Before I go into what will most likely be rather shocking for most of you, I wanted to take a moment and remember my beloved father, Ted Ervin Suter, today, on his most favorite of holidays, Halloween. I remember mom and I having to buy candy for the pumpkin twice, sometimes more than twice, because he would eat it all. He had such a candy addiction and a Doberman nose for finding it!!
He passed away 2 years ago today. He is always with me, this I know all too much and I am thankful for his gift of his loving life. I will always and forever love daddy.
And now on to what most of you have been wondering…
2 years ago today, a new journey for me began. It wasn’t in the slightest, a positive journey. Many mistakes were made by me, to me. I made many, so very many, excuses for my choices. Most of which were blaming myself for my father’s death and/or blaming my dad for “effin’ dying on me”… As if he had a choice.
I used that excuse to delve deeper and deeper into my alcoholism. I didn’t drink more than most of you prior to my father falling ill of Leukemia back in 2009, but it progressed quickly and swiftly upon his extremely untimely death 2 years ago today. On Halloween.
After my father died, I was alone. Literally. I’m used to being alone on the ranch that he built, because my mother and father were living in the city during and after my father’s chemo treatments as well as the following year’s Stem Cell Treatment. Thank God I had my son (my dog Blue) then, he kept me loved!
I was all alone. I just woke up that morning after he passed away and realized that I just couldn’t figure out how to live in a world my father isn’t in. Alone. Me and the horses and dogs and dad’s cats!
Needless to say, I was bored. Bored to practical death.
I then decided to pick up a bottle of tequila, Sauza to be exact, with limes and salt (I love salt!).
In tandem with my beloved boxed Franzia, I thought it would behoove me to erase everything in my life because my life was over as “daddy died on me”. Frankly, I thought I didn’t have much of a life because I had changed my life to care for him and this ranch since his early morning diagnosis on April 15, 2009.
I had no clue as to what to do now that he was gone. I had no life. My friendships and career had taken a huge backseat to “all that was Daddy”.
I had no life all the way to March 13th of this year when after gaining a ton of “weight” (that will become important later) and it becoming so difficult to breathe that I sat in my recliner, barely breathing, and “sought God”.
Two days later, God came.
On the morning of March 15th, about 11am, my mother found me unresponsive on the floor of my living room.
On the floor! To her, I was either dead or almost there.
She called my cousin, Mitch who called 911. After a flurry of EMT’s, firefighters, all trying to get me to stop fighting and start breathing, (I was unaware of all this and frankly have zero recollection of anything past that night of the 13th).
They called life flight who landed here in the pasture and whisked me away to Sharp Grossmont Hospital where for hours they worked on me (I was in a coma at this point) and drained me (yes drained me, aka “Paracentesis”) of over 12 liters of abdominal fluid.
This is why I thought I was fat. I had massive Acites and I was in Liver Failure. Actually, I was diagnosed with Alcoholic Cirrhosis and End-Stage Liver Failure. Oh, and I needed a liver transplant.
I was in a coma for 3 days in Critical Intensive Care Unit at Grossmont. Yes, I know. Most of you did not know. It was a very, very small circle of trust to keep my situation from going public.
I am so incredibly sorry to anyone who feels slighted by me throughout these last 8 months and even prior.
These last 8 months have been very secretive. Endless procedures and paracentesis’ at UCSD Thornton Hospital in La Jolla (yes, this has been the reason I am always there). Alot of you have asked if I was ok. I’m sorry I deceived you. I needed to keep this quiet until I knew what was going to be an outcome of all of this. And no, I am not ok.
I have the greatest team of specialists, from reception, nurses, fellows, doctors, surgeons, and now my new Transplant Team I am going to meet on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. I have been going through a battery of tests to prepare me for transplant. Whenever it will happen. I’m going to be getting on the that UNOS list. When I do, I will post it here.
My MELD score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) is currently 13. I was above 22 on March 15. I was given a hard wake up call from one Dr. Pokala at Grossmont and also with my Hepatology specialist Dr. Michel Mendler at UCSD Hillcrest. Don’t drink (only have to tell me once – 8 months sober here!!). Don’t take aspirin, Ibuprofen or medicines of that nature. Take your vitamins prescribed as well as diuretics and Lactulose (that’s a whole post all in of itself there!). Eat right. Change the bad in who you are (yeah, that one was one I chose for myself).
I am living with Cirrhosis. I am at End-Stage Liver Failure. I am living. I will get through this a much better and kinder person (although “Evil Amy” has retired but will ALWAYS be in my back pocket!).
There are many things my dedicated Mother and Godmother and I have put in our heads as to what else contributed to such a terrible outcome other than just alcoholism and grief. I know I will investigate some of these later when I have a better gauge on my future. However, I remember when I was going to have my gastric bypass back in 2001. They told me not to drink alcohol. I wasn’t a drinker then but because my mindset wasn’t where it is now, I ignored that comment. They only told it to me one time. Hence it going in one ear and out the other. I do know that having weight loss surgery changed all the inner workings of how things are digested.
Of course, this is not an excuse for me picking up that box, err… glass. I have no one to blame but myself for this shit storm I have created for myself. It has not been a painless easy road for me these last 8 months. But I did this to myself. And I will pick myself up and make the best of it. I am a walking example of what not to do with your life. Make better choices, don’t over indulge and please, don’t do drugs. (I never have and never will but thought I’d add that here). I will continue going to my AA meetings (best friends I will ever have).
So, Monday is my transplant education class. Tuesday is the big day where all will be revealed. I have no idea what their plans are for me there at the Transplant Center, but I will keep you all abreast of it.
I am creating a blog (http://AmysLiver.wordpress.com) so those who want to read more can do so. This is my one and more than likely, going forward, diatribe on this subject here in Facebook. I am humbled that you read this.
Again, my most deepest apologies for being deceitful now and in the past. Trust me, my transgressions are well aware with me. I love you all and wish you all the best this holiday season.
With love and sobriety,
“Anxiety, fear and depression can actually add to a pain’s intensity. Dare to share. Hearing your own feelings spoken aloud to a trusted friend, family member, spiritual or professional counselor, can help to clear the fog and make them easier to confront.”
– From “Elf Help for Coping with Pain” by Anne Calodich Fone