Is jaundice the last stage of liver di... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Is jaundice the last stage of liver disease?


My ex and I were divorced in Sept and he moved out 2 weeks ago. I was in shock when he yelled at me back in Dec 19 stating that he wanted a divorce. He is often moody and often wanted a divorce but he persisted this time and he got his divorce. Since last Dec I have discovered that he has cirrhosis. I don't know when he was diagnosed. I think it was in Nov 18, but he keeps a lot from me.

I have been doing loads of research and he ticks every box relating to cirrhosis. A friend of mine goes to see him and reports back to me on his condition.

He has a massive belly and has done for years but it is getting bigger. He confirmed that he has ascites

His arms, legs, neck are skinny with the skin hanging.

He has no strength in his arms

He cannot sleep and does nothing all day

His feet are now swollen and the skin is very white - looks like dead skin (he is a diabetic also)

He has developed small breasts - Gynecomastia (about a year ago)

Bruises easily (has done for about 2-3 years)

Has a low platelet count and when he bleeds it takes ages to stop (diagnosed of having low platelets about 18 month ago)

Does not eat much and feels bloated

Is always sleeping and dosing off and is very very lazy - has done nothing for years

Drinks less beer and now drinks vodka as he feels bloated

Cannot keep food in - goes through him - diarrhea (this has been a problem for years) As soon as he eats he has to go to the toilet.

He does not seek medical help as he has a fear of going into hospital as he wont be able to smoke or drink in hospital

He has had an itchy back now for years, always rubbing and scratching

My friend reported back to me 2 weeks ago to say that his eyes are yellow, then last week that they are more yellow and my friend said that it looked like he had a tan (I think this must be jaundice)

I have been researching and reading up on 'End Stage Liver Disease' and he has had all of these symptoms for many many months, some for years. Is jaundice the very last stage? If it is - how much longer is he likely to live?

Until last Dec, we had a lovely life together, I do not want him to die alone and for no one to find him for weeks. He chose alcohol over me.

My friend will see him again this week and see if his palms are red and see if he has spider angiomas.

I'm just trying to find out if jaundice is the very very end stage. From what I have read it is between 2 weeks and 1 year. But most posts I read seem to indicate it is more weeks than months. Is this the case?

Thank you

26 Replies

Jaundice is purely caused by a build up of bilirubin in his system and this can occur at any stage of liver disease. The other things you describe are all symptoms of cirrhosis which is 'end stage liver disease'. Decompensated cirrhosis is indicated by bleeding and ascites and he obviously already has the latter. He sounds very, very poorly and continuing to drink whether it be beer or spirits is going to hasten his end sadly. Death through liver disease normally occurs either with a massive bleed, coma due to Hepatic Encephalopathy or multiple organ failure as the toxins gradually build up poisoning the rest of the body and knocking out other organs. Unfortunately without medical intervention it sounds like your ex-hubby has a somewhat bleak outlook.You'll find information on cirrhosis on the BLT site at:-

Wishing you the very best, look after yourself through all this too as it will be hard.


Debbie633 in reply to AyrshireK

Thank you Katie.Yes it is bleak - I know that, but we all like to know 'how long?' don't we? Days, weeks, months? I am guessing it is very unlikely to be years. Every day I am expecting the phone call to say he has been found dead. He has fallen out with everyone so only has my friend who pops in to see him once or twice a week.

Thank You


AyrshireK in reply to Debbie633

No one, not even a doctor can give you an accurate time frame as sadly it could be something that happens suddenly (like a big bleed or him going into a coma, even a fall or an infection) or indeed take some time but the scenario of him being found deceased at home is possibly the way it goes unless he were to seek/get help in time.

It's a horrendous situation and my thoughts are always with you partners who are losing loved ones despite your best efforts all because of the demon drink. Booze is such an evil thing once it gets a grip of someone.

My hubby who has auto immune related cirrhosis would have grabbed any chance and done anything to better his situation but it couldn't have been foreseen nor prevented the way it happened for him.

Thinking of you and wishing you the best of luck.

Katie x

Debbie633 in reply to AyrshireK

KatieIt must make you very sad to see posts like mine.

My brother is dying of Motor Neuron Disease and he would love to live, but my ex who could have chosen to live has chosen to die. I just wish I had some idea of timescale and nothing I read gives me any clues

Bless you and thank you for taking the time to respond

Debbie x

AyrshireK in reply to Debbie633

I feel for you and especially your brother with MND - that's a truly awful condition. Bless him.

