Newbie here - supporting my dad through Cirrhosis

Hi everyone,

I've found this site very helpful so far, reading through people's experiences and how they deal with living with Cirrhosis. Thank you for all for being so open and honest.

My dad was told from his latest ultrasound scan that it suggests he has Cirrhosis, he had an MRI scan last week and we are now waiting for the diagnosis to be confirmed and see what we're dealing with on the 2nd of May - when we see his consultant.

He is so tired all of the time and is constantly in bed if i'm not there to take him our for lunch. Which leads me to his appetite, which is barely exsistent now.

He gets confused really easily and sometimes doesn't make any sense then other times he is very aggressive with how he talks to me.

I now get his wine for him as going to the shop is quite the task and he is currently drinking at least 3 bottle of red wine a day. I have found the extra bottles of white and sherry in the recycling bin as he is living in my grandads house where they have very old booze lying around, so not sure exactly of the amount of what he's drinking.

He has absolutely no interest to stop drinking and I'm just curious to how long that might mean he has? I know that the consultant will be able to tell us a lot more but just feel a little overwhelmed with it all at the moment.

Thanks in advance :)

15 Replies

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  • Hi Bethany, sorry to hear you have all this to deal with. You might want to contact Al-Anon which is a support group for the loved ones of problem drinkers and they will be able to help you with that side of the support you can give to Dad. al-anonuk.org.uk/

    If Dad does have cirrhosis and he continues drinking the quantities he is then he will eventually go down a very slippery and unpleasant slope as regards his health (how long that will be, no one can really say, it can be slow or indeed very sudden). I can't really offer advice about how you can tackle that if he is unwilling or indeed unable to give up his drink. There are members of the forum who have reached rock bottom and managed to turn their lives around and been lucky enough to receive the gift of renewed life through transplant but only Dad can make that decision it's not something that a loved one can make for them.

    Dad's anger could be alcohol related or a mixture of that together with a late stage symptom of cirrhosis which is Hepatic Encephalopathy where toxins build up in the blood stream (as the liver is unable to break them down) and make their way to the brain inducing mood changes, personality changes and many other symptoms.

    Your Dad's doctor should go through all this with you but I do warn you that some medics do give off an air of impatience with drinkers who are unwilling to change (which is sad I know because although it's a habit, perhaps a lifestyle choice initially by the time it reaches a full on addiction it really is an illness which the patient will really struggle to tackle alone without medical intervention). You also may find that some might think that actually you are supporting your Dad in his addiction by going to the shops for his drink ............ what would he do if you were not bringing that in for him?

    Your Dad's doctor should give him guidance on the drinking and have input on helping him to stop.

    If you haven't read them already have a look at the British Liver Trust pages on Alcohol and the one on cirrhosis and it might give you a clearer picture of what might be coming and also provide you guidance to ask informed and pertinent questions at Dad's appointments. I hope you'll be able to go with him.

    britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

    britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

    I do wish you all the best with this going forward but do protect yourself in it all as it might be a very rocky road.

    Katie xx

  • Katie, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for your lovely reply.

    I will have a look into those links and also get in touch with Al-Anon too.

    The last consultant he saw whilst he was admitted after collapsing at work was very tough/straight with him which was really hard for me to watch but equally was really good, sadly Dad saw it as bullying and didn't listen/forgot.

    But again thank you for your wonderful support, it's great to know I can reach out on here.

    I will update after our visit to the consultant on Tuesday!

    Beth xx

  • You are most welcome Beth.

    I think your Dads response to the 'bullying' doctor is pretty common, part of the denial of the problem. I don't know what does impact on a drinker to make them realise there is a problem, some seem to find their way to that point whereas others don't.

    We get lots of wives, husbands, friends, children of people with problematic drinking issues on here and they are all reaching out for that one bit of help, "what can we do to make them realise the harm they are doing to themselves?" & it's probably the one thing we can't answer because the drink will always be more powerful than all the lectures, love, support and pleading that the loved one can do.

    I can't imagine what it must be like to live with that. My hubby has cirrhosis but not due to alcohol and he would do absolutely anything, anything at all to get his life back but there is nothing he can do and it does make me sad when people are in the grip of a drug that is so powerful and so damaging and so all possessing that they can't acknowledge the harm it is doing them (or their loved ones) or they can't or in some cases won't let it go.

