to get my liver enzymes under control. I asked him about having kids and he said because I was in Stage 4 cirrhosis, it would be hard for me to get pregnant in the first place, pregnancy is hard on any person's body, and it would put a strain on my liver because of the added blood supply from the baby. However, what he said next really made me like him, he said, "if not having a baby will make you feel like your life is not worth living, then by all means, have a baby." I thought this was great advice, this way I didn't have to live with all the what-ifs.
So, before I had to start taking crazy amounts of steroids, I decided to bust my butt at the gym and with a much better diet. I ended up losing 35 pounds thanks to a bunch of hard work and a wonderful family I grew close to called The Druckers. The Drucker's, Judy and Phillip, were parents of one of the most amazing students I ever taught. I will never forget Blayne and his sweet disposition. On the first day of school, I had asked everyone to tell me about the best thing they had done that summer. Blayne stood up and proudly announced that he went to church camp, asked Jesus into his heart, and was later baptized. WHAT? This kid was so excited about Jesus and he didn't care what anyone else thought. I loved him instantly, but I had no idea how much he would teach me this first year teaching at DPJH. I watched Blayne and he had no use for people that were mean. He was never mean to anyone, but he literally did not care at all what these mean kids thought of him, he never changed who he was to gain acceptance. How could he be so strong at such a young age? How many times had I quietly gotten up from a conversation about abortion, Christianity, sexual immorality, the list goes on? I didn't want to offend anyone, but no one seemed to care if they were offending me or my beliefs. I decided to be more like Blayne and continue to be nice to people, but I wasn't going to apologize for my beliefs. Afterall, what is the use of having something you believe in, if you aren't willing to stand-up for it, even if you are standing all alone. Anyways, the Druckers had a small gym in Deer Park and I started working out there. Judy encouraged me so much, and she would reward me with some free tans because "tanned skinny looks better." I ended up working at the gym on the weekends for a second job. I also became part of the Drucker's family. I spent every major holiday with them and we went to so many events together. Judy even loaned me her road bike so I could ride in the MS 150, which was a humbling experience. After getting to know Judy and Phillip, I soon realized why Blayne was so wonderful, he had amazing parents. By the way, Blayne is an "only child," but you would never know it because he is so selfless.
So, something positive about having Autoimmune Hepatitis, it allowed me to grow close to this wonderful family because it forced me to work-out and get healthy.
I went off on a little tangent, but basically, I started doing labs every two weeks until we can get my enzymes in check and we would play with my doses of steroids until my liver settled down. Dr. Galati wanted to see me back in 6 months, which comforted me. I mean, if I was dying, he would want to see me more than twice a year right?