Year diagnosed with PBC: 2011
My name is Debbie. I am a mother and grandmother. I was looking forward to the next chapter of my life—early retirement—when I was diagnosed with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC).
Photos on this page by Emily Blincoe.
This is my story.
While planning for early retirement from my job as a fingerprint supervisor, I discovered through blood tests that my liver enzyme levels were abnormal. After several more evaluations, I found out that I had stage 3 PBC, which, at the time, felt like a death sentence.
“My advice for those who are newly diagnosed with PBC or struggling to cope is to save yourself a great deal of worry and find a PBC support group.” — Debbie
Today I take medication to manage my PBC, and I’m feeling well—but it’s not always easy. I wasn’t able to retire early as I had planned, but I enjoy my work and my colleagues. And even though PBC is not caused by alcohol consumption, I am still concerned about the stigma of having a liver disease.
I’m grateful for the support of my tight-knit family. I lean on them to celebrate the positive moments and get through tough times. Having a strong support network is an important aspect of coping with a chronic disease such as PBC.
Connecting with others who have PBC and who understand exactly what I’m going through made a world of difference for me. I also focus on my hobbies to stay positive and centered. Decorating my early 1900s home, gardening, and bird watching are all passions of mine. One of my greatest pleasures is watching the annual migration of butterflies and birds.
“Aim to make good choices and live the healthiest, happiest life you can.”— Debbie
All participating parties, including patients, physicians, and experts, were compensated by ICPT.