My Dad

Hi, I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice on what to expect in terms of life expectancy for my dad.

He has been a drinker for pretty much all of his life, cans of strongbow cider being his choice of drink. He use to drink I would say 16 cans a day. My mum used to try and keep his drinking under control and make sure he ate properly but she sadly passed away from cancer 5 years ago and since then he has been drinking more and eating less. He has since remarried but his health has been rapidly declining.,

He has been unwell for a few years now, extreme weight loss, hardly eating, easily bruising, purple skin, excessive nose bleeds where he would have to go to the hospital to get them stopped. over the past 6 months or so he developed more serious symptoms - ascites, swelling of the lower legs and feet, bleeding varisces and blood in stools. He was also slightly jaundice. The more serious symptoms all seemed to happen quite quickly and I know he was putting off going to hospital as he didnt want to stop drinking. Around 6 weeks ago he was finally admitted to hospital. He was in there for a week, medicated and had the fluid drained from his stomach.

I spoke to a doctor whilst he was in the hospital but he had no time for me and just told me his liver is decompensated and he MUST stop drinking. Since leaving hospital, he has stopped drinking completely, the fluid built up again in his stomach but he got some medication from his gp which has helped to reduce it dramatically again. He seems to have got even thinner, he is depressed and complaining of pain in his kidneys and stomach. He does, however, look less jaundice as his eyes are noticeably whiter, whereas a few weeks ago they were quite yellow.

I know I have written quite a long post so thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this. I just wanted to know if anyone could give me any indication of how long he has left. I know no one can ever know for sure but I just want to know what to expect. I have done some reading online and I know a decompensated liver can never return to normal but there seems to be a lot of conflicting info. My dad doesn't really like to talk about whats going on and like I said, his doctor didn't seem to want to speak to me. I just want to know if the end is imminent really or if he could still have years left.

21 Replies

  • if he has stopped drinking and continues to stay of the drink anything can happen for the good my love, if he drinks again,as you say no one can tell how long someone has left for sure as we are not doctors, its really great news that his eyes are noticeably whiter. that means he is getting better. iv read stories on here with people with liver cancer and some horrific illness's but they are well and living because they are looking after them self. so focus on that. its amazing the recoverys of people who have damaged them self with alcohol and the remarkable recoverys when they stop drinking. dont give up hope, sending best wishes to you. love grace xoxoxo

  • So sorry I would call and speak with a doctor nurse or social. Worker they can usually help, hang in there not easy I know.

  • I can't offer you any advice I'm afraid as I'm new to all this but just wanted to offer some support, I am going through something similar with my mum and wanted to say i know how difficult and frustrating it is seeing someone you love going through this. I hope you get some help and the information you need, best wishes to you and your dad x

  • I don't know how old your father is but If it helps I'll tell you what happened to me and it might give you some hope.

    Like you father I Drank steadily all of my life, I'm now 62. I never thought of myself as a problem drinker as I Hardly ever got really drunk and I had a good job for most of my life. However, gradually my intake started to increase and suddenly without any real warning I developed symptoms of a failing liver. Started with my GP noticing my swollen stomach, just like your dad. He sent me to see a specialist who told me I had cirrhosis and had to stop drinking immediately. I sort of took him seriously but kept on drinking but much less than before. Then the deterioration began and I found myself in hospital with an infection caused by the ascites. I was extremely ill and the sepsis could have proved fatal. I managed to recover, but over the next year spent more and more time being admitted to hospital, I then also became insulin dependent diabetic. Altogether in 2015 I spent 80 nights in hospital, getting sicker and sicker all the time. After the first admission I stopped drinking altogether.

    Later the liver transplant team along with the nurse specialist told me that if I didn't attend an alcohol help group I would never be considered for the only hope left, which was a liver transplant. That must be the incentive for your father never having another drink for the rest of his life.

    Thankfully I did begin to get strong enough to go through an assessment for a liver transplant. This was only achieved by total abstinence from alcohol, medication for the hepatic encephalopathy and help from the dietician.

    I Was put on the list for a transplant and two weeks later got my new liver. That was March this year. I'm now fit and well and getting stronger every day. I can say apart from the medication, that I now live a normal life. Even the diabetes disappeared.

    What I'm saying to you is this; You can appear to be a lost cause and getting close to no hope, but it is possible to get the right help and with a lot of self determination with support from family and friends get through to the other side alive and well.

    I wish both you and your father well.


  • Excellent post

  • Great reply.

  • well done and great post to give others hope that it can be done, i wish you a long healthy life, you deserve it. love grace xoxoxo

  • Thank you for your reply, I am really happy for you that things got better and I wish you a life time of good health.

