(LONG POST) Update to 35 year old mal... - British Liver Trust

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(LONG POST) Update to 35 year old male with RUQ pain and extreme anxiety.

ledzeppy profile image

Hello again,

I thought I'd give everyone an update as you were very supportive/responsive in my initial post. So yesterday the RUQ pain continued and along with the discomfort I was experiencing confusion, dizziness and swelling of the face. Do to my new-found knowledge of all the things it could be (organ failure/cancer/death) my worry hit a breaking point and I drove myself to the ER after work. After checking my vitals they got me to a room and immediately drew several vials of blood. The nurse made mention they would be doing a CT scan on the pancreas.

After another 15 minutes a different nurse came in and gave me an IV; said some of the bloodwork came back and they would be giving me potassium pills but first needed me to take a GI cocktail. Once the GI cocktail numbness wore off I was given the potassium supplement at which point the doctor popped in...

According to the doctor all my bloodwork came back normal (no need for CT); the only things of note were low potassium, low electrolytes and low sodium. She said the facial swelling (around the eyes) was due to those low levels (this was later confirmed as it went back to normal an hour later) and that the RUQ pain could be due to scarring but also the combination of acid/gas/anxiety (as we all know stress can cause all kinds of problems). Nonetheless she assured me that if something were truly wrong the bloodwork would show it. The recommendation was made to have follow-up bloodwork in 2 days (Already have an appt with my GP) and order additional testing if needed. She also prescribed me something for acid reflux and gas.

Overall the visit relieved my anxiety and I got home in time to see my daughter off to bed. As a bonus my wife who, up until this point, had been the "told you so/you did this to yourself/it's just your anxiety", was refreshingly supportive; which I'm thankful for.

At my doctor's appointment tomorrow I'm going to be completely honest about my drinking (something I've downplayed in the past) and once we get the bloodwork back will discuss additional tests to assess the damage I've done and a health plan moving forward.

In reflection and for fellow worriers in the same place I'd like to offer the following:

1. I've always been a worrier and I know worry and stress can cause all sorts of issues from acid reflux, gas, confusion and brain fog. My anxiety was exacerbated by checking symptoms on the internet; once my mind latches on to an idea it becomes an unbreakable downward spiral.

2. Water consumption. I know I drink a lot of water but when I actually sat down and ran the numbers I drink close to 4 gallons a day. That in itself can cause swelling as it flushes the body of necessary electrolytes. I'm going to add bananas and an occasional Gatorade to my daily intake.

3. Alcohol Withdrawals. I've had night sweats and general anxiety when I've cold turkey'd in the past but never experienced anything like this. The majority of the withdrawal symptoms I've experienced are the same ones listed all over the interwebs. Never paid much attention to it before but they can be down right deadly and should not be taken lightly.

4. Alcohol Scarring/swelling. I've likely caused some temporary and/or permanent damage. I don't know where or the extent but it's real, thankfully it's not life threatening and as many have pointed out can be reversed. I plan to address this in full with my GP.

This entire episode has been eye opening: I haven't had a drink since Saturday and don't intend to anytime soon.

Please, please, please do not reply to this post with:

"bloodwork doesn't catch x"

"my friend's bloodwork was normal but then they did test y that showed he had z and he died 5 minutes later"

Even if it's true anything of that nature will only kick-start my anxiety again.

If you wish to reply I only ask for support, otherwise I hope sharing my experience will at the very least provide anxiety relief to others. As always if you have pain, go to the doctor.

Thanks for reading and your continued support.

-Ledzeppy

8 Replies

I have anxiety on top of chronic Hep B which (as you can imagine) gives me a lot of “pain and weird symptoms in my RUQ” area 😂. All the best to you! Anxiety mixed with other real health condition is horrible so stay strong :)

Way to get after it! You are the one that is going to look out for you the best. I’ve heard other stories about folks ignoring symptoms, and being late getting help. Glad to hear you have some relief😀

Hey zeppy

That’s a really interesting post and has a different take on lots of things. Good stuff and great openness. Good luck!

Miles

Excellent post, thanks Ledzeppy

Do you really drink 4 gallons of water a day? Thats like 32 pints..

