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Old 11-18-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
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Don't know what to do.

Hello everyone.

I will try to keep this as short as possible but I am having a really hard time with this situation and need some help.

First, I have been with my GF for 3 1/2 years and love her so much. Alcohol has been an issue the whole time I have known her. In fact, I was working in a bar when I met her. The first year she ended up in the hospital with pancreititus and the dr told her to stop drinking. She continued but at that time. I quit hoping she would follow suit. She does not work and I can't do much during the day while I am working so this was the drink time for her.

The second time she ended up in the hospital was late 2011 and was diagnosed with a fatty liver. Not bad but fatty. Then in July 2012, she was tested and everything looked normal. Now comes the liver failure. About a week ago when I came home from a work trip. I noticed yellowing of the eyes. I wanted her to go to the dr. but she refused because of no insurance. She started taking all kinds of vitamins and stopped drinking. I watched and tried to get her to go for 4 days until finally her skin started turning. Currently she is in the hospital and the dr has run all kinds of test. He has not given a definate DIA. but suspects the early stages of cirrhosiis.

Sympthoms are: Yellow eyes and skin, itching, water retention in belly and legs. (Not a lot but noticable, dark urine). She is not bleeding from nose or throat but stool is kinda dark. They told us today they were going to see how her blood levels are tomorrow to make a decision. She has not lost conciousness or disoriented at all but I am really scared. I am having a hard time dealing with this and so are her 3 daughters. One of whom is a nurse.

I am hoping someone can assure me that this might not be as bad as it appears or help me to handle it.

Also, I have been looking at ways to help her recover after we leave the hospital and one thing I saw was the Ion Water system. Some say this will help detoxify the body so the question is will this help? And what about vitamins? I have read a lot that these things work.

Thanks to all who reply.

Bill

Last edited by Tylon103; 11-18-2012 at 05:21 PM.

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:55 PM   #2
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Sorry to hear about your GF. Its hard to believe that they found no abnormality in July and 4 months latter she is in liver failure. Usually SOMETHING will be off in the blood. Do you have her blood test results to post here? Maybe she will be lucky and its a stone blocking the bile dict or something not as serious as cirrhosis.

also when you say she "ended up in the hospital in 2011" what does that mean? why was she hospitalized?

Last edited by Hypochondriacyy; 11-18-2012 at 06:56 PM.

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Thanks Hypo for the reply. In 2011 she had alcohol withdrawl and siezure where they kept her for a week. At that time. Told her she had a fatty liver. Then in July 2012. Went to dr for check up and testing. Nothing showed up. I do not have her blood tests for this stay but the dr said she had one test as high as 18 whatever that means

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:02 PM   #4
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylon103 View Post
Thanks Hypo for the reply. In 2011 she had alcohol withdrawl and siezure where they kept her for a week. At that time. Told her she had a fatty liver. Then in July 2012. Went to dr for check up and testing. Nothing showed up. I do not have her blood tests for this stay but the dr said she had one test as high as 18 whatever that means
I bet the 18 is the bilirubin.
How old is she?
How long has she been drinking?
I wont ask how much since she had seizures I imagine round the clock drinking

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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Re: Don't know what to do.

She is 46 and pretty much daily drinking for 2 years. Only 1 seizure and actual bad withdrawl. So is 18 bad for that test? I did hear that word. They did say she had some abnormal tests for gallbladder but can't see it clearly due to swollen liver.

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:11 PM   #6
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Hi Bill, and sorry to hear you and your gal are having such a tough time.

I'm not a doctor, but I've done a lot of research on alcoholic liver disease, as I have it myself.

Your gal is probably suffering from alcoholic hepatitis, which has a very good prognosis provided she survives the initial health crisis. From what you describe, it sounds like she's not in grave danger at this point.

Early stage alcoholic cirrhosis also has a fairly good prognosis, with a life expectancy of up to 20 years even if the disease continues to slowly progress, which is largely determined by whether or not she can stay away from alcohol.

Your doctor will probably tell you eating well is key to recovery from alcoholic hepatitis and this would be good advise. Patients that get back on good food early on generally do well. Those that can't or won't eat do not.

