Undiagnosed cirrhosis

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New Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/26/2007 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey everybody.

I quit drinking back the first of January because of recurring back pain whenever I drank. I had tapered off considerably since march of 06 for the same reason. Had been drinking 6-8 beers a night since 2000, drank off and on in my twenties (Im 35 now) but pretty heavy when I was drinking, and also drank pretty regular from 16 -21.

In late February I started getting short of breath just climbing stairs. Not long after this started, my heart would pound if I ate more than a handful of food. Had noticed this in the past year after I drank and ate, heart would pound. ? This has progressed to the point that I now feel full and even short of breath after eating just a little food. Have lost about fifty pounds (I was 330). Having bouts of fatigue that seem like they'll kill me, and recently have started getting a real spacey and dizzy feeling that lasts for a few hours. (I am keeping my weight up now) This tends to come on every three days or so. Also have little red spots on abdomen and chest. maybe 8 total. They don't have any spider legs, but do resemble some pictures on the web that can possibly be related to cirrhoses. Don't know how long I've had, but don't recall them being there before. Have also recently been getting pretty good right sided pain that wraps around my back just slightly into the front. Usually only when in bed, seems to clear when I get up and move around. Have some solid stools, some loose that look like I've drank liqueur the night before (sorta biley looking) muscle tenderness, cold extremities, and some odd things going on with my vision. I sometimes have to reread things other times things seem hazy), and an increase in migraines (stress?), Also, my arms seem to go numb sometimes while I'm sleeping. Seem to be able to alleviate this propping them up with pillows. I've been to the emergency room 4 times, seen two docs in one office and another doc in a different office. I've had the following tests:

Echocardiogram - clean

CT of chest - showed possible fatty liver and small hiatel hernia

CT of abdomen - essentially clean (even had old one to compare), nothing said about fatty liver.

Endoscopy of stomach - clean as a whistle, no enlarged veins, no hernia that he could see.

Docs finger up my butt - no large hemorrhoids

Gallons of blood drawn - all within normal ranges except:

HGB - 16.6

HCT - 47.7 (month prior was 50.3)



BILI Total - 1.6

BILI direct - 0.2 (normal)

This third doc I'm seeing is an internist, she drew blood for a full liver panel yesterday (and stuck her finger up my butt. It felt more like the large end of a baseball bat) But told me she didn't think it was an issue with the liver. Now granted, I'm not yellow, and had just showered and was rosy cheeked and healthy looking, but these symptoms are real! What the hell do I have to do and how many docs do I have to see to get a diagnoses in this town? (Roanoke, VA) These symptoms and past history to me all point, or at least should have them looking pretty heavily at the liver. I did mention to her that my wife had tested positive for Hep c antibodies before we were married (10 yrs ago). She seemed interested in this, hopefully shell test for it. I talked to my wife again about it and said that she actually had tested positive for Hep B antibodies. Hope this is same test. Any thoughts on all of the above guys?

Thanx, Mike

Post Edited (1drinktomany) : 5/26/2007 5:09:50 PM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 5/26/2007 5:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Mike, and welcome to the forum. We are not doctors here (well, except for one that I know of), but will just mention that your shortness of breath and feeling of fullness might be congestive heart failure (CHF) or ascites from liver disease. If your wife has antibodies for hep B and C, it means that her immune system knocked out those viruses and they are not active.

I suggest that you see a gastroendocrinologist or hepatologist, and to stop drinking alcohol altogether.

Best of luck,

New Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/26/2007 6:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the response Connie. I haven't drank anything since early January, nor have I had a problem quiting in the past, when I wanted too. I don't have any cravings for alcohol, so I guess I'm fortunate in that aspect, but that doesn't really matter anyway as I've probably stopped a bit too late. My heart is supposedly fine, although I do have a mildly regurgitating aortic valve that showed up on the echo, with normal ejection fraction. To be clear though, were you suggesting my liver might be causing some issues with the heart, or just the ascites?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 649
   Posted 5/26/2007 8:22 PM (GMT -7)   
The right sided pain radiating to the back, feeling of fullness usually with food, but even without, sounds more like a gallbladder problem. You could have acalculous gallbladder disease (infected, but without gallstones) and that can sometimes be difficult to nail down. It usually requires a nuclear medicine test called a HIDA scan that evaluates the gb function and ejection fraction. A poorly-functioning gallbladder can cause the symptoms you describe - even the elevated labs.

Until you know for certain, try to avoid fatty foods and see if the pain and fullness are any better.
Living in the Republic of Texas minus a gallbladder, a couple of cervical discs, appendix, uterus, and 18" of colon; but living with my wonderful husband, 2 dogs, 1 cockatiel, and 2 gold fish. 

New Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/26/2007 8:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, that would be sweet, if I can only get that lucky. I mentioned the idea of gallbladder to doc yesterday, she didn't seem to think was an issue. But then again, she has me set up for a gastric emptying Tuesday, which seems to me to be going in the wrong direction. Who knows. I'm just about willing to roll with anything at this point just to get an answer.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 5/27/2007 5:00 AM (GMT -7)   
No, I wasn't suggesting your liver had anything to do with your heart. Jen is also correct in that it could be a gall bladder problem. Much of the time, it is difficult to make a diagnosis except by ruling out one thing and then another. You could have more than one thing going on, too.

BTW, congrats on your sobriety! I don't think it's ever too late to stop a self-destructive behavior. Although my liver problems started with hep C, I was fortunate to be alcohol-free for 7 years prior to diagnosis of hep C. Otherwise, I doubt I would be here now.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 5/29/2007 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello....if all else fails...ie all medical tests come back normal....maybe you should think about anxiety/panic disorder.

Symptoms (which I have actually had either during a panic attack, or not during one)
Numbness of legs/tingling sensation...sometimes arms too
short of breath
change in eating habits and/or feeling sick or too full after eating smaller amounts of food.
Odd "pains" in my body...sometimes chest...sometimes abdomen...sometimes head...
Disattachment to reality, or a "dreamy feeling"
Vision problems
Cold hands or feet
Hives (sometimes short lived ones, other times ones that last for days or weeks)

The symptoms are VERY real but during attacks or when they are happening to someone with anxiety issues/panic issues, no medical reasons are found and all tests come back normal except you are DEFINITLY having the symptoms and FOR SURE feeling them. Sometimes it seems totally unrelated to a panic or anxiety issue, other times it's obvious i.e. a actual panic attack.

Now by NO MEANS am I saying that this is your issue, or you don't have another different real medical reason for your problems....but just another idea to throw on the pile :| :) I went through this for a year sure I had cancer, diabetes, a head tumor, a million other things before finally being treated and now my attacks are gone and with light medication and other exercises the symptoms are also totally gone.
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