Skip to comments.I have cirrhosis of the liver
Posted on 07/03/2012 8:29:13 PM PDT by fourth and three
I lurk here a lot but don't really post. I just thought I would post here to see if anybody is familiar with all this.
I learned about 3 months ago that I have cirrhosis of the liver, probably caused by alcohol use. I never thought I drank that much -- maybe 4 or 5 beers a night -- but I had such a habit for many years.
I had no warning of such a problem, and only learned about it when my abdomen started becoming oddly swollen, and uncomfortable. Finally, when I was looking like a pregnant woman (literally}, I was sent for an ultrasound and ascites associated with cirrhosis was diagnosed. This came like a bolt out of the blue. When you get ascites, the prognosis is rather grim, with an expectation of 3 years to live without a liver transplant.
I don't feel like I'm dying, but I've been drained of about 2 1/2 gallons of fluid twice since then, and take diuretics and drastically limit salt intake. I want to work but I constantly feel weak, and I am not sure how honestly I should talk with an employer about my condition.
I also have a six year old girl who doesn't understand why daddy feels so weak all the time.
Just wondering if anyone knows about this condition and might have information that is valuable to anyone who has this disease.
Over the last decade I have lost five friends to this disease.
We all started out with the same symptoms. I quit drinking completely. No psychobabble, no AA, no “steps” - just prayed on it and quit.
My friends did not.
In my book, God is the only support group you need.
Prayers from the Levy family.
4th and 3 ... did you pick this name in relation to the cirrhosis? If so, toss it now, even if you knew you would die tomorrow.
10 to 20 % who drink heavily (those of us who drink hard or once drank hard don’t consider 5 beers a day heavy, but when in the context of medicine, it is heavy) will get cirrhosis. You’ve probably read what immediately follows. It’s not a happy read, but that’s not the reason I’m including it. I’m a second degree black belt in a traditional martial arts form, which means I have some knowledge of healing, more knowledge of healing than about killing people and breaking things. I also partied really, really hard for 20 years, believing that I was balancing the drinking with marathons / hard training / daily purging of my system. When I quit booze I had high liver enzymes, but no damage. I can’t give medical advice, and I’m glad, because the medical profession is so focused on little molecules and cells that we often get lost in thinking about ‘disease’ instead of connecting to it through our own senses. The big picture consists of a hell of a lot more than just ‘eat healthy and don’t drink’.
Ok, here’s the ugly version, but don’t ever live your life by statistics. (heh - otherwise you would vote democrat half the time :-))
“Cirrhosis and chronic liver disease were the 10th leading cause of death for men and the 12th for women in the United States in 2001, killing about 27,000 people each year. Also, the cost of cirrhosis in terms of human suffering, hospital costs, and lost productivity is high.
Established cirrhosis has a 10-year mortality of 34-66% (note from me: ignore that - most people do not properly address their condition. So it’s not a case of ‘your chances’ are 50% of living 10 years, it’s a case of you ‘will live as long as possible based on your choices, you have the say in the matter, not the numbers. You have a HUGE amount of control, but not all the control), largely dependent on the cause of the cirrhosis; alcoholic cirrhosis has a worse prognosis than primary biliary cirrhosis and cirrhosis due to hepatitis. The risk of death due to all causes is increased twelvefold; if one excludes the direct consequences of the liver disease, there is still a fivefold increased risk of death in all disease categories.”
Here’s how to look at it.
1. Your body’s toxin filter is structurally damaged.
2. Don’t believe everything you read that says ‘you can’t reverse it’. You can’t REALLY ‘reverse’ it (maybe), but you can begin to replace it.
3. Again, statistics are great if you’re dealing with things that don’t respond to your control - like Black Jack cards in Vegas. For instance, it may be true that 4 out of 5 people on food stamps will be on food stamps next year. On the other hand, my guess is that if you put 100 of the people here in a situation in which they found themselves on food stamps, the vast majority wouldn’t need them next MONTH. That is analogous to your situation.
1. Learn how the digestive system works. Approach it like an engineer, not a doctor’s level or conversely someone who just wants to lose weight. Don’t just ‘eat well’ in the cliche sense - research, like an engineer, what foods provide your body a balanced biochemistry WITHOUT the need to filter much out of those foods, because your filter is now less efficient. Your not like everyone else who is targeting a ‘100%’ liver.
