Giving My Liver & Spleen A Vacay.

“You’re liver enzymes are slightly elevated. Did you drink last night before this blood test?”

I’ve had that question asked of me three in the past four years.

The first was when I had a really great acupuncturist (who moved to Florida a few months later) who had me get bloodwork done to see why I was exhausted all of the time. My lipid panel came back good. As did my anemia test. But my liver enzymes were slightly elevated… And so he put me on a two-week liver/sugar detox.

The second time was a little over a year ago, working with a horrible-horrible-horrible naturopath who was more interested in her weekly vitamin shot “bar” she would set up than she was in helping people explore non-pharmaceutical health treatments. She sent my blood out for evaluation (after I had to go back twice to have my blood taken by her. She couldn’t find a vein, and then when she did, she accidentally released the tube and splattered my blood. So I had to go back a few times to try to be stabbed by her…) and it came back saying the same things. Though she didn’t tell me to do a liver detox… But that’s because she decided to close up her business between the time I had the blood finally drawn and the results came back. (She did email me my results. Which was nice of her. But she wasn’t able to meet with me to discuss how to treat the elevated liver enzymes.)

The third time was about two months ago, when I was going through an annual series of check-ups. All good… Elevated enzymes.

You may be wondering, “How much alcohol do you drink if you have elevated enzymes?”

Not much. Maybe two glasses of wine a week?

So I cut the alcohol completely out till I went to Shanghai. I had two glasses of wine during the week I was there. I’ve had two glasses in the month since I’ve been back.

So really, not much at all.

And in the past few months, I’ve felt a tingling sensation on the left side of my torso. Right where my spleen is located.

The spleen… The complimentary organ for the liver.

Why are they being so sensitive?

I had no idea. But before pursuing any kind of western medicine - because I’m not in pain at all, just a weird occasional tingling feeling is all I have… I decided to do a one-day liver detox and start my acupuncture regime back up as a regular thing.

A liver detox I pulled together myself… Because I wanted it to be simple and straightforward. The intent was to just give my organs a day off from having to process and digest anything with much effort. So it was a lot of juices and green tea, and no coffee.

ABC (apple beet carrot) juice.

ABC (apple beet carrot) juice.

The lack of coffee wasn’t too difficult… The green tea helped. And I made all of the juices myself to control what went into them. (I don’t trust juice products to not have additional sugar or other additives.)

Green juice (cucumber, apple, parsley, ginger, kale) and green tea with mint.

Green juice (cucumber, apple, parsley, ginger, kale) and green tea with mint.

Mid-day of the juice, I went to a new acupuncturist who - so far - seems focused on being straight-forward and not fluffy… Like other acupuncturists and naturopaths I’ve come across in Encinitas. We talked about the tingling, and she came to an initial conclusion I had - which was that I am sensitive to sugar and refined carbs… Which is making my liver work harder. And as a result, my spleen work harder.

Acupuncture bed. A dark room.

Acupuncture bed. A dark room.

She put needles into meridian points focused on my spleen and liver. And then she stuck some directly into the place where my spleen is… And it began to itch after a few minutes. I was able to ignore the itching and rest on the table for a little while, in the dark. And when it was done, the itching was gone. And I haven’t felt the tingling in the spleen.

I ended the day with a hot yoga class and then some solid food.l. A bowl of brown rice and some chicken.

I was initially going to do the detox for two days, but I felt so much better after just one day that I eased myself out of it with a long sleep and lots of water.

And some coffee, of course.

The acupuncturist gave me a tincture with some Chinese herbs that will help clean things up in my organs. I intend to start taking them tomorrow (Monday). Though I know they will taste awful, as most Chinese herbs I have had to take do.

“Earthy” is how she described them.

“Barfy” is how I describe them.

But a few months of a modified detox eating plan and weekly visits to the acupuncturist (they’re covered by my health insurance), and I am hoping things will be really clean. I’ve not really been disciplined about changing my sugar intake after previous bloodwork in the past. And combine that with the occasional glass of alcohol, almost no water intake, and refined carbs… And my little organs are like, “WHAT THE FUCK, BITCH? WHAT THE FUCK?”

It’s true… I forgot the part about water. There would be says where I am so busy, I would get home at the end of a work day and realize, “I only had coffee today. And now I’m having a glass of wine.”

No water.

So about two months ago I started chugging 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning… Which often leads to me peeing a ton before I leave for work, but also leads to me actually drinking water throughout the day.

I figure a few months of doing these things… And my energy will be really good.

I’ve already noticed - in the past few weeks - that at least the water discipline has had a positive affect. I’ve been able to do some of the forward-bending poses in yoga that I’d lost about eight years ago. Poses that before I moved to NYC I had been able to do perfectly… But as soon as I moved and began a life path of complete change… they left me. Unable to do them. Wanting to vomit every time.

But they’re slowly coming back, for a few seconds here and there.

I also plan to start fasting 24 hours one day a week as well… The juicing was a good break for them, but it’s time-consuming to sit there and juice everything. So I figure not eating for one day - just consuming water, tea and coffee - will be okay.

Let’s check back in on this in about two months though, okay?