Hello, country boy, and welcome to the forum! I did some reading on the GGT elevation for you and it could be a result of alcoholic liver disease. If you drank heavily for 15 yrs., it is going to take approximately 15 mos. for you to recover from the damage and to give your liver a chance to regenerate. I drank heavily for about the same number of years and can tell you that the first year sober I was in a fog. I was 43 when I stopped drinking. Since you are even younger, you will probably recover from the damage you've done in time. I assume you were tested for hepatitis?
Since you've had blood work and a nuclear scan which all were normal (except for the GGT), there's really nothing more diagnostically that can be done except perhaps for a liver biopsy.
Alcohol has a lot of calories and sugar. Since you are no longer drinking, you may need to increase your caloric intake dramatically to gain some weight. However, it's healthier to be thin than fat, so count your blessings. Also, as we age, most people tend to gain weight. I know I struggle to keep my weight down now, when for most of my life I was about 100 lbs. fully clothed.
Just try to be patient and give yourself time to recover. You are doing all the right things (except for smoking.) BTW, if you give up cigarettes altogether, you will probably gain a few pounds, too.
Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Country Boy, I had a nuclear scan to rule out bone cancer. Did they say specifically why you were having one? You can push for a CT scan if you want to. Be sure that it's with contrast and looking specifically at your liver.
Do you know that hep B and C were definitely ruled out? Also, after you've been drinking such a long time, you now don't have a "buffer" against your feelings and they are right on the surface and very raw. You also have no coping skills. Alcohol was how you coped. For that reason, I really recommend AA. The Steps give you the skills you need to "live life on life's terms." That is the whole purpose--not to learn how to stop drinking (you've done that) or how to drink like a normal human being (you can't!) You also have a safe place to explore your feelings and lay them out on the table, and get some positive feedback, instead of just exploding and making people mad.
Countryboy, I am absolutely thrilled at your turnaround! Also very glad that you tested negative for viral hepatitis. Just keep going and you will recover your health completely!
Rick, see? I told you you are an inspiration!
Rick, if you're bored you can come on down here and help me!
Welcome, Divenut and RingofFire. Ring, when I saw your user name, I was wondering if you liked Johnny Cash or maybe Adam Lambert who did a rather strange rendition of Ring on Season 8 of AI.
To both of you, congrats on stopping drinking. That is the single best thing that anyone with liver disease can do. Divenut, your praise of AA makes me think that you know something about it personally. And AA teaches you how to live sober, one day at a time and one step at a time. Aug. 1st, I will have 23 years sober, so it certainly worked for me....and many thousands of others.
Diet is also very important. Low-sodium, as you know, but also lots of fresh fruits and veggies and no beef! Paying careful attention to your diet, taking meds as prescribed, and getting plenty of rest will go a long way towards slowing the progression of cirrhosis, Ring.
Martin, I'm really sorry about your brother and his refusal to get help. As you know, there is really not a thing you can do.
We are glad to have you both here!
Post Edited (hep93) : 7/29/2009 2:30:09 PM (GMT-6)
Rick, all you have to do is think it through when you get the thought of drinking. Think it all the way through. I don't know about you, but I was never able to have just one drink. And with this liver disease, just one would do a lot of damage...and set you way back with your transplant listing. You are too honest these days to not disclose it if you drank--plus it would probably put you in the hospital! That's what I mean by thinking it through. We have been given a second (and in my case 3rd) chance at living. It would be a slap in the face of God to drink. What you have is a healthy fear...and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm afraid if I drank again I'd never get sober...and would certainly die of liver failure. I have only to read the posts about loved ones who are still drinking. What an awful way to live...and a horrible way to die.
Congratulations, Martin, on your 5 years! You are right-it IS a choice. And you spoke very wise words. AA's definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That is what is happening with your brother and many others who continue to drink in the face of past experience with alcohol.
Thanks, Martin. The 12th Step takes many forms.
Ring, that is good news that you are continuing to improve. When you go to AA, be sure to get some phone numbers. If you hear a couple of people share and you like what they have to say, get their numbers...preferably people with a minimum of one year of sobriety. And then call them when you feel the need to drink...or even just to talk in between meetings. Also, if you go to a meeting held at an AA club, see if you can purchase a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous--referred to as the "Big Book."
I'm moving on Mon., but hope to be back on line within a few days of that, and will be eager to hear about your first meetings.
Thanks for the advice about contact phone numbers and book at AA, every bit could do nothing but help; does the fear of the bottom falling out one day heathwise every subside?? I don't know if I woke up one day and was weakening as far as my walking and energy goes that I have enough in me to pick it up and start again and again, since being hospitalized and twice referred to as 'terminal' in one almost 3 month stay. The good news is that all the changes over the summer have eased my growing depression from my separation from my wife. She could use AA herself, but will not yet accept that she also has a severe drinking problem. Hopefully the fact that she is now pregnant (not mine), I was still in the hospital when she told me about it...I don't mind her cheating on me; I only wish that now that she is carrying her unborn child to term that it will sober her up for good, so that she may live a happy and healthy life. Good luck moving, let me know how it went when you get settled in.
Best to all,
Richard, I am thrilled that you got a Big Book and are actually reading it. It is one of those books that you are going to refer to again and again...not just read once and that's it. Once you finish that, you might want to get 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. It goes into detail on the steps and traditions. To start your day off right, a meditation book, such as 24 Hours A Day, is a mainstay for me. I'm sure you are seeing yourself in other people's stories in the book, as I did.
I can clearly recall about 6 mos. into sobriety, when things were going well--great new job, new friends, etc. But I felt like I was waiting for something bad to happen. Well, eventually it does. So I've learned to just take the good days and relish them, as Rick said, and that will give us positive input to hold onto when rough times come. In the Bible, it says "it came to pass." It doesn't say "it came to stay." Thus, the saying "This, too, shall pass." It takes a very long time to regain the trust of family and friends. While 3 months, 6 mos., or a year of sobriety may make us definitely feel like changed people, it takes longer for others to see that we are serious about sobriety and can be trusted. And who can blame them for feeling that way?
Rick, I think you have learned that you can trust yourself more than you thought you could. There have been times in my sobriety when I just repeated the Serenity Prayer over and over to get through situations, etc. I think you are going to do well, both physically and with your alcoholism treatment.