Husband just diagnosed with cirrhosis.... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

30,023 members15,368 posts

Husband just diagnosed with cirrhosis. Question about stages.

Jski profile image

So, after FINALLY getting my husband to go to the hospital, he was, in fact,diagnosed with cirrhosis. They have drained 12 litres of fluids from his abdomen so far and there is more to go. His legs are also severely swollen right up to his thighs. My question is, is this possible in stage 1? From what I have read, it seems to me this is stage 3. My husband said that the doctor told him they caught this early. Is that even possible? Won't be able to talk to doctor about his til tomorrow so am now obsessively trying to figure this out before then. I've read so much online I am about to convince myself I have this! (...which, I do not, my liver is fine). What should I be asking the doctors? He "seems" "fine" with not drnking. He doesn't even seem to be going through withdrawal (He has not had a drink since sunday!). Could this possibly be this "easy" for him....he drank heavily, every day for decades. He is coming home from the hospital tomorrow and I just feel like another shoe is about to drop. many questions/concerns/doubts/fears....

18 Replies

X-Drinkers often do remarkably well provided they can keep clean, & early stage cirrhosis (if he is in fact early stage) can usually be stabilized and managed well for 10 years or more before you need to start thinking about a transplant.

Even a board certified hepatologist will have trouble with an accurate prognosis during the acute initial phase of the diagnostic. If his ascites responds well to abstinence and diuretics, a better idea of his prognosis can usually be estimated at around 3 months into recovery.

"Maximum Medical Improvement" usually occurs in 6 to 12 months, & it's difficult to forecast how well he'll be doing long term before then.

Hope he responds well to a little clean living and diuretics.

Godspeed to you both!

Jski profile image
Jski in reply to

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I feel I am learning more from these posts thanked I am from the doctors. I really appreciate it.

in reply to Jski

I'm am so pleased you managed to get him to the hospital and hopefully can be treated for all his needs. Good luck and lots of love to you both

L x

Hi there, it does seem a little odd that after decades of drinking Hubby has absolutely no signs of withdrawal. I know what i went through after i gave up, i,m not suggesting that he,s deliberately keeping anything from you but it is vital that he stops completely and is honest with the doctors. Maybe Hubby is just lucky to have no withdrawals, certainly hope so. Please look after yourself while caring for him , partners of alcoholics often need support and there are organisations such as Al Anon for the friends and families of drinkers who are fantastic sources of advice and friendship. Al Anon are a sister group to AA and the number should be easily available online or via doctors etc for a local group. Best wishes to you both. x ☺

Jski profile image
Jski in reply to moonbeam4

Thanks for the information. I am very apprehensive about him coming home bc he has had absolutely no access to alcohol in the hospital and now will be able to get some anytime he wants. But, fingers crossed bc I obviously can't be with him 24/7 to be his warden.

in reply to Jski

Keep all cash hidden away or locked in a safe. No bank cards left anywhere and all bank accounts in your name only. Sounds harsh but if it's going work you have to take these precautions. Are friends and relatives aware? He may call them asking them to take him to the pub or bring some cans over for him. If he gets desperate he will think of every possible way to get his fix. I sincerely hope he thinks better of it though.


in reply to Jski

Hi there, I have same diagnosis, and had severe Ascites also, having drunk heavily most of my life. When I was told how serious a problem I have giving up came easily. I had no withdrawal symptoms and know I will never be even tempted to drink again given what alcohol did to me. I never drank to get drunk merely socially which escalated when life threw me very bad experiences. The doctors told me I was close to death, and one more drink would kill me. I always think of this and regret drinking what I did all those years. I am 18 months into my diagnosis, was going to go on transplant list [subject to the 6 month alcohol free condition] but thankfully symptoms improved and I am feeling well and showing reasonable test results. For now at least I am progressing well - though the damage is permanent and I shudder to think I may need transplant in future as I love my own (albeit sick) Liver. It may help if your husband is encouraged to speak about his experience and view on alcohol now. I hope my story helps.

Jski profile image
Jski in reply to

Glad to hear you are doing pretty well. Turns out the doctors did not give him any mess at all for withdrawal. He just really didn't have a hard time with it. I am so shocked. But thankfully at least that part was easy for him. Hopefully he will fate as well as you have.

FlashyD profile image
FlashyD in reply to

This sounds like me. I too was told just one more drink and you will be dead. Wake up call I needed. Liver had her bags packed ready to go! 😕 I have severe migraine, epilepsy, pockets of blood and fluids around my brain (it has been confirmed i do have a brain! ) pancreatic cysts and gall stones. Not going to operate on my head or pancreas because of the high mortality rate involved. Apart from that I am so so itchy and my legs feet swelling like it was an Olympic sport! Moan over it am getting support for mentalhealth problems and I am definitely going to live a better life. Good luck with your own life and love to you.

Bachien profile image
Bachien in reply to moonbeam4

hi moonbeam4,

it does not seem a little odd at all. My best friend, who i spend time with 18 hours a day, been drinking since 16, and after of 45 years, quit drink just like that, not even cutting down slowly, but just stopped completely and everyone and i surprised that he had no withdrawal AT ALL. just some information, some fact to share.

wish everyone in here the best


Ah, i hadn,t realised he was still in Hospital, they will be giving him something like valium for withdrawal symptoms. Laura is right sadly and it will be very tough for him to stay clean. AA may be his best chance, they can usually arrange for a lift to meetings for him if needed. A.A also have support groups online now for folk unable to get out. Whatever he does, you must take care of yourself, you have support here now with us, but a group that is locaĺ to you ( the Hospital should have information on local services ) such as Al Anon will be invaluable. You are not alone. ☺😊☺

Jski profile image
Jski in reply to moonbeam4

Thank you :-)

I had no difficulty becoming sounder after diagnosis last year. I figured my being alive after the severe bleeds, was my motivation to not even smell alcohol.

Jski profile image
Jski in reply to Meteocal1

This is what l'm hoping for with him.

my alcoholic father was admitted to hosp in march with his first bout of ascites and jaundice.after 5 days of being in there and being drained of fluid,he came out and gave up alcohol just like that! To my amazement he had no medication in hosp or at home for withdrawal and didnt need it.hes drunk heavily for years but after mum died he drank 1 ltr whiskey at least per day! So from that to nothing was remarkable.....

However, hes been back on the booze after 3 months disasapointed as he was doing really well.hes drinking few cans of lager a day now. Gutted is an understatement!

Good luck with your husband k hope he can get better and stay off the booze x

It's important that your hubby remains alcohol free...ok we know liver cirrhosis is irreversible but by your hubby not drinking will benefit him...if he carries on drinking he could develop osephagul varices ...which are veins ..the portal vein carrying blood through his liver could back up and cause varices ..which if they rupture could be fatal...keep strong ...

I drank cider every single day for about 30 years. Used to walk miles and spend my last fiver to get it. The only withdrawal I had was a few sweats. I now have an orange ice-lolly at 8pm every night which is the time when I used to start drinking. Dont feel I miss it now but have replaced the “self-reward” element of my drinking with my lolly. Good luck with your husband. I know an alcoholic friend of mine replaced his vodka with chocolate. Xx

How long was he in hospital for? They may have given him a medical detox while he was in.

I was in for 10 days last year and all the while they were 'secretly' giving me anti-withdrawal meds and I've never wanted a drink since.

I had tried going cold turkey a few months previous to that and had a seizure because of the withdrawal.

I drank every day for about 25 years prior to that.

I'd ask if he's had a medical detox and if so them what ongoing support he can get.

You may also like...