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People told him he looked better after diagnosis

Patient Story

When Mark Colling was diagnosed with liver disease, he changed his lifestyle. The change didn’t go unnoticed by his friends.

Looking back, Mark Colling thinks he may have had symptoms as far back as January 2018. He can remember feeling lethargic for about five days in a row. He thought he might have the flu or even mono.

“It would last a couple days and then go away,” said Colling. “Then in early June it happened again and this time I was nauseous. I never get sick to my stomach and I was cramping too.” He went to his primary physician and after further testing he was diagnosed with cirrhosis and fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is common in middle-aged Americans. Major risk factors include obesity and type 2 diabetes. It can also be associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

“My brother also had cirrhosis and we weren’t the typical ones diagnosed. We enjoyed craft beer but we didn’t drink all day. I was a big guy at the time,” said Colling. As soon as he received his diagnosis he began changing his lifestyle.

“I stopped drinking immediately and cut out all the stuff we shouldn’t eat. I gave up red meat because of the iron and we ate mostly baked chicken, cod, salmon and turkey. We included lots of vegetables and fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs. For a treat I could have turkey bacon once in awhile,” said Colling. He credits his wife of 27 years, Angela with helping him stay on track.

“People said ‘you look better now that you are sick’ and it was because I started taking better care of myself,” said Colling. On April 14, he received a liver transplant under the care of Dr. Chandrashekhar Kubal. He continues to attend the transplant support group at IU Health the third Thursday of every month and remains focused on staying healthy.

“I just got released to start golfing again and I’m anxious to start biking. I’ve been very fortunate and I have dozens and dozens of friends and coworkers to thank for their support,” said Colling. “It’s great to be on the right track.”

And there’s something else – he recently gave away several pairs of pants – sizes 38 and 42 waists. “I’ve lost about 100 pounds and I don’t plan to go back.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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