Now for a continued digression...
Thanks for the suggestion Lisa, but I'm with Frank on this one. Many people have suggested Milk Thistle and any other number of supplements or herbal remedies to me. I know they all mean well, but I take nothing that is labeled as potentially good for or harmful to the liver. If you read labels carefully, that's a lot of over-the-counter meds. And most research I read on most supplements and herbal remedies indicates that they do nothing at all or are actually harmful.
I got Hep C in 1987 from blood given to me for serious surgery for Crohn's disease. I showed up with wonky liver bloodwork in 1990. It was so close to normal that I was tested twice separated by 6 months. By the time of the 2nd test, the virus had been renamed from Non-A Non-B to Hep C and tests to detect it in the blood supply had been developed.
In 2006 I almost died due to blood loss from ruptured esophageal varices related to my liver disease. I was told by a doc at the U of WA that I needed to get on a transplant list. I was also told by him that the foremost liver expert was at the U of AZ in Tucson. He is Thomas Boyer, Director of the Liver Research Institute and co-author of Hepatology, THE textbook on liver disease. For the past 8 years I have been his patient I have had bloodwork and an ultra-sound done to look for liver cancer every six months. He called my varices a "mechanical" problem.
The minute I learned back in 1990 that I might have liver issues, alcohol disappeared from my world. I was never much of a drinker -- loved the taste, hated the effects -- so it wasn't a big sacrifice. I was told here that cutting out alcohol is probably the reason I'm still alive.
A new and very expensive Hep C killing drug should be FDA approved by the end of the year, and I hope to be able to get it. But even if the virus is killed, I will still need to be tested every six months to watch for cancer. In spite of being something of a flower child baby boomer at one time, I put my faith in medicine for situations like mine.
I don't mean to hijack this discussion, but it is an opportunity to remind people to make sure liver bloodwork is done along with their normal exam bloodwork. Hep C is much more common than you might think. This is what the CDC says about it: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/c/cfaq.htm. The major statistic to pay attention to is that it is estimated that 3.2 million people in the US have Hep C and most don't know it because they don't look or feel sick.