MIL has cirrhosis. Is this advanced or just starting?

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mamabear38601
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/3/2009 1:44 PM (GMT -7)   
My MIL is currently in the hospital and we found out yesterday that she has cirrhosis. She has been an alcoholic for 15 years. A couple of weeks ago, we couldn't get her to stay awake, her BP was way down and she was confused. She refused to go to the doctor until yesterday when my husband and his dad phyically carried her to the car. Her ammonia levels are 139, she is completely out of it mentally, and they've found a huge bleeding ulcer in her stomach. They are testing it for cancer now. She was given 2 units of blood last night and they were gone this morning. She is vomiting as well, some of it bloody. I have thought for awhile that she had cirrhosis but she denied anything and attributed her health problems to diabetes, which she also has. Her ammonia levels were 84 last night, but have increased to 139 today, despite being given lactulose.
 
I have done some research online and it appears that these are the severe symptoms of cirrhosis, and it sounds like she's in an advanced stage. In your experience, is she close to the end or do people come out of this? Thanks so much.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/3/2009 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   

Mamabear, welcome to the forum.  Unfortunately, it sounds like your MIL is in an advanced stage of liver failure.  Cirrhosis is not curable.  As you have mentioned, the high ammonia level will make her very confused and "out of it."  They may have to increase the Lactulose.  I suggest that you read the info in the folder entitled Hepatitis Resources, at the top of the forum page.  There is a lot of good information in there on liver disease and it's signs and symptoms, including encephalopathy (from high ammonia in the brain.)

I also have cirrhosis and hep C.  However, I've never had encephalopathy or esophageal varices, which can also cause one to vomit blood and is potentially life-threatening.  Since she hasn't been sober for 6 mos., she would not be a candidate for a liver transplant, even if they stabilize her.  It's really impossible to say how long she has left, as it depends on many factors.  Some people last a lot longer than originally predicted, while others go faster.  That question is also addressed in the Hepatitis Resources folder.  It's also more of a challenge when a liver patient has diabetes.

Hugs,

Connie


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


DTM
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 11/3/2009 7:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there. My Dad was diagnosed with Cirrhosis a year ago May. He was hospitalized for about 2 weeks with bleeding varices and was completely out of it. He then spent 2 weeks in a physical rehab to get his strength back. He did really well for about a year but then he started drinking again and it started to go down hill fast. He is starting to sleep alot, is jaundiced, has ascites (stomach extremely swollen with fluid retention). At this point I don't think my dad can quit drinking. He has non-diabetic neuropathy and is always in lots of pain. He drinks to feel better but it really is the cause of his feeling worse. I think the take away is that with abstaining from alchohol and good diet they can sometimes regain a quality of life. Take care, it is hard to see someone you love experience this disease. Donna

worriedgirl
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Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1130
   Posted 11/4/2009 12:41 PM (GMT -7)   
my mom also has hep c and cirrhosis and is also a alcoholic. she claims she isnt drinking but she is lying to my cousin and hanging out with a woman i know that drinks and so i do suspect she is drinking again although i have no proof. i know what you are going through and it is tough and you have a long battle ahead of you. dont take any mean t hings to heart, and i know she may say them as does my mom, but know this is not your fault and just try to stay sane and take one day at a time. BTW if i do find out my mom is drinking again, even so much as one beer i am cutting her out of my life for good. i am her caretaker and if she refuses to listen to me i am not going to sit and watch her die because she is wanting to drink.
The only person who can make you happy is you. Be your own self and love who you are because each and every one of you are wonderful for who you are


mamabear38601
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/10/2009 1:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, they sent her home from the hospital a few days after I posted, she did okay for a couple of weeks. She has completely stopped drinking, and the encephalopathy has stopped for the most part. But in the past week, she 's gone downhill fast. Fever, vomiting, a little confusion, decreased kidney function, lots of pain. She hasn't been out of bed since Saturday, except for just a few minutes at a time. I can hardly understand her when she talks, because she slurs so much. Her voice is so weak.  She's lost 25 pounds since Nov. 4th. That can't be good. She will not go back to the doctor or hospital. I'm thinking it's only a matter of time, but I never thought she would come home from the hospital the first time.  I know she's not having BM's frequently, so the ammonia levels will probably come back up soon. I hate seeing her like this. She is 51 years old and looks every bit of 75, and an unhealthy 75 at that. It's unreal how fast she's gone down since Oct. 25th, when we first noticed her acting strange. I really believe she's had this for years and either knew and wouldn't tell it, or didn't know it. I think the 1-5 years they gave her when she left the hospital were for an early diagnosis and that she is nearing the end of that timeframe. I hope I'm wrong. But in a tiny way, I wish she could be at peace. She is in agony and helpless.

Affected by Disease
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 12/10/2009 2:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I am sorry to hear about your MIL. My prayers go out to you and your family for peace and understanding. It is extremely difficult to watch someone you love hurt themselves to the point of no return. Make sure everyone is open with there feelings and getting them out as much as possible. No one has to be a hero everyone deals with the pain differently. My mom is battling for her life with end stage liver disease cirrhosis and i have felt all every emotion possible except loss. Good Luck.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 12/10/2009 2:44 PM (GMT -7)   

MamaBear, I'm very sorry to hear that your MIL is in a downward spiral.  It does sound as though she is nearing the end, and undoubtedly has had liver disease for years.  Who is caring for her at home?  Does she have a follow-up doctor visit soon?  If so, you might want to go with her and ask the doctor about hospice care.

Hugs,

Connie



hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Post Edited (hep93) : 12/11/2009 3:38:11 PM (GMT-7)


mamabear38601
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/11/2009 11:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Right now, she is still caring for herself when possible, otherwise, my husband is there during the days, since he works at night. My FIL of course helps her the rest of the time. She has an appointment on the 18th, but doesn't want to go. She is very adverse to hospitals and doctors and has never done what she was told until now. Hopefully she will still go to the doctor. I am sure my husband or my FIL will go with her, as she is too weak to drive. I can't believe how she has gone down in the last week! She looks so gaunt and weak. She speaks in a monotone and has no emotion on her face, except for maybe fear. Her smiles are weak and she just stares at my children like she doesn't really know who they are. Her speech is a bit garbled at times, and she isn't really coherent today my husband says. She has always been very stubborn and a fighter so I can't imagine what she is feeling. She has to know in her heart that the end is near, doesn't she?

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 12/11/2009 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   

She probably knows that she's not doing well.  There could be a bit of encephalopathy, too.  Hopefully, she will keep her doctor appts.

Hugs,

Connie


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


Pink Grandma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 12/11/2009 4:47 PM (GMT -7)   
(((oh mamabear))), I am sorry that you and your family are dealing with this . It's a hard row to hoe. My prayers are with you and your family.

Thoughts and prayers.........
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.

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