Any vitamins she may want to take should be run past her doctor, and her doctor should be a hepatologist if she does in fact have serious liver disease. Doctors frequently prescribe B-Complex vitamins during alcoholic recovery, but you've got to be very careful with other supplements. Vitamin A and Iron in particular can aggravate liver disease and are dangerous. Good food will help her more than about any supplement can.

As far as the ion water... I have never heard of this being used in liver disease, and I've read about everything there is to read about it (liver disease). The truth is... The liver actually detoxifies itself pretty well on it's own, provided it gets the nutrition it needs and doesn't get slammed with any new toxins or alcohol.

Keeping her away from alcohol will be your biggest battle as most drinkers relapse at least once or twice before they learn their very life depends on sobriety.

Be strong... Be kind... Listen very carefully to the doctors and do exactly what they say and all should be well.

Best of Luck to you both, and GodSpeed

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:12 PM   #7
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylon103 View Post
She is 46 and pretty much daily drinking for 2 years. Only 1 seizure and actual bad withdrawl. So is 18 bad for that test? I did hear that word. They did say she had some abnormal tests for gallbladder but can't see it clearly due to swollen liver.
Interesting. Gallbladder will turn you yellow if stones block the duct. Also, if she is only drinking for 2 years chirrosis is unlikely. Are you sure its only 2 years and not 20 years but very heavy in the last 2?
And if she is bad enough to be jaundice and have water retention then her spleen would almost certainly be enlarged. Was that mentioned?

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:20 PM   #8
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Hypo I apologize. Yes 20 years of drinking with heavy in last 2. Spleen was inflamed as well as liver and gallbladder. The stomach swelling and Jaundice is the worst part of waiting for results. I just hope I got her to the hospital in time.

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:21 PM   #9
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Thank you my friend Billin, I hope this is the case. Actually sitting here with her now and she seems perky after 3 days here. She is looking better and not as yellow skinned. Maybe this is why the dr after 3 days has not confirmed the DX. I will hope for the best from tomorrows news and definately stay away from the supplements unless the DR says so.

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:35 PM   #10
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Re: Don't know what to do.

I would also like to add to my friends that have replied. I feel a little better now hearing from you and hope things improve where the only thing to worry about. Is a more healthy life style for her and myself. I will be visiting this board daily to help us get through this and keep us going. I am 46 as well and tired of the old life.

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:40 PM   #11
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Thanks for the kind words Tylon... They say "you can't party like you used to", and I've found this to be true. Some learn the easy way, others the hard way.

I pushed my luck as far as I could (drank till 54) before I got in trouble... Doing fine now (at 56). There is life after alcohol, and it isn't all that bad.

I look forward to hearing of your gal's recovery.

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:06 AM   #12
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Who was it that said "If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself" ?

I am 2 years sober. Although never "officially" diagnosed anything other then a fatty liver, Im sure I have done some damage.

When I was in my 20s I remember drinking daily, straight Vodka for a period of a year. When I went for a blood test the doctor ordered me to go have a CT scan of my liver. I asked why, he said to make sure I didnt have liver cancer, my bilirubin was sky high!
I wasn't jaundice though. Everything came back normal and I "slowed down" but continued to drink. I probably was developing alcoholic hepatitis like Bill said. All Alcoholic hepatitis means is that the liver is so overwhelmed with the toxins your ingesting it can't handle it and begins to shut down. That was 1995. Since then I have continued to drink, but not like that. Beer, weekends, etc. Once I stopped for 5 years in there too.
2 years ago I go for my physical, my bloods have always been normal. I have an abdominal ultrasound because I get URQ mild pain (had it all my life) which they suspect is an inflamed gallbladder. The report showed that I had "moderate to severe fatty liver with mild hepatomegaly" That was my final wake up call. I haven't drank in 2 years. Went on a diet and lost 30 pounds. Did I mention I am 60 pounds overweight?
I just had a repeat ultrasound 2 months ago, it showed a normal liver, I reversed the fatty liver. The only abnormality was "mild heterogenous echo-texture possibly representing patches of fat" The doctor said thats probably left over fat from my severe fatty liver and he wouldn't expect it to return to 100% normal in only 2 years.

