Alcoholic Liver Disease recovery progress - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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Alcoholic Liver Disease recovery progress

Hi all,

In mid 2018 I was diagnosed with stage 4 liver failure, caused by alcohol abuse, with ascites my main decompensation.

Since then, I have abstained from drinking and followed all instructions and medications as directed by my liver team, enduring the "diuretic dance" every night, as I called it. Christmas and New Year without alcohol was my lowest point, but I got through it. Slowly but surely, my blood tests showed a gradual improvement in liver function. My appetite gradually returned, and I started to put on some of the muscle mass that my liver had eaten.

Yesterday I saw my consultant, I was expecting news of more slight improvement, and be told to "keep up the good work". Instead, he announced that I have recovered to normal liver function, and my ascites is gone! I still have a large hernia and must stay on the diuretics for 6 months to ensure there is no return of the ascites, but he said I can now think about returning to work.

However, I wonder why I am not feeling the expected elation and sense of achievement that this news should bring. I am nervous, about getting back to "normal" life, and living again. I have hoped for this moment so much, but I feel rather unprepared now that it has suddenly landed. I tell myself it is a brief period, adjusting to a different mindset from the "recovery bubble" I have been in. I wonder if anyone else can relate to these feelings?

I want to thank everyone in this group who has shared their knowledge and experience and support. It has been invaluable in my progress :)

Kind Regards,


12 Replies

Bryan you have done brilliantly, be proud of your achievements, hold your head up high, get out there and enjoy life again with a whole new healthy lifestyle and out look.

Beautiful sunny day today, take a good walk, breath in the fresh air and blow away the cobwebs.

Well done again!! Xx


Wow Bryan, that’s brilliant news. I unfortunately can not relate to your feelings so cannot share thoughts in that way. Although I can imagine it must be odd to return to ‘normal life’ as you say. I hope you still keep to some of the restrictions though with regards alcohol, low salt and a healthy diet just so you never find yourself in the situation again.

Now your results have removed that dark cloud and heavy weight on your shoulders I wish you the very best for a happy and healthy future.


Hi Bryan

Many many congrats on your achievement don’t worry about that too much that why you are not feeling top of the roof it’s just what I think is a shocking news for yourself as one point you were told the worst and now you were told you are good as gold 😊 so give yourself a time and enjoy the lovely weather like me lol all the best buddy .👍


Hi Bryan, I am similar to you , liver disease by alcohol, liver failure in 2008, diuretic, 3 drains, followed what drs said etc

. I have had so called normal lft for 4 yrs , even better now, only I often wonder why due to my chocolate craving lol.

You dont have to be elated, yes , like me ,you still have the niggling in your head that maybe something will go wrong etc.. but in my book , grab life by the horns!! Enjoy .. no amount of the "what ifs " will change whatever or if anything will ever happen , I have been doing so for 11yrs now .. go and have a wonderful weekend in this beautiful weather.. Linda x .well done you !!!


Bryan, this 'not feeling elated' feeling is not really as strange as you might think.

You see, up to now, you were under supervision' (for want of a better word).

You were given your instructions of what and what not to do, and you followed them to a "t" and you got full marks for your efforts. it seems you are suddenly on your own. Yeah, you know what to do, you just have to do it....If only it were so easy!

You know Bryan, think of yourself as having been, up to now, in training as an officer cadet. You have completed your training in flying colors, and you have finally acquired an officer rank!

Fantastic. Now you are being sent to the front in command of a platoon.

And all of the sudden it hits you: the realization that you are responsible for the lives and safety of your men. You can not afford mistakes.

Suddenly, this responsibility weighs heavily on your shoulders.

Paradoxically, although you got what you wanted, you got what you have been training and aspiring for, the task ahead seems arduous.

But you will succeed, because had you not had it in you in the first place, you would have failed the course. But you didn't fail, you passed and you got your rank. Now you are being saluted to.

Wear you rank with Pride.



