First of all, welcome to the forum, 2confused! Baylor has a very excellent reputation. Also, you can live with cirrhosis for quite some time before having complications. Most importantly, don't drink alcohol. NONE. Diet is very important. Stress NO beef, just white meat and fish. Also LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Diet can go a long way in preventing or slowing the progression of liver disease. Also follow a low-salt, low-fat diet.
Cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer, end-stage liver disease (ESLD), and other complications. You may feel "dragged out," no matter how long you sleep. However, by leading a healthy life style, you CAN make a difference. However, if it progresses quickly to ESLD, you may need a transplant. You will learn more at your Baylor evaluation, and also get another opinion.
Good luck and let us know what you find out!
2confused, it's ascites. If it builds up too much, you may need to have paracentesis, which is a draining of the fluid. Many people with advanced disease develop this and have to be drained every week or two. I had it, but was fortunate to be able to get rid of it through diuretics (Lasix and Aldactone) which I still take.
The mental confusion could be hepatic encephalopathy from the accumulation of ammonia in the brain. They treat this with a drug called Lactulose, which encourages frequent bowel movements and removes the ammonia that way.
You might want to do some reading in our Hepatitis Resources folder at the top of the Hepatitis Forum page. The educational topics address some of these issues. It is not strictly for hepatitis. I've really been wanting to get the title of this forum changed to Liver Disease.
For the itching, you can try Gold Bond lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths (look for the oatmeal bath in the bath section of your drug store or supermarket.) There are also some prescription medications and creams that you can request.
Is your specialist with Baylor or will you be dealing with a different hepatologist there?
Post Edited (hep93) : 7/15/2009 7:04:11 PM (GMT-6)
When I was first diagnosed with hep C, I went through all the stages of grief: Disbelief/denial, anger, bargaining with God, sadness, and finally acceptance. I went through that fairly quickly, with the help of AA. When I was diagnosed with liver cancer, I was on antidepressants for awhile, sporadically. I am no longer taking them.
Is your current specialist a hepatologist? That is what you should be seeing.
No he is not. I have been frustrated with him from the beginning. He has the bedside manner of House from the television series. I think that is his role model. Sorry my attempt at humour. Last night my stepdaughter broke down and we had to discuss that I'm not going to die so that really got my emotions all out awake. Very few things in life scare me but this is. I aprreciate the help.. I just had my 4th hepatitis check! No hepatitis.
Thanks again for lending me an ear!
Okay, Sam, be sure to get a local hepatologist ASAP. He can then work with the transplant center. GI docs and primary care physicians are really not equipped to deal with liver disease and all that it entails.