Hi, Kemar, and welcome to the forum! You will find a lot of information and support here.
Have you seen a hepatologist (liver specialist) yet? I would recommend it, as anyone with chronic liver disease should be under the care of one. What led to your diagnosis? Were you having symptoms? Are you feeling fatigued and dragged out? Did you have a biopsy? I suspect you have had one.
You are doing the right things thus far. The fact is, you may not be able to return to full time work. I was diagnosed with hep C in '93, though I'd been having fatigue since '91, and never again worked full time after that. Until I received SSD in '05, I worked P/T, with decreasing hours each year. I also have cirrhosis, though a stage has never been mentioned.
Are you continuing to be covered under your medical insurance while you are on medical leave? If so, get as much done as you possibly can while you have insurance.
As you may know, there is no cure for cirrhosis, but there are things we can do to slow down the disease--which you now appear to be doing.
If you haven't read the folder, Hepatitis Resources, at the top of the page, you might want to do so. There's a lot of information in there.
If you have any questions, just ask away and someone should be able to help you.
Post Edited (kemar23) : 1/25/2010 9:22:17 PM (GMT-7)
Kemar, are you going through menopause? I'm thinking that might be the cause of your nigh sweats. I never did have hot flashes, but did have night sweats until I went on hormones (was immediately taken off them when I developed liver cancer.)
Are you on diuretics for the edema? What about Lactulose for the confusion? High ammonia levels can go to the brain and cause those symptoms.
If you have not purchased long term disability insurance, you may not be able to get it now since you have a pre-existing condition. However, you might want to ask your hepatologist if he thinks you should apply for Social Security Disability now. You might be able to stabilize your illness, but it's not likely to get much better. It takes time to be approved for SSD and you don't want to be stuck at some point with no income. It took me 2 yrs. to be approved for SSD, and it was basically for a different medical problem.
Kemar, if you have Long Term Disability, there may be no need to apply for SSD just yet. Read your policy closely, though, looking for any fine print.
With the changes you have made, it's possible you will be able to return to work for a period of time. Your body will let you know.
One thing you should be aware of (and probably are, if you've read many of the posts here) is that if you are referred for a transplant down the road, it's possible that they may require 6 mos. of AA meetings or alcohol counseling. Though you seemed to be a moderate drinker in the past, they would want to give a new liver every possible chance. The more time that elapses between your last drink and the time when you may need a transplant, the less of an issue this becomes. I was already in AA and had been sober 7 yrs. at the time of my hep C diagnosis, so it was never an issue. Also, the hep C was caused by drug abuse in the 60s and I had been free from hard drugs at the time of diagnosis for 25 yrs., and free from recreational drugs for 7 yrs.
Continue to take care of yourself and to become educated on liver disease. Those are the best things that you can do for yourself. I'm also glad to hear that you have a good support system.