    Do look afteryourself Beth as I say and keep in touch, there are many members of the forum who have been where you are now.

    Katie x

  • Thank you so much, I think sadly alcohol will always be his main priority. Thank you for being so understanding given the circumstances.

    So sorry to hear about your hubby, he is very lucky to have you to support him :)

    xx

  • Hi Beth, I can only reiterate what Katie has said.try to remember that drinking that amount is as much of a illness as the cirrhosis itself.i myself can not drink through having liver cancer but I did enjoy a drink so can understand to a certain extent how hard it must be to stop,but he must want to.really feel for you . Good luck huw x

  • Thank you for your kind words! Sorry to hear what you're going though but you sound as if you have lots of strength :) x

  • I have the same issue with my OH, doesn't think he has a drink problem, and you live with the constant fear of another collapse. I have lived with it for 7 years and it has nearly destroyed me. You have to look after yourself and try to separate the disease from the person; it isn't that he doesn't love you enough, he doesn't love himself enough to change. There is little you can do if he is not willing to get help. Accepting that is the hardest thing in the world, bit only once you have done that will you find some peace. Sending you big virtual hugs. Remember the alcoholism is a disease, and I try to think how I would treat him of he had cancer, would I be so judgemental and angry? Possibly not. I also try and remember the really happy times. If you can't forgive him his disease the only one you hurt is yourself.... xx

  • I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through, it really is so very sad that they see how they live as a normal way of life, when it affects their loved ones so much.

    I send virtual hugs back to you too! It takes real strength to continue to support them and your OH is very lucky to have you by his side!

    xx

  • True fizzix, it really is a disease; its very easy for people to be judgmental; and at times it does seem insane that someone would continue to basically kill themselves; and to watch this process is sad and scary. I am currently basically watching this happen too. There is not alot you can do; The strong hold of alcohol just defeats many people, regardless of the consequences.

  • Sorry to hear your experiencing it too but thank you for getting in touch, it really means a lot when you feel a little lost with it all!

  • Thanks Bethany. I hope there might be some positive news on Tuesday. X

  • So sorry you are going through this. The symptoms you listed definitely sound like cirrhosis. I went through this with my dad. How old is your dad? How long has he been drinking?? I know you will find out more at the next appt but everything you said sounds familiar to me. My dad quit drinking and his decline was so sad. Watching him slowly deteriorate, it was so sad. I wish I had more answers for you but they will do a bunch of tests and hopefully be able to tell you more. Here for you if you need to talk, my dad was very aggressive in how he talked to me (not all the time) but sometimes I would have to walk away or crylater on because it was so bad.

  • Thank you for getting in touch Lperica10. So sorry to hear your experiences, sending big hugs!

    My dad is 58 and has been drinking heavily for at least the last 20 years or so, he's lost so much weight in the last couple of months and looks not much more than skin and bone :(

    Starting to feel quite nervous about seeing his consultant this afternoon but I will keep you all posted.

    Thank you again for reaching out :) means a lot!

    x

  • So just to update, my Dad and I saw his consultant yesterday and she was very lovely to me, quite a vague meeting but obviously she suggested he abstain from alcohol which he said he wouldn't change what he's doing as he enjoys it.

    He's lost a stone since his admission to hospital in January (now weighing 8 stone with a BMI of 18) his blood pressure has lowered again 89/56, she noticed the yellowing of his eyes and asked if I had any questions my question was how long do you think he'll be around and she replied saying it's difficult to give a time frame but if he carries on the way he is his liver disease will just get worse and he will die. She ended with unless he changes his mind as would like help to change his ways there is no need to come into the clinic again.

    So I guess it's just a waiting game for me now as he has no intention of helping himself.

    Sadly, I hope its sooner rather than later. I can't stand to see him like this!

  • Blimey, I wonder if this is how my children felt? Makes me feel ashamed. You obviously love your dad...stick with him; it means a lot.

    Warning to others maybe: my health has gone....hoping for transplant....to everyone, your health is the most important thing in your life..if you dont have that, you have nothing.......harsh lesson.

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