2. Do not follow the West’s exercise freak model. Excercise in the west was never engineered properly, to address conditions. You have a blockage in your body’s system, and that creates a cyclic condition because the blockage works against the blockage itself. Blood is the healer and the deliverer of food and oxygen. So you have two missions, after delivering to the blood, through diet which is really just another word for chemicals. The first mission is to increase blood flow / circulation. I’m not talking necessarily about ‘increased blood flow during a hard run’ -> I’m talking about increasing the diameter and current of/through your vessels. Not only does this provide better traffic flow, reducing ‘smog’ (or think of a stagnant, crowded forest with still waters: it smells of rot and bacteria ... compared to an uncrowded forest with wind and quick waters - very clean, little rot, little bacteria), but it also means your blood has more surface area through which to deliver its packages to cells. But what if what surrounds your blood vessels is constricting? In other words, a flexible vessel running through and constricted in cement nullifies the advantage of the flexible vessel. In terms of flexibility, you must start with your joints - hips, knees elbows, shoulders, wrists, ankles - any joints, start with the largest. Why? Because these are the bottle necks - the opportunity for the greatest profit at the start. Think of an auto accident in a well designed traffic tunnel. The tunnel might be perfectly designed, but it doesn’t matter, traffic is bottlenecked. Same with tight joints. The second bottle necks are your muscles. Tight muscles mean it’s a well designed traffic tunnel (if you’ve worked on your blood vessels), but it’s only one lane. Your vessels are ready to expand to 5 lanes, but the constricted muscle won’t allow them to expand. So you’re starting to make up for what you lost - you’re cleaning up the input and the flow in your entire ‘factory’, so that you’re body is (in a way) becoming your liver. Similarly, do exercises that increase the surface area of your lungs (same principle, but here we’re talking about oxygen efficiency - more surface area means more pickup of oxygen / more toxins coming the other direction). Now you have a clean factory, which relies less on (or is making up for) its weakened toxin remover, and further, is stressing it less, slowing the extent of any cyclic/self-reinforcing further decline.
But now you have a problem - what if a storm hits your newly cleaned factory? It blows off the roof, makes a mess of the factory floor, dirt and chemicals everywhere, and for six months your factory is operating in toxic conditions. So you need to protect the entire factory. You strengthen your immune system (much of what’s before will help with that). Here is a more real life example: You catch pneumonia because your immune system is down. That sucks in itself, but, it means you don’t stretch, exercise for a month. So that’s a blow upon a bruise. So your factory has lost its efficiency, and something entirely separate, though related, to the primary pneumonia is now hurting you. These types of things have a domino effect in older people and younger people with an achilles heal (cirrhosis in your case.) You must protect against ANY domino’s falling. Often an elderly person will lose his or her knees. Because of that, they don’t walk or move around as much. Their joints tighten for lack of movement, their veins constrict from lack of use, their muscles tighten at the same time they are becoming weak. Does the hip injury kill them? No. Something else does ... something caused by the knee loss.
You also have to purify yourself, however you see that, spiritually. I’m not pulling eastern hocus pocus on you. What I mean is that you have to keep your relationships with others and yourself as clean as possible. Stress and Anxiety are your physical immune system’s primary enemies. Getting back to the factory example - let’s say you have a bad relationship with the factory down the road. So you have to take 3 of your 25 guys off the floor to deal with public relations with the factory down the road. If there is war, you are taking 10 off the floor and wasting energy fighting, and you are in a fearful state. Also take care of any issues you have with yourself. Any guilt? Any anger? That’s what I mean by spiritual. Whatever version of God you honor, if any - none of this should collide with that. If there are any cracks in your peace with God, Yourself, Family, Friends, associates ... you are in a way lucky ... because it is now a life or death (it really is) issue that you purify yourself mentally and physically, you can’t procrastinate any of it any longer (that is, if you have been procrastinating or accepting a level of physical/mental purity less than you know you should have - we are human, and we all procrastinate it, or at least I do)
As a kid through early 20s I played a lot of soccer, and soccer is great, but it is not designed specifically to address all aspects of ‘the factory’ - and in your case especially, it only takes one part of the factory to fail to bring down the factory. This is why I not only recommend but almost order you to become a daily practitioner, and an accomplished one, of yoga or a traditional martial art (I’m not talking about MMA - that’s not martial arts. Self defense is not martial arts. Killing people and breaking things is only 2% of martial arts.) Akido practice is to open up your joints. Weapons practice is to develop flexibility and strength. I have never needed to use Akido or Weapons on anyone, which is why Yoga is a perfectly good substitute.
