This content is sponsored by
This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's
in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in
its production or display.
MOST POPULAR ON BOSTONGLOBE.COM
Based on what you've read recently, you might be interested in these stories
By Jenni tucker
| September 10, 2019
My name is Jennifer Tucker, but you can call me Jenni. In 2016, between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I received news that at the time felt devastating: I was diagnosed with stage 3 Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis, or NASH. Stage 4 of this disease means your liver has gone into cirrhosis, which could increase your risk for a transplant; however, I learned the damage up until early stage 4 is reversible. My doctor predicted that I was about a year away from cirrhosis of the liver, so at age 19, my life was changed forever.
My parents and I were shocked at the news; we had never heard of this disease. When my liver specialist explained it to me, it sounded like something an older person should have, not a teenager. That’s when I learned my liver thought I was a 60-year-old alcoholic who weighs 300 pounds. I had never had a drink in my life, nor do I ever want to. I’ve been overweight my entire life, but I also knew that there were people bigger than me. So, I was confused: Why was I being diagnosed with this disease? Apparently, my genetics and lifestyle made my liver this way, and even after many years of attempted dieting, its status only worsened.
Knowing I was diagnosed early enough to reverse the damage, my parents and I decided to take better strides for our health. It was not easy by any means. I had to unlearn what I knew about food and change how I’d done things my entire life. It’s been both incredibly frustrating and challenging. But once I gained the knowledge, met the challenge, and finally saw change, it was overwhelmingly encouraging.
I felt strengthened, especially because I didn’t realize how sick I was until I started feeling better. Before my diagnosis, I had been exhausted all the time, even when just sitting at home doing nothing. I would get at least one migraine a week. I was also very pale, with absolutely no color in my cheeks. But once I took hold of my health, I had so much energy! I thought to myself: Is this how I’m supposed to feel all the time? After about a year of healthy eating and regular workouts, my family and I collectively lost about 150 pounds.
Even though this illness has presented a daily challenge, I’ve learned how to overcome my challenges—and I’m now better and healthier for it. I cannot thank my doctor enough for figuring out what was going on with my liver. And I want to thank you for all the incredible work and research you are doing to get a better understanding of NASH. It’s so important that we learn more about this illness to help people diagnosed in the future retain hope and health.
Sincerely, Jenni Tucker
Sponsored by Pfizer
Dear Scientist, I wasn’t aware I was sick until I almost needed a new liver. Are strides being made to diagnose my disease earlier?
A young woman’s devastating diagnosis becomes the catalyst for her to reclaim her health—and her story becomes vital feedback for the specialist working to prevent future cases like hers.
Dear Scientist, my baby went to the ER with a potentially life-threatening illness. Is a vaccine on the way to help future infants?
The Harris family was home with their newborn for only 10 days before she contracted a severe illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Scientist Kena Swanson and her team are developing a vaccine that could prevent RSV disease.
Dear Scientist, prostate cancer almost ended my life by surprise. What’s the status of more effective tests and treatments?
Chas Rodgers, of San Diego, always stayed on top of his health, so his cancer diagnosis came as a shock. Speaking with researcher Thomas Paul, he pushes for bolder measures against this silent threat.