Laura009 in reply to Debbie633

Hi Debbie. My heart goes out to you. My husband was told when l managed to get him into hospital for a detox, that if he didnt stop drinking he would die. It was at this point he went completely yellow which stayed with him for the rest of his life (18 months) He didn't give up drinking until the last 3 months of his life. It was a profuse nose bleed which made me call an ambulance. He spent 2 days in HDU then died wired up to monitors with tubes going in and out of his body for 10 days in ICU. He had liver failure, kidney failure and broncho pneumonia. But even up to 2 days before he died, the docs wouldnt give up hope.

Thinking of you at such a trying time.

Laura xxx

Debbie633 in reply to Laura009

Wow - that's so so sad. Everyone has a different journey and different experience.

My husband has left me now, so why do I put myself through this worry? I am guessing that he is not worrying about me.

I have literally just been listening to a recording of my brother, who recorded his voice and sent me a lovely reading from a book called 'The Man Who Planted Trees' - My brother has MND and his speech is going. He has lost all movement in his arms and legs, yet he is incredible and fills me with pride.

Sorry - I'm pretty mixed up at the moment.

Perhaps I should stop trying to work out when my ex's end of life is likely to be. I cannot make a difference to him, but I can make a difference to my brother's end of life. That is what I should focus on.

Thank you so much for responding to me

It's tough isn't it? I really do hope things are better for you now.

Laura009 in reply to Debbie633

Thats so lovely.Yes focus on your brother.

Thankyou. Life is wonderful again now.

All the best to you and your family

L xxx

I am going through the same with my husband, he has ESLD, and has all the symptoms that you have described. We are still living together and its a living hell. He's just come out of hospital a few days ago, he's stopped taking his meds (again) he does this from time to time why i dont know. He constantly talks about dying which i hate and he knows this, but does it anyway. I have been living like this for many years, we've been married for 30yrs and have split up loads of times due to his drinking. I myself would like to know how long he has left too, ive read up on this terrible disease and i dont think he'll last much longer, i do feel extremely guilty for feeling this way but after all these years living like this this is what it has done to me. So you are not alone in thinking this way i do too. Hope this reply helps you take care x

I feel lucky that my ex has moved out.I now realise that no one is able to give me a timescale - no matter how many hours I spend on Google. I will just have to wait for the call - it will come and I will be a bit sad for a while. I know people say it is a disease and I will create a lot of controversy if I say that I cannot go along with that. My brother is dying of Motor Neurone DISEASE - which is a disease which he would do anything - absolutely anything to rid himself of. So from where I am at the moment with an aggressive, nasty, vile ex-husband and a lovely lovely dying brother - I am struggling with the word 'disease' . Maybe in time I will change and think differently, but not today.

Stay safe and grab every bit of happiness you can from life - I love my life, and I will be stronger and better and happier, because he made me more determined and more grateful. He has made me strong! Stay strong x

As usual Debbie, Katie is spot on the text that jumped out at me is no medical intervention. I have a very good relationship with my consultant he’s never judges me. From our first meeting we talked about choices. So I’m going to use the same approach. 1. He needs to stop drinking NOW

2. He needs to start the medical procedure NOW

3. At some point soon he will also need to give up smoking

By doing this he begins to take control of the situation.

If he chooses not to act then this doesn’t end well

I’m always available if you have anything non medical to ask you will get my full support

All good advice Hillclimber72, but I fear he has gone beyond the point of no return. I wonder if he worries about me and spends hours trying to work out if I am okay.

I am guessing not.

Hey - thank you!!!

He hasn’t been diagnosed as he ? I would leave the guess work out of the equation and just deal with the facts as you see them

Yes he has cirrhosis and ascites. I only found out recently and he had known for a long time. It’s sad as we had a fabulous life together.

If he is determined not to stop then he has made a choice of drink over life. My heart goes out to you. Keep the group informed my prayers are with you

Yes he has. I can’t quite believe this is happening to me. I believe there is a reason - I’m more determined than ever to be free, to stay single, to be happy, to have lovely people around me, to laugh. So determined!!!! Thank You Hey - I’ve started taking singing lessons. I used to put headphones in and sing out loud when he was abusive to me, I did it so I couldn’t hear him. I don’t have a good voice but now I’m having lessons it’s getting good. Without the abusive I wouldn’t be able to sing - there is a positive in everything 😍