You must become your own liver. Doctors have some important input, but do not accept anything they say without researching it and understanding it yourself (you only need a broad understanding, not every chemical, but becoming a nutritionist can’t hurt.) Also treat ‘popular’ medicine as ‘a suggestion.’ You have to learn about your body internally, through primary knowledge, not from reading. Yoga or martial arts will connect you to your internal body. The reality is that you are not connected to it now. That’s not an insult. Awareness of your body would have alerted you earlier in the game that something was going in the wrong direction. The good thing is ‘it’s not 4th and 3’. There is no timer, there are no rules. You may come to an understanding that time is actually an illusion - but in the meantime, if I were in your shoes I’d probably be feeling some pressure from ‘time.’ You can’t afford that pressure though - you have to translate that pressure into sincere study and practice. Those two things in themselves will take care of a lot of physical and mental discomfort.
If you have never been an athlete, hire someone now to get you to a certain level of shape. You must become an athlete (I’m including non-traditional athletic forms.) Focus NOT on strength as much as flexibility (joints first - that is what Akido practice is for - and your kids will love it when their ‘sick’ father can render them helpless with simple wrist grabbing techniques :-))
In short, the West is good at emergency surgery, or fixing a car that has just crashed. The East is better at avoiding the ‘invisible’ conditions that long before any symptoms became apparent, are the seeds of the cirrhosis) or avoiding the car crash in the first place ... or because of the condition of the car, it sustains less if any structural damage as a result of the same crash.
It sounds like with this, the doctors can’t repair anything further - so, the West can’t help you there. But the East can, if you research and don’t buy into voodoo hocus pocus stuff. It can preserve to the greatest extent possible the part of your toxin filter that is working, defend against indirect internal threats. You never know - you may be due to get bone cancer in 2 years, totally unrelated to the liver. By practicing now, even though you will never be able to prove it, you may not only be healing the effects of the liver problem, but preventing something else that would have taken you down very quickly had you not practiced. You will never know that benefit. If that’s true though - then your liver issue has been a gift to you and your family, and you could thank every beer you ever drank.
It goes without saying that any alcohol you take is an act of pouring toxin into a weakened toxin filter, and further damaging it. As a guy who drank hard for a long time - toxin every night, cleaning every day ... I don’t know if you’ve had breaks from drinking ... I had many before quitting for good ... 3 months after your last drink the desire is not great - you just sort of forget about it. I’m not sure to what extent you physically experience the symptoms of the liver issue - and won’t pretend to know anything about coping with those symptoms. Anything you do to step in and lend a hand to your liver through other means leads to a longer life and more quality of life for you and your family. Anything you DON’T do will likely reduce the quality of your life relatively, and further, all you need to do is forget ONE nail on the roof of your factory, and a hurricane could rip the whole roof off in an instant. So don’t bargain with yourself on how much you have to do. Determine what you have to do, and then do 110% of that ... but remember that it has more to do with doing it CORRECTLY than blood sweat and tears. You must ‘become’ health itself, and in doing so, not only will you give yourself and family more of you, but you will teach them the most important life lessons. You may be surprised that you notice a significant amount of physical anxiety drop off - stress/anxiety that for a long time you projected onto the world around you. Personally when I quit I found “oh - woo hoo! 80% of my anxiety has dropped off” in the 3 - 6 month post boozing period.
Understand the concept of ‘awareness’ ... not in the way you teach your kids to be ‘aware’ when they cross or proofread an assignment, but in a meditative/prayer context. (There are now many studies that show meditation altars the structural nature of the brain - i.e. it’s not just pumping temporary endorphins like a good jog, its rewiring the brain) Many believe that meditation, properly practiced as a skill and not a hocus pocus thing ... is THE primary means of strengthening the immune system. Don’t know if it’s true, but it’s likely given what I know. I won’t touch on personal experience with that, but it confirms it pretty strongly.
In short, ‘become’ health - physically, mentally, spiritually. Study the body, the mind, and the invisible. Avoid pop versions of health and seek to come to your own understand of that with a mixture of study and common sense, common experience of the world.
You don’t deserve this, but, it’s in your lap. It’s not a judgement, it’s a circumstance. Study the circumstance, and you will understand what to do. Others suggestions can be input, but if instead of ‘addressing the liver problem’ you instead take a much broader and powerful course of becoming the healthiest you can be, whether or not you have this or that condition ... then the rest of your life is entirely in your power, and it’s not ‘fourth and three’ ... it’s “1st and the rest of your life.” And anything I suggested does not rule out a thousand other things you can gain and experience ... ultimately, the whole game comes down to ‘awareness of yourself’ ... physically, mentally, spiritually.
I almost forgot.
A good vitamin/mineral program with ~Milk Thistle Extract~.
It works! (My MD prescribed it!)
