Chopped Liver - A Community for Live Organ Donors and Recipients

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Meet my fatty infiltration

copyright 2001 Bauke Schildt, used with permissionCrap. I got mixed news last Friday from the transplant team. The good news is I’m anatomically perfect for donating—ample volume, good duct placement, etc. But the bad news: I have something that is cruelly, dreadfully named “fatty infiltration” in my liver. In other words, my liver is home to a noticeable number of fat cells, which I have intuitively chosen to demonize, imagining a little crowd of beer-gutted gremlins that look just like this guy.

Fatty infilitration usually appears as a symptom of alcoholism and obesity. I trust you all know I’m neither obese nor an alcoholic. (Hey, stop giggling, Iowa State people!) Seriously, it was comforting to learn from the transplant nurse and my doctor brother that almost everyone has at least some fatty infiltration—they just don’t all go around getting MRIs every day to look for it. You probably have some too. (Except for you marathon-running people—you know who you are!) This causes no harm to me, and like any other fat, I can reduce it by eating better, exercising more, and drinking less. Liver transplant or no, I plan to kick it out by living a healthier life.

As for the transplant: They can go forward if the fatty infilitration (ugh—I hate that phrase—I’m just going to call it “Larry” from now on) isn’t too extensive. But if Larry has taken over and strewn his bulbous mass all over the place, a transplant could put Joe in danger. Unfortunately, the only way to determine Larry’s dominance is to do a liver biopsy, which has to be done in Chicago. It’s either that or withdraw from consideration. So I’m off to Chicago for a date with a needle!

The biopsy is scheduled for November 29. I’m not sure how long it will take to get the results back.


  • wow. you're amazing. what a wonderful thing to do.

    hi! found you via the always entertaining "next blog" button.

    I will keep my fingers crossed that Larry will keep his infiltrations under control!!!

    By Blogger evilsciencechick, at 12:36 AM  

  • Hey, thanks for being my first comment... ever! I didn't know there was a "next blog" button. I'm the embarrassed newbie to all this.

    This is a work-in-progress, and I'm back-filling it now to bring my friends up to speed. Who knows, maybe some day I'll host the world's leading liver donation blog! Or I'll go back to leaving it to the people who know what they're doing....

    By Blogger Becky, at 12:52 AM  

  • In your stead, I will toast each Guinness I consume to "Larry." That is, until you're able to join me for a pint again!

    By Anonymous John, at 8:43 AM  

  • I,too, was recently diagnosed with fatty infiltration of the liver! I almost fell off the exam table as I am neither morbidly obese nor a malnourished alcoholic so I found it comforting that you reported in your blog that most people have some infiltration. I still have the vague upper right quadrant sensations but my doctor is convinced that it must be an "underwire bra that is causing it." Huh? My sensations are internal hence the ultrasound so needless to say, I am going to a specialist! In the meantime, my "Larry" will hopefully be reversed with my new-found, forced love of exercise and healthier eating.
    All the Best-
    Another Larry Survivor!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:19 AM  

  • Hi! I just found out that I have fatty liver also, I was looking around to find out information on it and ran across your site, I dont know what I am writing to and havent involved myself in anything online before like this, I am only 28, and I have battled a tylenol addiction for 8 yrs now, I just found out I have many things wrong with me now, I have fatty liver, high cholestrol, and high glucose, and a low thyroid, I want to know what others symptoms are, I am yellow skin dark urine and sometimes intense pain in my liver, its really hard not knowing what the whole truth about this disease is, if you have any info or know of a site please post or mail me? I have been in treatment for a week to get off the tylenol 1's, the ones you can buy over the counter. does this problem kill you,should i be this sick,does anyone else have these symptoms? I hope to hear from someone?! thanks and best wishes for better health!

    By Blogger angel, at 10:57 PM  

  • I just received a call from my gastroenterologist's nurse that my cat scan taken after a severe colonitis attack that I showed fatty infiltration of the liver. It frightened me to say the least until I looked up some info from people like you. I don't eat fat, am into healthful foods, have a drink in the evening, am not an alcoholic, so why? Now, I get to have a colonostomy to find out why I have this problem. I am anxious to find out if this is some "disease" or is it caused from some medication, etc. Puzzled here in Illinois.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:54 PM  

  • Anonymous... don't remember whether I already covered this, but my MRI suggested I had fatty infiltration, but the actual biopsy proved otherwise. Point being, the scans are inconclusive but they usually have to do a biopsy to be sure. Chances are pretty good you're free and clear, like I ended up being. If not, it's likely hereditary -- so don't worry, have some M&Ms! :)

    Thanks for writing and don't hesitate to send any questions to me, either through comments or directly at

    By Blogger Becky, at 8:09 PM  

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