  • Lovely reply Jim full of hope I can only hope I have your determination going for assessment at king's tommorow for 4 days I don't know what to expect but nervous. Annette

  • correction: "Thankfully I did begin to get strong enough to go through an assessment for a liver transplant. This was only achieved by total abstinence from alcohol, medication for the hepatic encephalopathy and help from the dietician, the support of my family and the love of my partner Lucy" (LAJ123)

  • Hi, it is possible for a decompensated liver to recover almost completely but I always think this is dumb advice as it should always go hand in hand with 'if you never drink another drop'

    I know how frustrating and confusing this is for you but the doctors and nurses are not allowed to discuss his case with you without his permission, even if you are his next of kin. Plus doctors and nurses can't answer how long is a piece of string because there is no set amount of time for the condition to progress.

    One thing I would say is that he is showing the signs of severe depression- did he allow himself to grieve properly for your mother?

    As I said above a doctor can't discuss with you but they can listen. If you use the same GP especially, you say that you need to talk about how his condition is affecting you and you can list your concerns. This way the doctors will know what's happening at home and some insight into his case.

    I wish you and your father all the best and a controlled recovery.


  • Im sure youve seen in your research that people can live many years with a damaged liver as long as they are not exposed to things that can harm the liver inc alcohol, some herbal remedies and liver unfriendly antibiotics. And youll have seen that the liver can regenerate, the issue is scaring never goes away so there will always be liver damage. A scarred liver can function and hence your dad sounds like he could be around a long time.

    Lemon juice and hot water is a well regarded liver tonic, drinking it every morning will def help him to recover more quickly.

    Id siggest making an appointment with your gp to ask them for some guidance, they wont speak to you abut your dad but could provide general info.

    Ref his depression, it needs to be dealt with. Could Relate help with some time gor me for your dad rather than specific alcohol support which stigmatises people?

    Good luck c

  • As they told me no one knows how Long they have my husband just came out of a hepatic encephalopathy coma and they still can't Tell me how Long he has Left

  • All the other posts are spot on. If your dad stays away from alcohol he's got a chance if he doesn't then I'm afraid it's a one way ticket

  • My dad too was diagnosed with decomponsated cirrosis. He stopped drinking 6 months and within them 6 months his health continued to fail, it was literally one thing happening after another. The slightest infection would of landed him in hospital he also go HE due to his decomponsated liver and passed away the 3rd of August due to it. The only thing that can help is a transplant but many dont make it that far once the liver has turned decomponsated. To be considered youve to be alchohol free 6months unfortuantly my wee daddy never got the chance because of his HE. X

  • Thank you for replying. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Im so sorry to read this, wrightr444 bless you xxx

  • Thank you to everybody for your replies, I really appreciate it. Transplant has been mentioned and he is seeing his liver consultant again next month. I guess all I can do is wait and see what happens

  • It does not look good , may be a candidate for complete liver failure . He needs to stop drinking for 6 months at least to be even considered for resection. Give him all the support and compassion , make him as comfortable as possible best wishes.

  • Hi, I'm sorry to hear your story but thought I would give you some hope during this worrying time. In 2010 and 2013 I was in exactly the same situation as your dad with liver failure. The first emergency admission I was bloated and completely yellow and spent a month in hospital, then I relapsed with drink and ended up there again. Both times my liver was decompensated. I completely quit drinking, and my liver has been left cirrotic but I am living my life. I am still here to tell the tale. I am closely monitored by hepatologist and have liver scan twice a year. Transplant has been mentioned but the part of my liver that isn't diseased is working ok. Had 6 varicies banded last year. There is hope especially if your dad can stay away from drink. That is the most important thing.

    I wish you lots of kind thoughts for you having to worry and hope your dad's health begins to improve.

    Julie xx

  • UPDATE: Thank you everyone for your replies, much appreciated.

    My Dad is still not drinking but I saw him last week and he is looking thinner than ever, he literally looks like a walking skeleton. He isnt really eating but does have some build up drinks. He also wasnt sleeping but has been given sleeping tablets. He also has purple spots all over his body. He is less yellow though. He doesnt let anyone go to his GP or consultant appointments with him so its hard to know exactly whats going on as he doesnt give much away.

    Anyway, he has told me that he was taking 2 types of duiretics but it was found in a blood test last week that his kidneys were getting damaged by the medication so he has been told to stop taking one of them. Im not sure how serious this is, an anyone shed any light? Is this common and does it mean kidneys are failing?

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