How much damage have we done?

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Carlos
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 480
   Posted 1/6/2010 2:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Please help me try to understand where we are with this disease.  My wife, Ana, has a history of alcohol abuse that spans several decades.  Over the last 2 years she has gone from a strong, vibrant woman to a very weak and frail 70 yr. old.  She has no appetite, has lost a lot of weight, is very weak and has developed a very foul breath.  Ana's lab work has started to show several abnormalities.  Both her AST and ALD are elevated, BUN and potassium are low.  Albumin and bilirubin are on the high side but still in limits. 
 
Ana suffers from serious depression.  The death of a young child and the rape and subsequent suicide attemps by our young daughter have taken a toll.  She was simply never able to put her life back together after these sad events.  To make matters worse, Ana recently learned that she is losing her sight to glaucoma and will be blind in a few years.  She still drinks and has no interest in stopping.  In spite of her disease, Ana is the best mother and best wife anyone could ever have.   I still  hold out hope that she might want to stop before it is too late.   Can you help me understand where we are with this disease?
 
Carlos
 
 

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 1/6/2010 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   

Carlos, hello, and welcome to the forum.  I am sorry that your wife is suffering from the effects of long-term alcohol abuse.  It's strange, but when people are depressed, they tend to reach for something that depresses them even more:  alcohol.  Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so while she may feel a temporary lift in mood, the "crash" will be worse than she was originally.  Then you add on the physical effects and it's not a pretty picture.

Has your wife been evaluated by a hepatologist?  If not, that might be something to have done, to determine just how much damage has already been done to her liver and other organs.  I also suggest you read the information in the folder, Hepatitis Resources, at the top of the page.  It is not just about hepatitis, but other forms of liver disease, as well.  Some of the older posts regarding alcohol will also be informative.  But it will take a physician's evaluation to determine the exact extent of her physical problems.  If she is not on antidepressants, she probably should be, so evaluation by a psychiatrist would also be something to consider, although a primary care doctor can also evaluate depression and prescribe for it.

Hugs,

Connie


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


Carlos
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 480
   Posted 1/6/2010 4:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Connie,  Thanks for your reply.  I guess there really is no way of knowing if Ana has hepatitis, cirrhosis, or anything else unless we go to a specialist.   Ana did enter a rehab facility in the mid 90's and was treated by an addiction specialist.  Her blood chemistry was considerably worse back then but her liver function appeared to return to normal about a year after she stopped drinking..  She also started antidepresents after she finished rehab.  The next five years were wonderful.  But,  Ana started drinking again after Y2K and it has been downhill ever since.   Getting my wife go to any doctor (except her eye specialist) is a major undertaking.   Her mind is still very clear and I have been married to her long enough (51 yrs) to know that nothing will happen unless she wants it to. 
 
Thanks for your kind words. 
 
Carlos

allie2631
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 313
   Posted 1/7/2010 2:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Carlos
What a terrible thing for a family to have to suffer. I am truelly sorry for you. I cant imagine the pain you and your wife must be going through trying to cope. drink yes its a vicious circle-you drink to blot out all the pain and unhappiness, but as Connie says it only numbs it for a while and then pulls you down even further.
Getting her to the right specialists definately is a start for her, she needs to feel better within herself before anything can change. it is amazing how much damage you can do to your liver and it recovers. professional help might give you a light at the end of your tunnel, they might give your wife the strength to fight and a reason for living again.
you sound as if you are a strong, remarkable man who has been through a lot yourself with your daughter, now your wife. Things can get better. Don't lose hope

Carlos
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 480
   Posted 1/7/2010 3:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Allie,  Thank you very much for your kind thoughts.   I appreciate the comments from both you and Connie.  It really helps me because I don't have anyone else I can talk to about these things.  Ana's first appointment is with her opthalmologist in a couple of weeks.  Wish us luck.  She has already lost all of her vision in one eye but the other is still in decent shape.  Ana made it clear to me that she would much rather be dead than blind.  Life can get so complicated can't it.  It's difficult to just let go but perhaps that is best. 
 
I found a nice quote by George Eliot that might explain why it has been so difficult to let go.  "What greater thing is there for two human souls that to feel that they are joined...to strengthen each other...to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories."
 
Carlos

allie2631
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 313
   Posted 1/8/2010 1:06 AM (GMT -7)   

it will be hard when you are by yourself, trying to cope. But everyone is her for you. This forum has been a godsend. You can vent out, cry if you like, anything that helps you deal with your emotions.  Somebody might have been through the same or similar , they might be able to help, even understand some of the pain you are going through.

It must be awful trying to deal with losing your sight alone, they do say that all your other senses become more aware, again people who have been through losing their sight, how did they cope, was there anything that made life easier for them? there should be specialists in this field that can help guide you both through this traumatic experience.

I love your quote, but maybe its not your time to let go!!!

 

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