Dear Ledzeppy,

I replied to your initial post as I felt an instant 'connection' as had posted a similar story only hours before. I too had immersed myself in searching countless posts/stories/ websites regarding this issue. At the time of replying, although very worried about it all - I was still at a place where I was 'functioning' and hadn't had any alcohol since a week prior. My mental state changed very quickly to the point where I didn't get a wink of sleep on Saturday night (5th Jan) through to Sunday. This resulted in my BP going through the roof and HR was well in to the 100's. Bearing in mind I had been hospitalised in November after a cardiac event caused by extreme emotional stress ( totally unrelated ) and had been told to monitor my BP daily I decided to ring 111. I saw an out of hours GP and 'spilled my guts' so to speak. I told him everything. He listened to my story and was very reassuring, conducted a brief examination whereby he said that my liver wasn't enlarged and that both this and results of recent normal LFTs was a positive. He made notes on my record recommending an US and then possible Fibroscan and told me that I needed to book an appointment with my normal GP to get this sorted. He did of course say to me that my drinking was at a dangerous level to which I replied 'I know - and always have known'.

Although initially reassured by him ( I slept very well that night) and speaking frankly on Monday to my GP who has scheduled the US scan, further bloods and a future appointment I soon fell back in to the trap of going online and reading as I had done previously despite the fact that he had reiterated the out of hours GP's reassurances (he could see from recent blood test results that all appeared to be ok other than being slightly anemic which I had mentioned in my previous post on this forum). Again I didn't sleep at all on Monday night through to yesterday morning and my appetite was all but gone. Bearing in mind I work full-time, have a 6 year old to look after as well all the other day to day normal routine to consider I very quickly realised I was heading towards the same 'downward spiral' as you and how potentially dangerous this can be. I definitely was becoming a 'mess' and frantically called the GP surgery yesterday morning begging for a phone call back from the doctor.

The longer the time went on without getting the call back I could feel my anxiety getting stronger and stronger. Luckily, I did get the call....he was very supportive and again told me he honestly doesn't think that I have anything to worry about ( although he did jokingly tell me that I was jumping the gun and that I needed to 'chill-out'!!). He instantly prescribed me some anti-depressants which I picked up yesterday evening after work and took last night and I slept beautifully I am glad to say.

So like you, my GP and I have a plan with a view to moving forward to address any possible damage that I may have caused. I would like to second your comment about don't post unless you are going to be supportive as the opposite is potentially more deadly than the issue in hand. I stress that if anyone has the smallest inclination that they have the same issue then please please see your GP immediately. You will be surprised how supportive they are - mine said that he sees a lot of stuff in his job and my story is by no means out of the ordinary - he said he sees it all the time.

Finally I would like to just add that despite this manic phase - I didn't touch any alcohol and have no intention of doing so. That said, I am not that naive to think that I won't need maybe some kind of professional support to keep me on the right track. So dearest Ledzeppy - I send you sincere heartfelt best wishes for the future and let's hope that by posting our stories that maybe it has helped someone out there.

My kindest regards 😊 Walnutwhip xx

Hi ledzeppy,

Good to hear that things are looking up for you.

As always it is good to hear that you are taking your own steps to improve things for yourself and thus for your family.

Best wishes,

Mary

Way to go!!! I'm proud of you. As many on this topic know from reading my initial post, I was "off the wall" with anxiety. The support from this group has been GREAT!!!. Keep up and good work and just work hard and eating right, exercising, cutting down on your sugar, losing weight if you're overweight, NO alcohol, and just keep yourself busy and put your faith in God's hands. I still get anxious when my lab values go up, but from this group so many people have the same thing and are doing so well. It's scary when this is all new to you!!! I'm very proud of you and glad you reached out to the group. You had mentioned that you weren't going to have a drink anytime soon. alcohol breaks down into sugars that load up in the liver. I found that when I was drinking in my day, if I went back to even 1-2 glasses of wine when it was my birthday, or Christmas etc I wanted MORE. So, I quickly realized I had to stay away from it. I now drink KUmbucha, it's a probiotic drink and for some reason it takes away that urge to drink alcohol. I have a feeling that your labs in the hospital were low because many people who drink a lot of alcohol don't eat right and they drop their sodium, potassium, and chloride. Plus, you're drinking way too much water. When you pee all that out, the sodium and potassium goes with it. IF, you GP tells you the results of your tests and you happen to have fatty liver, or minimal amount of liver issues, go see a liver doctor. You'll feel a lot better, and you'll rest assured that you liver is being attended to by a specialist. I love my hep doctor!!! It was just as anxiety provoking for me when I was first diagnosed, but this group has helped me a lot. I'm a psych ER nurse, retired now and I'm great with other people. But, boy I can find all sorts of things to worry about and fret over. "Chill" and put your faith in the higher being!!! Keep us posted, OK???

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