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Hepatitis A long gone... and STILL no APPETITE!

Dear MedHelp,

April 2009, I was rushed to the Hospital because I couldn't stop throwing up. A day prior to that, I took a urination test and the bold brown-red color proved that my liver was sick, possibly with Hep A or B. Months before that, my appetite had gradually and completely deteriorated and my fatigue slowly set in.

I was in the hospital for 5 days, 4 nights. Thankfully the test only showed Hep A. I was give treatment for the infected liver, a urinary track infection, and pain killers. I was given permission to leave when I finally made a small bowel movement (despite their provided diet of just fluids). For several weeks I could barely walk strait, but my yellow skin and eyes had finally faded away and I was able to swallow milk and eggs again.

Ok then.. now lets fast forward to TODAY. Yes, today. I make absolutely no joke about this. My appetite, despite months and months of food sampling and healthy lifestyle, STILL HAS NO RETURNED. Honestly, I'm bewildered. What kind of problem is this? Am I missing a part of my treatment? I had read and reviewed as much as I could about Hepatitis A and am relieved that there was no "permanent damage", but does this count as some concern? Some research suggest that it takes between six months to two years before a person's appetite completely returns (in which case relapses might occur), but I have had no relapses and no cravings for two and a half years.

I am not sure if this information is relevant, but around the time I got Hep A I was incredibly depressed from my abusive partner. If anything, we all came to the obviously conclusion that I had, quite embarrassingly, allowed my cleanliness, health, and immune system to drop from the extreme depression, thus allowing an open door for a many great deal of nasty unknown substances to make their way into my system. Well, with no surprise, enter Hep A. Before I realized what I had done, I knew it was too late. I was the only one in my community who had even gotten it at that time, and other people whom I have worked with and even shared water bottles with never got sick. To this day we are still unaware of what could have ever allowed it to be.

My doctor, regardless if you find this funny or not, only smiles and shakes his head at my statement of no appetite. I feel insulted and appalled because of my image of a young looking 23 year old who has 'no idea of the world yet' simply can not be taken seriously when it comes to hunger. He keeps waving it aside like it's nothing and keeps assuring me that it will return. He also suggests that I try new things to purk up my appetite again, but dear lords I am EXHAUSTED from doing that. I've done french, italian, japanese, chinese, russian, america, etc.. you name it! Food that I never even knew exited I've literally sampled them all throughout the day…. and in this economy, it's been increasingly hard to get that sort of luxury and privilege done. I'm overall a very healthy eater and just love my daily juices and oatmeal, but still NOTHING. I exercise about 3 to 4 times a week, sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a night, and I'm NOT as depressed as before (and never took medicine for it). I drink fresh hot tea every day and/or night, and I do my absolute best to get my mind of my stomach (such as movies, friends, books, and college).

Quite often I am happy and not even thinking about this problem… but alas there's a problem to that. I don't KNOW when I'm hungry because I simply can't tell whether or not I should eat. Not being hungry definitely causes you to think about other things, and when you have no appetite then food is the last thing on our mind. My body starts to tremble from what I am to believe is 'hunger', and I end up trying to get home as fast as I can before my shaking becomes uncontrollable. My stomach does growl and gurgle, but does't 'yearn'.

Everyone thinks this is a funny joke and have even become upset at me for being concerned with it, but I do NOT find this funny at all. My doctor is laughing, my family is non supportive and just ignoring this "irrelevant" issue that they claim has "nothing to do with my Hep A", and my pleas have fallen to def ears. I am more angry and frustrated then I have ever been. I don't care if they accuse me of trying to blame my average work/college schedule or if they think I am just trying to come up with marijuana jokes, I am absolutely fed up with this nonsense.

The dryness in my mouth and throat helps me with my "thirst", and if anything I believe that I have come to be thirsty again... but I miss that familiar hunger towards food that I use to get so easily every morning when I wake up. I now force myself to eat breakfast even though it's now an unpleasant experience. Depending how easy the food goes down will depend on how full I am. I can feel the food in my stomach and slowly see it stick out when I'm done, but staring at it all day is exhausting. Waiting to shake should NOT be the best way to tell whether or not Im hungry. My diet consists mainly of apples, bananas, oatmeal (with nuts and sometimes chocolate chips), eggs, milk, juices, bacon, bottled water, cereal, PBJ sandwiches, salads, red onions, lettuce (green, red, iceberg, etc...), etc..... mostly breakfast and sometimes lunch stuff, although I do snack on chips, crackers, and nuts in the evening. My meats are usually chicken and turkey. A few times during the summer I had ice cream. It's quite easy to go on a whole day without eating... although I pay for it when I wake up the next morning by shaking and trembling.

IS there something that I'm missing? I am so sorry for all the extra reading, but I am just trying to give as much insight as possible. I don't look sick nor do I act sick, so everyone else is yelling at the top of their lungs that this it's all in my head, but I am 100 percent certain that it's not. I KNOW this has something to do with my Hep A or something that happened before, and since this is an uncommon problem I can't find the right information for it. I am almost on the verge of breaking down. I need this to get fixed because I am forgetting to eat for entire days. Should I ask for some specific test to be done? Should I do a certain exercise? Am I not eating the most "craved" foods? My doctor just keeps assuring me that I am in great health standing and I eat the most wonderful things... but if that's the case then wherein the world is my APPETITE?! His question: "Are you eating?" My response: "YES I'm eating! But…" … then his response: "Then you're fine!"…. but NO, THIS is NOT fine. Healthy people have appetites, right? I'll do anything, get an MRI, runs marathon in the rain, Sing and dance on a moving car, ANYTHING if it means that I'll feel hungry again! I never thought something so simply could prevent me from going into the most unnerving "hunger"-shaking attacks I've ever had. This is now interfering with my job and I can't work with my hands trembling. I would be much more prepared if I knew WHEN I was hungry so I can remember to take a bite out of that sandwich before I go!

Please, ANY help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your time.
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