A couple days ago I took my turn in the family health hotseat, and was humbled by the outpouring of support, the attention of Community Spotlight, and a brief visit to the reclist.
I'd like to let everyone know where things stand. It's sort of a mixed bag.
First, the bad news. This isn't a gallbladder problem, and its not a simple ductal obstruction. Her body, faced with what they had previously described as an unwinnable battle against metastatic breast cancer lesions in her liver, found a way to win that fight. Unfortunately, it didn't pay much regard for "civilian" cell casualties. The details of what went wrong are still unclear, but she has an acute cholestatic injury. Her liver is swollen, significantly damaged, and performing essential metabolic tasks poorly. Additionally, because she's a metastatic cancer patient, they've confirmed she will not be placed on a transplant waiting list, and they declined to determine whether I would be hepatocompatible; even if I would be a viable living liver donor for her, they would not permit the operation to occur. So there's all that, which is bad news.
The mixed news is that ... while her liver is inflamed and her liver test numbers are bad, they're not bad. She has significant liver injury, but not liver failure. At least not yet. It's possible that she may see some liver function regeneration. It's possible that she won't, but that she won't see significant further degradation for some time. It's possible that the ductal damage will occur in a manner that can be compensated for by stenting. Right now, she's somewhat jaundiced (but still short of looking like a Simpsons character) and sleeping 14-15 hours a day (as opposed to 10-12 when she was "just" fighting the cancer), but there's no signs of hepatic encephalopathy and the famed jaundice pruritis is barely present at all. From here, things can still get somewhat better, they can idle like this (possibly even for years as some old alcoholics can attest), or they can get very bad, very fast. Liver science, unfortunately, isn't at a stage where it can predict; we'll know how long she "has" only by living it. So we're trying to enjoy life like time is very short without succumbing to the belief that is necessary is that way.
On the other hand, there is one unabashedly good piece of news that I can share with the community out of all of this...
She said yes.