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Old 08-21-2011, 09:37 AM   #1
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Question Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

My huband of 30 years was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver a year and a half ago. At that time he had emergency banding done due to varicises bleeding. He has been unemployed for almost 3 years and he continues to drink at least a couple of drinks daily (vodka or beer). He walks very slow, balance is not good, hands shake, memory is not always good, ammonia levels are high at times, has developed ascites which have been drained once. The liver doctor told him 3 months ago that he would be a good canidate for a liver transplant but he would need to quit for 6 months before he could even be put on the list. He will not stop. He cannot work. Sometimes I wonder how much longer he can keep functioning. What can I expect for our future?

 
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:40 AM   #2
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

My fiancee has just been diagnosed with "end stage liver disease" and i'm looking for the same answers. How long can he live like this. While in the hospital they told us he would heal as long as he stopped drinking. He was hospitalized 7/30 until 8/13. So he has not had a drink since 7/31. But he only seems to be getting worse. He is so full of fluid he can barely move. He takes 2 tbsp of Lactulose a day. When he was released from the hospital they told us he only had to schedule 4 weeks of blood tests with our PCP and that he didn't need to make an appointment with a GI. But after his first week of test we got a call from our PCP telling us he needed to see a GI as soon as possible. So now he has an appointment for Wednesday, but i'm somewhat worried that he needs to go to the hospital before then. This is all so new to me. I try to talk to family and friends but they have no ideas on what to do or say. I guess i'm just looking for someone who's going through this situation also. I wish you luck with your husband. I hope to get 30 years with my Jerry...

 
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by skydiverwannabe View Post
My huband of 30 years was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver a year and a half ago. At that time he had emergency banding done due to varicises bleeding. He has been unemployed for almost 3 years and he continues to drink at least a couple of drinks daily (vodka or beer). He walks very slow, balance is not good, hands shake, memory is not always good, ammonia levels are high at times, has developed ascites which have been drained once. The liver doctor told him 3 months ago that he would be a good canidate for a liver transplant but he would need to quit for 6 months before he could even be put on the list. He will not stop. He cannot work. Sometimes I wonder how much longer he can keep functioning. What can I expect for our future?
I was told that my husband had less than a year to live, two years ago. I did my own research on cirrhosis, and I am making sure that my husband does the following:
Takes his lactalose (up to 90 ml. three times a day now)
I fix him very little red meat for meals,as they are hardest on the liver.
I have no alchohol in the house.
I don't allow him to drive

Even doing all of the above, he still has had to be hospitalized twice for elevated ammonia levels. That is why the Dr. has had to keep increasing the lactalose dosage, as it acts as a laxative and rids the intestine of the ammonia build-up that causes confusion and inability to walk correctly. I have found that when he is most positive that he is just fine, that is when he, in fact, is getting worse. God Bless you both. It is no easy job, caring for someone with cirrhosis. One last thing. Make a list of all of your questions you need answers to, and don't leave the Dr's office until you have all of the answers. Take care. Peggy

 
Old 08-23-2011, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

Peggy, thank you for the thoughts. We do see the liver doctor this Friday and I have my list of questions ready for him. Unfortunately my husband is still drinking. I am not sure what causes the muscle cramps, but he has had a couple nights that they have been very severe. Do you have any suggestions for those?

 
Old 08-23-2011, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

I'm sorry but I don't have any answers for you other than I know what your going through. This is all new to me as well. My husband had the bleeding varices in March 2010, and I was told that was a complication of having cirrhosis. I didn't know he even had it. I wasn't surprised as he has a serious problem with drinking. At that time they banded the varices and hasn't had that happen again. He also has had the hepatic encephalopathy. That comes and goes depending on the ammonia levels. I can tell by looking at him that his ammonia levels are high as he gets this crazy look about him. His balance is terrible. I am so afraid he is going to fall walking up the front steps. His muscle tone in his arms is almost like looking at a 70 year old man's arms. His stomach is so bloated with ascites. He did have his stomach drained in July 2010 and didn't have a problem with the ascites until now. They don't want to drain it as they figure it will be full again within a couple of hours. I am fortunate that I have some family that I can talk to. They don't have any answers but they do help me to realize that I cannot make him stop drinking. I think that the helplessness feeling is one of the hardest things to try and deal with. Take care and I hope you get some answers.