The reassuring part is, my AST is 18 and my ALT is 25, PTT is normal, Albumin is normal, Platelets are 225,000. My bilirubin bounces between .08 to as high as 1.3. 1.2 is the cut off for my lab as far as normal, but the doctor said 1/10 of a point is insignificant and they dont get concerned until it gets over 2.0 I believe your GF is 18? I have had plenty of blood tests and get repeat tests every 6 months for different reasons. I asked my doctor about me reading many people with chirrosis having normal AST/ALT. He said (and he is a gastro) that your liver has to be severely blown out that it can no longer manufacture AST and ALT and therefor gives a false normal. When you are at that point, you would be very sick in other ways. It was also mentioned that I may have Gilberts (when I was a child I remember hearing this). Also a normal size spleen is very significant. Most people with portal hypertension have an enlarged spleen. is your girlfriends spleen enlarged or just inflamed?

As you can tell by my name, I am a severe hypochondriac and have anxiety disorder which got worse after I quit alcohol. I believe I used booze as a tranquilizer. So I still obsess over liver disease and read these forums daily.
The only way to tell definitively whats happening with a liver is through a biopsy but even my doctor said with normal blood work no doctor would consider a biopsy.
I also donate blood every 3 months and that has seemed to help with my recovery. I am on testosterone which raises the RBC so its a good idea for me to give blood anyway. I want to keep my iron down as low as possible.

The liver is a marvelous thing and can truly repair itself! My old doctor who recently passed away was a coroner in NYC and I remember him telling me that when they would do incidental autopsies on old people in their 70s and 80s, they would very often find early to moderate stages of cirrhosis that went undetected! It truly is a slow progression and I will bet you many people die of old age and have it and never even knew they did.

also, it is curable with transplant which is being done more and more these days, almost routinely! Years ago it was virtually impossible to get a liver, not any more, and I imagine in 20 years we will be growing new livers in test tubes. So my point is, people with liver disease need to get sober, and stay sober. Science is moving very fast, the longer we stay healthy the better our chances are down the road.

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:07 AM   #13
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Hello Hypo. Thanks for this last post. I am really up beat today thanks to your and Bill's comments. She is looking better today and now has a scheduled test for MRI on gallbladder. She has stones and the DR's are looking at a blocked bile duct possible from a stone. Again the liver is so inflamed the CAT scan and Ultrasound can not definitively detect the duct. They did say all the main veins in her liver look normal but have not ruled out cirrhosis but things look better. The spydrs that she had yesterday seem to be vanishing on her neck and chest. Still jaundiced and tired but alert, walking around hospital and eating good. Not nauseous or throwing up. Stool is still dark but urine is light colored compared to really dark the other day. I really like this site and will offer up whatever I can to get through this as well as help others in the future. I have found a home here and it helps tremendously.

Last edited by Tylon103; 11-19-2012 at 10:22 AM.

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:47 PM   #14
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Ok update. She had an MRI today and waiting for the results. bilirubin level is 18 and was so yesterday. Doc says good sign it has not gone up. White blood cell count has lowered from 27 to 19. Doc says going to give a couple meds to lower bilirubin level. If it responds well tomorrow. Things are improving. They still can not make a decision. MRI may reveal a blocked bile duct.

 
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:00 AM   #15
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Re: Don't know what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tylon103 View Post
Ok update. She had an MRI today and waiting for the results. bilirubin level is 18 and was so yesterday. Doc says good sign it has not gone up. White blood cell count has lowered from 27 to 19. Doc says going to give a couple meds to lower bilirubin level. If it responds well tomorrow. Things are improving. They still can not make a decision. MRI may reveal a blocked bile duct.
Good to hear that! The spider veins I dont think ever go away. she is in a hospital bed receiving fluids and relaxed, and not drinking, so the lowered blood pressure means they are not visible.
I hope this scare turns out to be nothing more then a blocked duct.
Please keep us updated

 
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