Thanks for posting
Lord your intervention, please, for this man and his family. sounds like you’re getting good advice, here. my general advice is don’t hesitate once you have a preponderance of information. make a rational, but quick decision and then put your faith in our Maker. May God bless you.
As you’ve found out, by the time symptoms like jaundice and ascites show up you’re late in the game.
Most long term heavy drinkers get fatty liver, which is reversible and has no symptoms. 1:4 progress to alcoholic hepatitis, which is reversible and doesn’t produce any symptoms unless its acute. 1:5 of those who continue to drink will get cirrhosis, which isn’t reversible and doesn’t produce really specific symptoms until the damage is extensive and severe.
The liver trust over here reckons that of people who drink around half a litre of 40% hard liquor a day or the equivalent in wine or beer, about 1/3 will end up with cirrhosis after 15 years. You were drinking at levels below this so there is definitely a predisposition factor involved at all levels of consumption.
I’m afraid the bottom line is that if you stop drinking and do exactly what your doctors say you can stabilize and buy yourself some time, but your only shot at having a healthy liver again is to get a new one.
I’d follow your doctors rec’s to the “t” and get on the transplant list ASAP if I were in your spot.
Prayers.... I’ve heard Milk Thistle is very good.
Do not worry, God is watching over you.
You and your family are in my prayers.. God Bless.
I will keep you in prayer for a complete recovery.
A dear friend’s son was in the same situation as you. His son, her grandson, insisted upon giving part of his liver to his father. They went through the process and the father’s condition immediately improved upon the transplant of his son’s partial liver. His son recovered, although not as dramatically. The father has to take the medicine to keep from rejection. He is still here. His son went back to work and his liver regrew. It is amazing!
You’re a good man.
Thank you for sharing.
Hope to meet you one day.
Are you serious? That's roughly 5 ounces of ethyl alcohol. Also, figure on average 150 calories per bottle of beer. That's over 4000 calories a month which translates to 1 1/4 extra pounds every month. That's 15 unwanted pounds in a year's time.
Five beers a day is serious drinking.
You also need to learn symptoms of UTI or kidney infection. Cirrhosis often ends up involving other organs.
If you have not already done so make sure if you need to call 911 you have a list of your medications and that you suffer from cirrhosis prominently displayed for responders.
Talk to your family about any behavioral changes that may happen due to hepatic encalapothy,at your stage this is likely going to happen at some point.
You don’t say how old you are but being in otherwise good health is in your favor.
I’m no doctor but I would bet money that many people with cirrhosis(provided its not TOO scarred up) CAN recover at least partially if they would just become a health-nut over night.
I have a relative who cured himself of diabetes for 20 years by eliminating all sugar and starchy foods. In the end the diabetes came back but he bought himself 20 years of perfect blood sugar levels without insulin by becoming a food fanatic...I mean he would not eat anything unless he knew EXACTLY what was in it and that it contained no sweeteners or grain or starchy substances.
I have another relative who contracted HepC. He became a fanatic as well. He joined a group of some kind. They took classes together. Worked out strategies. He’s in his 70s now and while not exactly healthy anymore, his health issues are unrelated to his hepC. His liver is still fully functioning. 15 years after being diagnosed with hepC(and who knows how long he had it before the diagnosis) it is now looking like he will die of clogged arteries(in the brain) before the hepC gets him. He also has pretty bad arthritis which limits his physical activity.
Fourth and Three: whatever you do, DON’T listen to this person,telling you to limit yourself to acetaminophen only. That is the WORST thing you can do with having liver problems. Taking acetaminophen/Tylenol will further damage your liver. NSAIDS are also potentially harmful.
As for supplements, discuss with your liver specialist before taking ANYTHING. Supplements are not regulated, and depending on where they were manufactured, could contain additional chemicals that are harmful to your liver. Also, people make the mistake of thinking that if it’s “natural”, it’s harmless. That’s the worst trap you could fall into. (not saying that there aren’t supplements out there that are helpful; I’m just saying proceed with extreme caution).
Lord Jesus, be near Thy servant in the hour of his trial.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, amen.
Aspirin is harmful, NSAIDs are harmful, naproxen is harmful, acetamenophen is harmful, it’s a matter of degree. If you want to say take no over the counter pain medication whatsoever, in order to avoid all potential harm then I’d agree with you. If the individual is still drinking alcohol, then I’d even agree with you regarding avoidance of acetamenophen in particular.
However, I hope you’ve read on further into the thread to realize that you are the one going off half-cocked, here.
Try being a little more civil. It will serve you far better than this, whoever the hell you are.
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