worried about mother

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amberlight
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 3/31/2008 12:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Almost two years ago, my mother (now 77) was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver after an sudden and dramatic episode of esophagal bleeding. She had no symptoms prior to that, apart from osteoporosis and a bit of fatigue, both of which we put down to old age, so we were very shocked.
 
Mom has never been a drinker, and the doctors are unsure what caused her cirrhosis.
 
She has been relatively stable since her diagnosis, and has been having followup appointments to check for esophagal varices and to put bands on when necessary. At her last appointment (July 2007) she needed no bands, and her most recent bloodwork tests (October 2007) were within "normal" limits for someone with her condition, except for a low platelet count. The only medication she is on is beta-blockers for portal hypertension.
 
This past week, however, she has been feeling "lousy" (her word) with a very poor appetite, no energy, some flu-like aches and pains, and dark urine. She has had short bouts of this before, but not lasting this long. She has been eating better the last couple of days, but is still complaing about feeling tired and rotten and having dark urine. She has a doctor's appointment scheduled for next Monday, but needless to say I'm worried sick that it might be her liver finally beginning to fail in earnest.
 
This started without warning the morning after Easter Sunday dinner. She actually had a similar bout the day after Easter last year, but she was okay after a day or two. (We think that bout was caused by drinking coffee that was too strong.) I am wondering if this has something to do with eating holiday meals and upsetting her liver with rich food. We had ham for supper last Sunday, but she only had a very small piece...but she also had a piece of lemon pie for dessert, and other things we don't normally eat, like asparagus.
 
Can anyone shed any light on what might be going on? Having to wait a whole week for her to see the doctor is going to wear me down. I'm ten times more worried than she is...but then I simply cannot bear the thought of losing her.

1Shelly1
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Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 502
   Posted 3/31/2008 12:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Amberlight and welcome to HealingWell. I am so sorry that your mom is suffering with Liver disease. Is your mom seeing a Hepatologist for her condition or an internal medicine DR? Either way I would suggest that you call them and tell them she is feeling sick and needs to be seen earlier. With liver disease it can be a little tricky deciding what may be causing these "flareups". Some things just set the wheel in motion for one person but not the other. If you read some of the earlier posts you can learn alot about what can and cannot affect people. It will also give you insight into what to look for as far as symptoms and treatment options. Have they assessed her ammonia levels at all? They may need to check her labs as she could be having a encephalopathy episode. There is a lot of info in previous posts about it. Keep us posted.
 Shelly
 

“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

 


amberlight
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 3/31/2008 1:40 PM (GMT -7)   

Many thanks for your encouraging comments, dansbrother. Mom has no confusion...in fact, her mind is sharper than a lot of people's her age. And she has not been complaining about swollen ankles. She also has a good attitude and never gets into a state like I do, so that is probably also in her favor. 

Maybe I am over-reacting...I have a tendency to push all the panic buttons when someone I care for shows any signs of illness. I've lost count of the number of times I've made myself literally sick with worry and then been proven wrong, so you'd think I'd learn my lesson. Anyhow, I am hoping and praying that this bout will ease off and she'll be OK again for awhile.


Pink Grandma
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 3/31/2008 5:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Amberlight, Just want to welcome you to HealingWell. Can't add any advice to what Shelly and dan'sbrother has already given you. Just hope that your mom starts feeling better soon.

Take care.......
Pink Grandma
Forum moderator-Hepatitis

When the going gets tough....the tough get going! Don't always know where I going but I get there anyways.


amberlight
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/1/2008 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks to everyone for your helpful and compassionate responses!

I agree about the Internet, dansbrother -- sometimes too much information is worse than not enough, especially when so much of that information is conflicting. I have actually stopped looking up informaton about cirrhosis on the Net as it just made me feel ten times worse.

I don't know how much of Mom's liver is still functioning, but I do know that it is a very resilient and forgiving organ, and that people can actually have liver damage for years and not even know it because they have no symptoms.

Mom is gradually feeling a little better, and actually went grocery shopping this morning. She still feels "blah" and is having dark colored urine, but her appetite is slowly returning. I know that she can't ever be completely normal again, but as long as she is functioning I guess that's something to be grateful for.

Thanks again! :-)


1Shelly1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 502
   Posted 4/1/2008 8:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Amber, I'm glad that your mother is feeling a little better today.

 Shelly
 

“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

 


amberlight
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/1/2008 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks, 1Shelly1!

I have another question for anyone who might know the answer. What is the difference between fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. When Mom was first diagnosed, the specialist told her she had fibrosis of the liver. Is there a difference, or is it just two names for the same condiiton?


1Shelly1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 502
   Posted 4/1/2008 7:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Amber, Fibrosis is a predicessor to cirrhosis. The fibrosis happens when the liver is damaged and starts to over produce collagen cells which causes mild to medium type of scarring. As time goes on the fibrotic tissue adheres to other tissues of the liver and the person now has Cirrhosis. Chirrhosis is a more severe type of scarring of the liver and far more damaging. There are 2 types of cirrhosis, #1 is compensating cirrhosis. This means that the liver is badly scarred but still able to do what it was designed to do. #2 is decompensating cirrhosis. Almost self explanitory by it's name it has lost most of it's ability to do it's job because of the severity of the scarring. As a result of #2 the person has portal hypertention, severe acites, kidney problems, etc., etc. It is all a process and one can follow the other. I hope this helps you to understand the difference.

 Shelly
 

“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

 


amberlight
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/1/2008 12:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the clarification. This is a very confusing disease all round and it's hard to make sense of it all, especially as different people seem to move through it in different ways and exhibit different symptoms at different stages.

1Shelly1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 502
   Posted 4/1/2008 1:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Amber, the liver is the most resilient organ we have. It will try to work right up to the end. As far as understanding all the information there is believe me it is too great a task. Understanding the basics and getting familiar with the lab tests and treatments is enough. Anything other than that you have a wealth of knowledge available for specific questions you may have. The internet has an abundance of info and it is a great resource for everyone. Although I am a strong advocate of educating oneself, I also know there are limits because of TMI. Absorb what you need to and let the rest go. You can always research again on a needed basis.

 Shelly
 

“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."

 


amberlight
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/1/2008 1:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again for your comments. I am trying to teach myself to live a day at a time, give thanks for and enjoy the good days, and not to look ahead to the future. I know that thinking about what might happen, and when, is self-defeating and only generates more fear and anxiety -- especially as I really have no idea that the things I am worrying about will happen the way I think they will. It's not easy, but I'm working at it.
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