hepatitis c and alcohol use

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buffalo_girl
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/28/2010 5:35 AM (GMT -7)   
hello everyone,
I am a 46 year old mother of 3. Have had HCV (genotype 1) since I was 17. Diagnosed in mid 20's. I steered clear of alcohol since the age of 21 but 2 years ago began drinking wine. I tricked myself into thinking it would be ok since I lived all of my adult life with out alcohol and that must count for something. I've been drinking wine and beer on and off for a year and a half. I am scared to death that I have advanced my disease and the guilt that I feel is overwhelming. I have an appt with a gastro on Aug 9th and will get some tests done to see where I am at. I absolutly do not drink anymore and I am not looking for anyone to make me feel better about the poor choices I made over the last 2 years. I just want to know if there is anyone else out there who has struggled with alcohol and hep c and what the effects were from drinking. I am scared to death. How could I ever explain to my kids that I chose wine over life. Also, 2 of my kids are also HCV positive. The guilt is trememdous.
The good news is I still don't have any symptoms, I feel good and am on the right track. I belong to a group called Women For Sobriety, which helps a lot.
confused

worriedgirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1130
   Posted 7/28/2010 7:02 AM (GMT -7)   
my mom struggled with hep c and alcohol and it destroyed her liver even more. the more you drink the more you destroy your liver. its a painful way to die but who knows maybe it wont be so bad for you. maybe you have gottten lucky but you need to stay away of the alcohol.
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
 
"No one really dies because they have loved. Because they love they stay in the hearts of the people they have touched so in that their memory lives on." Ghost whisperer-i know corny but this touched me deep down and i see so much truth in it.


**David**
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 3708
   Posted 7/28/2010 11:01 AM (GMT -7)   
My question is, how much did you drink in those couple of years? Was it a glass or two a day, or were you excessive? Any alcohol is bad for a liver that's compromised with Hep C. You've had the virus quite a while as did I. It took 40 years before I knew I was infected, and I drank, though not a lot. Once I was diagnosed with the disease, I stopped drinking at all. For me, it wasn't a problem.

Post Edited By Moderator (hep93) : 7/28/2010 12:28:02 PM (GMT-6)


hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 7/28/2010 11:25 AM (GMT -7)   

Buffalogirl, welcome to the forum.  I also have hep C and am a sober alcoholic (24 yrs. next month.)  I am glad you are involved in Women for Sobriety.   I had stopped drinking 7 years prior to my diagnosis, but I'm sure it didn't help matters that I drank heavily for 2 decades.  While any amount of alcohol is dangerous to a person with liver disease, obviously the damage will correlate to the amount you drank, as well as how aggressive your hep C is.  You are fortunate if you do not yet have any symptoms.  You didn't mention hep C treatment, so I assume you haven't had any.  You might be interested to know that there is a new treatment in trials now that should be available next year.  It is showing a 70% success rate and is only taken for 24 weeks.

Please do see a GI doc or hepatologist and have some blood work done.  Ask him to do an AFP (alpha fetoprotein) test as well.  That is a cancer marker.   I'd also recommend an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan to check for liver cancer.  Hep C puts one at high risk for liver cancer.  I had it and had to have the rt. lobe of my liver removed (and no, it won't grow back.)  However, I've been cancer free for over 3 yrs. now.

You might want to read the info in the folder at the top of the page entitled Hepatitis Resources.  No more drinking for you, and it's also important that you follow a healthful diet, rich in fresh fruits and veggies and eliminating red meat.

Hugs,

Connie


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


george100
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/29/2010 9:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Buffalo Girl Relax!  It's great you've stopped drinking completely.  I'm not advocating anyone drink a drop of alcohol, but I wanted to relay my experience so you can see moderate alcohol consumption doesn't mean you are going to die of hepatitis C.  I was diagnosed with Hep C in 1991, am 51 years old now and have averaged 45 - 60 drinks of alcohol per month for the past 19 years.  I have over indulged a half of dozen times or so over the past 19 years and had 10 drinks or so (not a good thing).  Not drinking is obviously best, but I enjoy a few drinks and decided to do it in moderation and track my liver health and disease progression.  I have a spreadsheet where I've tracked my monthly alcohol consumption and all my blood work (I do that every 6 months).  I also track on the same sheet my work outs and diet.  I have liver biopsy's every 5 years and my last one has me still at Stage 0.  My plan has been to wait till treatment programs exist that are more successful and tolerable.  Science is getting us close to that point now.  All the experts say don't drink, but I've seen no studies that track moderate drinking.  Most would say, don't drink then.  I'm sure this disease and it's progression is different for everyone.  I would think worry would be worse than the few glasses of wine you've drank.  So you've stopped drinking - now let it go.  That's in the past.  Work out like mad, eat healthy, watch your blood work and enjoy your life.      George1

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 7/29/2010 10:07 AM (GMT -7)   
George, I would say that you have been lucky and it may catch up with you in a few years. It will definitely progress your liver disease. We advocate NO alcohol in here, if you have active liver disease and value your life. I do agree with your last couple of sentences: To let it go and not worry about what she has done in the past and to live a healthy lifestyle today and in the future.


