Karen Hoyt is a blogger who has a story about hepatitis C, cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplantation. This excerpt first appeared on Karen’s I Help C blog.

I lifted the round plastic cover and peeked at the slice of roast with mashed potatoes. The nearby white Styrofoam cup contained a glob of shiny brown gravy. It was my first meal since being admitted through the emergency room. Less than 72 hours before, after bicycling in humid, triple digit heat, my liver had failed.

I soon learned that cirrhosis was staged by numbers. I was beyond 4 – End Stage. The Hepatitis C Virus was raging through my body and the only cure for the virus had a success rate of less than 15%. The doctor told us that death would probably occur within a couple of years without a liver transplant. He then flatly stated that the transplant list was long and the virus would continue to deteriorate my liver. At one point, I literally ran out of the hospital trying to escape the news. My family and friends caught up with me in the parking lot and convinced me to return. The nightmare had begun.

The diagnosis had come out of nowhere, touching everything in my life. Like an Oklahoma twister, it swept through my health, finances, job, and relationships; it threatened my entire future. It sucked up all of my dreams, shook them like a rag doll, and then slammed them back on the ground. It was just like when I was a kid coming out of the cellar, or fraidy hole, after a tornado. I was alive and could see what was left, but I hardly recognized my life.

To read the rest of Karen’s blog, click hereThe Emergency Room Diagnosis with Liver Cirrhosis is an excerpt from The Liver Loving Diet – Your Best Friend’s Guide to Low Sodium and Healthy Protein. Click here for a link to Karen’s book.