Bryan, although our paths to cirrhosis have been markedly different I completely know how you feel. I was obese (18st) and had food issues resulting in NAFLD then came breast cancer and related treatment. One of the treatments, though highly effective, is a known hepatotoxic drug and when landing on an already compromised and inflamed liver resulted in stage 4 cirrhosis with ascites and jaundice. I was only 6 weeks out of radiation and still burned and blistered and suffering clinical exhaustion from the treatment and hardly eating when my liver failed. That was August 9th (2018). I have followed every instruction to the letter, meeting and exceeding my doctor's expectations and instructions and am now both 'no evidence of disease' on the breast cancer front and stage 3 fibrosis on the liver front. I have had a few test results recently relating to my liver and they have been great. My doctor is ecstatic but I can't get past 'meh' and waiting for the next shoe to drop. I feel physically better, I am now 12st6 and look and feel fabulous....but I still feel like I'm in sick/recovery mode. I know this sound silly and all touchy feely but yesterday, here in Canada, it was wonderfully mild....for Canada. I bundled up, leashed the dog, and set out for a walk in the ravine near the house. The snow is melting, the ice in the Humber River is breaking up and the forest is coming back to life. I sat down on a log, turned my face to the sun, felt the warmth and heard my inner voice say "Right Liz, that was then and this is now--time to live again." I took deep breaths as if to reach the depths of my soul and clear out the cobwebs and truly felt myself come alive. I stretched, and generally woke up my body again. Bryan, you have a new chapter of life to live without alcohol. Think of it as a chance to live the life you know you want and can live. You do not have a choice to go back to the bottle as you will die. Embrace your new life and live it to the fullest. You have so many here who love you without ever meeting you as we have all walked a path to decline, and many have played a key role in that decline be it alcohol or obesity. I'm not saying change is easy but once you embrace your new life you will make it yours. Temptation will not be the boss of you, you will be the boss of your choices. Clench your fists, raise your arms in victory and know you've emerged from the dark woods and are ready to set a trail in the sunlight. When I returned from my walk I felt like a new person. I actually asked a total stranger to take my photo on the front lawn as I felt victorious. (attached). That is what it looks like to get your mojo back. That is an image that says "F*&k you breast cancer and f*(k you cream cakes I don't need you to be happy and sorry liver for the massive assault but thanks for pulling through--I've got your back from here on in. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words--mine is. (just realized I can't post a picture here but will put it on my profile page. :)

Turn your new leaf. Know that we support you. You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. So many wish to get to your stage of health.

Smiles, Liz


That's amazing news Bryan. I guess you will need time to believe that your struggle has paid off. Onwards and upwards for you now, just believe and enjoy it!!!!!



Hey Bryan. I too got Liver Cirrhosis because of drinking heavily for over 40 years but was only diagnosed a few weeks ago, I too was gutted especially as I not had a drink in 8 years. I go to AA and have done for years, I cant recommend them enough mate. I wouldn't be here today without their support and help. Anyway just wanted you to know I understand how you feel and hope you regain your health soon.

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Hi Bryan,

Congratulations on your good news!

You have gotten some excellent answers here, much better than I could give, especially since it is my husband with liver disease.

I think it can be a bit of shock to hear " go back to normal life" after a stage 4 liver disease diagnosis. Thankfully there are so many people on here that can help.

Keep us informed of how you are doing and drop in now and again.

Best wishes for continued good health,


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I’m new to the sight it’s so nice to see everyone so, welcoming. I’ve a physical scheduled because I woke up and my stomach was swollen. Then I started to look for causes. I opened a Pandora’s box because then I looked in the mirror and noticed I could see my veins through my skin. They are not protruding but you can definitely see them. I don’t have a hard time breathing. I feel fine but I have drank alcohol since my 20’s (im 53). I’m so scared. What is the no salt liver diet consist of so I can start working on now?

Appreciate the help! I don’t have swollen legs or itchy skin. I so can concentrate and write my name. My stomache is doughy but , someone messaged me and said theirs was too. I would love to hear any advice. Thank you peaches


If you ever need to talk Im here for you bro. I wont ram AA down your throat.

Take good care of yourself Bryan.


Sometimes when we are in a state of mind where we think "well things are all down hill from here". We dont know how to take good news in and process it. Especially news like yours where its so good and so unexpected that you were going to hear such great improvement. It might just take rime to sink in Bryan. You might be driving or in the shower and all of a sudden when your mind goes to worry it will click and go " wait a minute"!

I have a hard time accepting good news or good things happening. My mind has been in a " whats the hell is next now" set for so long that im finding myself at times unable to absorb and accept good news. Time my friend, just time. Congrats and best wishes to you always!

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