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

Post Edited (hep93) : 7/29/2010 3:18:26 PM (GMT-6)


george100
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/29/2010 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree that NO alcohol is the way to go.  I have been lucky for sure and drinking with Hep C could be like playing russian roulette.  I just wanted buffalo girl to know there are some out here who have drank quite a bit more than her for quite a bit longer and have had no consequence..so far.  Call it dumb luck or genetics.  We know there are many who have not been so fortunate.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 7/29/2010 2:16 PM (GMT -7)   

It seems it would make a lot more sense to quit drinking if you have active liver disease, instead of trying to chart your stability or decline.  You are using that means to justify continuing to drink, which I think is purely delusional.  After I was diagnosed in '93 with hep C, nothing changed for 12 years (although I wasn't drinking); then one day a routine ultrasound showed a 12 cm x 11.5 cm hepatocellular carcinoma.  What you're doing is like saying I should keep on smoking since I don't yet have emphysema or lung cancer.

Liver disease can suddenly take a turn for the worse, as our member David can tell you.  If you should take a nosedive and need a transplant--guess what?  You can't get one unless you have documented continuous sobriety for 6 mos.

As far as treatment goes, there is a new one that should be available in about 6 mos. that adds a 3rd drug.  It is showing 75% success.  But of course you would have to be free from alcohol use to undergo treatment.



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

Post Edited (hep93) : 7/29/2010 9:18:43 PM (GMT-6)


arneeb
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 2350
   Posted 7/29/2010 10:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Mike is dead... he didn't drink for many years... and then binged a few times.. that started the beginning of the end.. even after a shunt was put in he continued to drink until finally he was sober... for the last year and a half ... he never drank much and was sober for years at a time... u drink... u mostly likely die... think that's hard to deal with... trying not breathing that's harder.... 20 more years would have been nice with the love of my life...
There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still... Corrie Ten Boom


buffalo_girl
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/30/2010 7:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much for all your replies. I will be seeing a gastro on August 9th. I'm anxious to get the tests done and know what the exact status of my health is. I had a heart to heart with my HVC 19 year old and told her that I screwed up by drinking, that I had foolisly believed that drinking for a year or 2 wouldn't destroy my liver because I had gone my entire adult life with out alcohol. I told her that I truly believe you can live a long long life with this disease if you don't drink. I'm lucky that she has never been one to party a lot.
George I appreciate your honesty and it does give me hope that I have not "done myself in" by this last year and a half of drinking. I have read all the other responses and understand that drinking can bring me down fast. Having answers on August 9th will be a relief or they will be devestating, either way I need to know.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 7/30/2010 11:26 AM (GMT -7)   

BuffaloGirl, I'm glad you are getting tested.  Have you ever had a liver biopsy?  That is the definitive test to determine the status of your liver.  A CT scan is also a good idea, to check for liver cancer or tumors.  Personally, my blood work has never been a good indication of what is going on with me, so I also have an MRI with Gadolinium every 6 mos.

Do keep us updated.

Hugs,

Connie


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


bleave50
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 9/22/2010 5:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Regrets can be tough, but don't beat yourself up psychologically for things you can't change. In the future though, alcohol abstinance would one of the best things for your liver. As for diet, the thing that works best for me is a low salt, low potassium, low sugar combination of carbs and raw veggies. I saw a nutritionalist a couple years ago who told me to eat whole grain carbs, that were not made from whole wheat. I just found an excellance source of carbs called "quinoa". There are different kinds but the "inca red" is the healthiest. It's gluten free, has 0g saturated fat, only 3g fat, 6g fiber, 1mg sodium, 0 cholesteral, 6g protien, and 31g carbs. It's usually organic and takes only 15 minutes to cook. You may have to look in a healthy grocery store or online to find it. Fried foods should also be avioded. Well, good luck seeing the doctor and remember tell him/her about meds you have been on because they may have raised your enzymes. Feel better soon. 

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 9/22/2010 12:00 PM (GMT -7)   

Buffalo Girl, are you out there??  What were the results of your doctor visit?  Hope you are doing well and not drinking!

Hugs,

Connie


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