husband diagnosed with cirrhosis

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Butterflythree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 954
   Posted 10/3/2007 8:11 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband was diagnosed with cirrhosis approximately one year ago.  He has complications such as portal hypertension, edema, ascites, varices.  His last meld score was 15.  He is very forgetful and at times seems confused and sleeps alot.  He is also on medications for pain, anxiety, and depression, so I am unsure if liver disease is causing the mental impairment or if it is all the medication he is taking.
 
I have been trying to find out just how advanced the disease is.  The doctor's never give a straight answer. 
 
He was diagnosed with hep C approximately 13 years ago and had biopsies done every few years.  I'm having trouble understanding how it can be as advanced as it is when there have never been indications in the past.
 
I just need to know what to expect.  Can anyone help me?

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 10/3/2007 8:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Butterflythree! Welcome to the forum! The mental changes you are seeing are most likely the result of high amonia levels. I also have hep C, diagnosed in '93, but contracted in the late 60s. Symptoms are not seen for decades. I had blood work done every 6 mos. and an ultrasound of the abdomen once a year. Everything always seemed stable, until about 2 yrs. ago when a very large tumor was seen in the rt. lobe of my liver. It turned out to be cancerous, and I have been through treatments and surgery to remove the entire right lobe of my liver. After surgery in May, my surgeon said I was free of cancer. I have a half-dozen scans being done on the 18th and 19th, which will let us know my current status. The surgeon biopsied the left lobe of my liver during surgery. I was found to have mild cirrhosis. So far, I'm doing okay, but if the left lobe develops cancer I would need a transplant. The only thing that can be done for cirrhosis is to abstain from alcohol entirely and eat a diet low in protein and high in complex carbohydrates (i.e., potatoes, fresh fruit, pasta.)

The reason doctors are reluctant to say much about the progression of the disease is that every liver patient is different. It is nearly impossible to predict how much time a person has left. Does your husband take Lactulose? That is what is usually given to combat the mental changes.

Butterflythree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 954
   Posted 10/4/2007 3:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you hep93 for replying to my post.  My husband is currently taking lactalose.  He doesn't like taking it, so I don't think he takes as much as he should.  Also I would like to make a correction to my previous post.  My husbands meld score is 10, not 15.  We were told when it reached 15 they would do a work up to get him on the liver transplant list.  What you and a lot of the others here are going through seems like so much more than we are at this time.  I am just afraid of what the future holds.  I don't even like thinking about it.

Butterflythree
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Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 954
   Posted 10/4/2007 3:46 PM (GMT -7)   
hep93, I also wanted to tell you that you will be in my prayers that all your scans come back ok.

Pink Grandma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 10/4/2007 9:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome Butterfly3, you found the right forum. There are an awful lot of nice knowledgeable people here. You didn't mention if your husband drinks or not. But it is very important that he doesn't drink any alcohol at all. The hep C is doing enough damage already. It is also very important for your husband to continue to get his CT scans every 3-5 months. Make sure his doctors orders it and get the preauths from his primary care physician. My husband developed cancer in the liver due to his hep C and cirrohosis. We had no idea that it was even a possibility. Everyone has trouble with lactalose. It's a nasty med. Ask his doctor about Xifaxan. It's a pill for keeping down the high ammonia levels. Some take it alone without having to take the lactalose while others have to take it along with the lactalose. Diet is very important. Fish,chicken,beans,peanutbutter,pork are easiest for the liver to process. Red meat is alot harder. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Low sodium is also advised due to the water retention. You have to be your husbands advocate. Get on first name basis with his doctor's office staff and lab folks. They will be instrumental in getting everthing ordered and done in a timely manner. It's is a hard road that you and your husband are on. But we are here anytime you need support or have any questions. Take care of your self too. Pink Grandma

Butterflythree
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 954
   Posted 10/5/2007 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Pink Grandma,

My husband stopped drinking when he found out he had cirrhosis (to little to late). I begged him for years to stop. Especially after we found out he had hep C.

Thank you for all the info. It will be very helpful.

I am a grandma myself. My first grandchild was born June 4. He is almost the only thing that keeps me smiling.

Pink Grandma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 10/5/2007 5:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Congratulations on being a grandmother. It was my two granddaughters that helped me get through it. They were also very good for my husband in moderation of course. Well if your husband stopped drinking when he was diagnosed with cirrohsis than he has one up on my husband. Mine kept drinking until he had his 1st encephalothopy epizode. I like you I kept after him to quit.... but he wouldn't listen to me. ( What do wives know anyway?)
Hang on to your grandson when times get tough. If that doesn't do the trick just come back here and vent. All of us here have been there done that so we all understand. :-) Pink Grandma
Pink Grandma
Forum moderator-Hepatitis

When the going gets tough....the tough get going!

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