Location: Florida
Year diagnosed with PBC: 1993

My name is Audrey. Years ago, my husband (at the time) and I were ready to start a family. I was having trouble conceiving, so I went for fertility tests. My doctors saw something going on with my bloodwork—they just didn’t know what. A liver biopsy later confirmed that I had stage 4 primary biliary cholangitis (PBC).

Photo by Emily Blincoe.

This is my story.

At the time I was diagnosed, I didn’t have any symptoms of PBC (no itching or fatigue)—and I still don’t. Of course, I’ve since learned that everyone is different, and there are no set rules for how you’ll respond to this disease.

“During my online research, I discovered a few ‘PBCers’ in a liver disease chat room. Those women were exactly what I needed in that moment. They gave me hope, inspiration, and a warm virtual hug. Connecting with them was a real gift, and in the years since, I’ve tried to pay that gift forward by running a PBC support group.” — Audrey

I called friends and colleagues in the area for hepatologist recommendations. From the moment I found my doctor, I knew he was going to be special, and my fear started to fade. My next hurdle was to figure out, if I only had a few years left, should I adopt?

“I talked to my doctor and decided that with or without PBC, I was going to be a mom. Adopting my daughter was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. She gave me a reason to do something other than eat, breathe, and sleep PBC 24 hours a day.” — Audrey

As time goes on, I wouldn’t say I have adapted to having PBC in my life—I’d say I’ve learned to live with it as part of me. PBC has become a part of my body and soul, part of who I am. Worrying about PBC or obsessing over things I can’t do just isn’t in my best interest.

Does a diagnosis of PBC make you look at the future differently? Yes. But most times, I feel like a strong, powerful woman who can barrel through any adversity thrown at me. I’m here to show you how strength, positivity, and lust for life can help you face your future with PBC.

All participating parties, including patients, physicians, and experts, were compensated by ICPT.


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