For many years, Jessica Duenas led what she calls a double life. She was the first in her immigrant family to go to college. In 2019, she won Kentucky’s Teacher of the Year award. That same year, Duenas typically downed nearly a liter of liquor every night.
By the time she was 34, she was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, a serious inflammation of her liver that doctors warned could soon lead to irreversible scarring and even death if she didn’t stop drinking, and quickly.
“I couldn’t keep down any food,” Duenas says. “My belly was supersensitive like if I pressed on certain parts of it, it would hurt a lot. My eyes were starting to get yellowish.”
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