 
Old 08-24-2011, 06:45 AM   #6
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by skydiverwannabe View Post
Peggy, thank you for the thoughts. We do see the liver doctor this Friday and I have my list of questions ready for him. Unfortunately my husband is still drinking. I am not sure what causes the muscle cramps, but he has had a couple nights that they have been very severe. Do you have any suggestions for those?
It suggests stomach ulcers. My husband has had them twice in the past 4 years. His GI Dr. now does endoscopies on him every six months. You might want to look up a support group, such as alanon(sp?) for spouses and family of alcoholics who refuse to stop drinking. Your husband is in denial, as was my husband. God Bless you and I'll keep you in my prayers. I do understand your frustration. I have gotten this far by taking it just one day at a time. I have found out that tomorrow is only the day that you worried about yesterday, so, one day at a time. Peggy

 
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:28 PM   #7
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

I do agree with the one day at a time as over the past few years I do find myself reciting the serenity prayer on a daily basis as there is a lot of truth to that in your every day lives. I try not to think too much into the future, but it would be nice to have some idea what kind of timeline we are looking at before complete liver failure. I would like to be somewhat prepared and I would hope that maybe with him knowing what that timeline is, he may decide to accept help in quitting drinking so he could become a canidate for a transplant. I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts.

 
Old 11-26-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by skydiverwannabe View Post
I'm sorry but I don't have any answers for you other than I know what your going through. This is all new to me as well. My husband had the bleeding varices in March 2010, and I was told that was a complication of having cirrhosis. I didn't know he even had it. I wasn't surprised as he has a serious problem with drinking. At that time they banded the varices and hasn't had that happen again. He also has had the hepatic encephalopathy. That comes and goes depending on the ammonia levels. I can tell by looking at him that his ammonia levels are high as he gets this crazy look about him. His balance is terrible. I am so afraid he is going to fall walking up the front steps. His muscle tone in his arms is almost like looking at a 70 year old man's arms. His stomach is so bloated with ascites. He did have his stomach drained in July 2010 and didn't have a problem with the ascites until now. They don't want to drain it as they figure it will be full again within a couple of hours. I am fortunate that I have some family that I can talk to. They don't have any answers but they do help me to realize that I cannot make him stop drinking. I think that the helplessness feeling is one of the hardest things to try and deal with. Take care and I hope you get some answers.
How is your husband? What you are talking about reminds me of my father, and he does not drink, never has, but his symptoms are the same, its so scary, ive said a prayer for your husband's....

If my father's insurance will not cover the transplant, he will die... At the present he has 3 diff (living)liver donators ... He has NASH, the non drinkers cirrhosis of the liver.

 
Old 12-06-2011, 09:30 AM   #9
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Re: Cirrhosis of the Liver Expectancy

hey sky? unfortunetly i don't have alot of time right now but just wanted to mention something regarding the muscle spasms? if his magnesium and or potassium is low, trust me here, it WILL and can create some pretty off the wall types of muscle cramping(the low pot) and really bizarre types of actual snapping types of even hand snapping spasms(the low mag). my then 12-13 year old son who was going thru liver failure had this occur too. one week it was severe cramping of muscles, so his doc rasied up that with supps of potassium. then the very NEXT week his hands just started seriously snapping back and forth all by themselves(it was insane to watch). we went to the ER and his mag was like barely there. so they started him on what is called mag ox 400. it helped tons. they also ran an IV there too to get the mag up asap before we left. but for some reason, while the liver is failing, alot of the needed minerals, among other things will just deplete in them,so sometimes you DO have to supplimant FOR what is not there anymore. so sorry you are all dealing with this nightmare you are in. i KNOW it's not easy. but DO also take care of yourselves. marcia
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