Debbie P., a mom of three adult children and grandmother of two, was looking forward to the next chapter of her life, including planning for an early retirement from her job as a fingerprint supervisor. However, during her planning stages for retirement, she discovered through blood tests that she had abnormal liver enzyme levels. After several more evaluations, Debbie was given the shocking news that she had stage 3 PBC, which she says “felt like a death sentence” at the time.
Today, Debbie takes medication to manage her PBC and is feeling well, though it’s not always easy. While she wasn’t able to retire fully as she’d planned, she says she does enjoy the work and her colleagues. And, although PBC is not caused by alcohol consumption, she is still concerned with the social stigma of having a liver disease. She is grateful for the support of her tight-knit family, including her daughter Emily Blincoe, a professional photographer who is helping to shine a light on PBC through the LiveHer photography campaign. Debbie leans on her family to celebrate the positive moments and get through tough times, and believes that having a strong support network is an important aspect of coping with having a chronic disease like PBC.
Save yourself a great deal of worry and find a PBC support group.
Debbie focuses on her hobbies to stay positive and centered, including training for marathons, gardening and bird-watching. One of her greatest pleasures is witnessing the annual migration of butterflies and birds. She loves watching the monarch butterflies in her garden and the Cliff Swallow birds from her window while the sun sets each summer, among many other birds that she travels to see. She takes great pride in maintaining and decorating her idyllic country home built in the early 1900s, which she calls her “antique house.” It’s filled with her extensive collection of ladybugs that her loved ones have given to her over the years, and other personal mementos that bring her joy.
If Debbie could offer advice to someone newly diagnosed with PBC, or who is struggling to cope, she says, “Save yourself a great deal of worry and find a PBC support group. Connecting with others who have PBC, and who understand exactly what I’m going through, made a world of positive difference for me. And aim to make good choices and live the healthiest, happiest life you can.”
Take the MyPBC Coach quiz and download your personalized discussion guide to be better prepared for your next visit with your healthcare team. Check out the LiveHer Facebook page for updates on liver health for women.