Jlg, I'm glad you found us. Welcome. I was diagnosed with hep C in '93 and was followed for years with a yearly CT scan and blood work every 6 mos. The scans came back as "no evidence of cirrhosis." However, I did develop liver cancer and had the rt. lobe of my liver removed in May '07. At that time, a biopsy of the left lobe was done, which revealed "mild" cirrhosis. I'm guessing that would be stage 1. I am seen at Mayo and they never refer to the hep or cirrhosis in terms of stages. I think the most important thing is symptoms. If symptoms worsen, then you know that the liver disease is progressing.
A lot can be done to slow the progression of cirrhosis and liver disease in general. Diet is very important. A diet of mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, with no red meat and low in iron, seems to work the best. Symptoms are treated as they arise. For example, I am on Lasix and Aldactone for edema and ascites. Did your husband undergo treatment for the hep C?
Perhaps you will find more information reading some of the older posts, especially the "education" ones.
Jlg, have you told your husband yet of his cirrhosis? These days, hep C is generally treated with a combination of interferon and ribavirin, known as "the combo." It is usually one injection a week and 2 pills each day.
If you read some of the education posts, you will get a better idea of liver disease and what to expect.
Post Edited (hep93) : 9/3/2008 9:44:38 PM (GMT-6)
Jlg, I know how frustrating and slow the process can be. However, you are doing the right things in being your hubby's advocate. Next time you go grocery shopping, load up on fresh fruit and vegetables for him, as well as good spring water. At a minimum, he should be taking a multivitamin (WITHOUT iron) and 500 mg of vitamin C daily, to make sure his nutritional needs are being met and to boost his immune system. The results will show in his blood work.
Please be sure to let us know how things are going.
Tman, welcome to the forum. PinkGrandma has given you excellent info and suggestions. There is really nothing more that a hospital can do for him right now. The most important thing he can do, if he wants to live, is to stop drinking all alcohol immediately! If he is unable to stop, he needs to go to detox. And I also recommend AA so he will stay abstinent. He may be given Lactulose for encephalopathy and a diuretic for lower extremity edema and/or ascites. He should also be under the care of a liver specialist (hepatologist.)
Jlg, what is that trial med for? Hep C or cirrhosis?
Hi, jlg. Thanks for the reply re: the trial med. After I posted, I felt sure it must be for hep C, as there is no current medical treatment for cirrhosis (as far as I know.) I want to ask my hepatologist about the study drug when I see her on Tues., as I'm still not sure about doing the combo (interferon and ribavirin.) I wasn't able to tolerate interferon by itself when I was first diagnosed back in '93.
In answer to your question, portal hypertension is responsible for esophageal varices and bleeding, so yes it can be a huge complication. Abstinence from alcohol is absolutely essential!
Post Edited (hep93) : 9/5/2008 4:52:47 PM (GMT-6)