Morning debbie, i really feel for you and glenfaba..I am the same with hubby but hes not been diagnosed with cirrhosis but has all the symptoms (he was told he had it in 2018 but then told he didnt so who knows.).. All i can say is from what i have learnt from 1 friends husband who died 8 years ago ,he was diagnosed with cirrhosis and carried on drinking a few cans a day and he lasted 5 years in the end he had sepsis and died from organ failure..Another friends husband was diagnosed with cirrhosis carried on drinking vodka and he lasted 3 years ,and a friend of mine and hubbys died a month ago, he was diagnosed with fatty liver in 2018 carried on drinking cider, diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2019 carried on drinking cider and died as i said a month ago...He was drinking in the pubs and at home every day until he was taken into hospital 2 weeks before he died. Everyone is different, it could take months,weeks or even days at the stages your husbands are at...Debbie i believe the reason your husband has asked for a divorce because i believe he wants to save you the heartache of you actually seeing him deterorate, Its sad but every one reacts differently when they are sick or even know they are dieing, sometimes loved ones dieing will push away those they love, sometimes they want them close....Sending you both hugs and know that we are all here for you both ..

Debbie633 in reply to lyn3

Thank you, but I am not sure he divorced me to save me from heartache as the things he has done to make my life as difficult as possible are endless - he just loves making me miserable, but he has moved out now so he has failed - I'm so happy he has gone. I have a great future and now that he has gone I can fly. He cannot and will not take my happiness. I just wonder how long he has left. Thank you for taking the time to reply, it made me realise that I will never find the answer to my question so I will just wait for that phone call and when it comes I will be a bit sad for a little while.

Stay safe x

Glenfaba123 in reply to lyn3

Thank you lyn3 for mentioning me, i wish i had the strength to leave my husband or tell him to go even, but i haven't, there's nothing more i would like than to be free of this awful life im living right now. But i know my husband is dying and i cant let him die alone, thats just the person i am. I've had a terrible life with him, there has been good times years ago when the children were young, but since they've grown up and left to live their own lives thats where it all went down hill. I often wonder when will it all end and ill be free, but he keeps reminding me that ill be lonely and sad for the rest of my life, and if i did meet someone he would come back and haunt me! Hes so selfish and i think angry with himself because of the drinking he's done for 40yrs, he cant turn n the clock back and wish he had listened to me all the years i begged him to stop drinking for me and the children, now he's very bitter and paying the price. I will carry on untill the time comes when he will eventually die, only then will my life begin, and i will start a new chapter.

Laura009 in reply to Glenfaba123

It's so true .... such a rollercoaster of emotions throughout it all. I kept asking myself how could alcohol change the kind gentle but strong fit man into this person l just didn't recognise anymore?Thinking of you all still going through it. 💞

lyn3 in reply to Glenfaba123

Your welcome.. we got to stick together...Always here for you.. I know what you mean about leaving etc and then the feeling of guilt of him dieing alone...Its easy for people to say oh he isnt your responsility etc etc, but i,m the same, if i was to leave hubby and he died alone i would feel that guilt for the rest of my life, and that guilt is horrible. As hard as it is when something happens to hubby for us both we can hold our heads up high and say i done my best, i was there with him in the good and bad.I hope your taking care of yourself though? Hope your managing to have me time, Thats one thing i think is very important, i have my me time, i go shopping with my kids, im there on the end of the phone if hubby needs me (he sleeps most of the time) but i always make sure i have me time, its very important....Yeah unfortunatly drink causes selfishness too.. Its the woe is me,,News flash he cant come back and haunt you....Oh gosh a friend said to me the other day about replationships (shes single) she said she wants a relationship , i said no dont do it, steer away from it lol, she said if anything happens to hubby would you find someone else but someone that didnt drink all the time, ? i said nope and if you ever see me comment about a man please punch me in the face, ha ha ...Yeah when you are able to have a new life do what you want to do, if anything were to happen to hubby im going traveling, something i wished i had done before i met him...Take care,Hope your weekend will be and hugs..

Laura009 in reply to lyn3


lyn3 in reply to Laura009

Laura your such an inspiration to us all...really apprciate your love and help with us...Your a gem.....hope your keeping well..

Laura009 in reply to lyn3

Oh Lyn you're so kind. Thankyou for a lovely message and happy to be a support for you and others going through the same. It's just so sad we are here for this awful reason. But we can all help each other with our similar tragic stories. Stay strong, smile through it all ... it will help xx

awe debbie,,, must feel so lovely to have that break from a such misery...hugs..

Good on you ! You have your own choices now x

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