First post....... I just need guidance... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

24,138 members12,326 posts

First post....... I just need guidance I think!? I don't really know what I need!? Just need to talk..... really sorry for LONG post!

Wile
Wile

Hi there

I am a 49year old mum and have always been a drinker. I have been drinking for about 25yrs, with a few breaks in between (pregnancy and was drinking less when the kids were small). But the five years or so before that I was a very heavy drinker (everyday, and a bottle of wine.... at least)! I have also had a steady increase in my drinking over maybe the last four years (not to the same level as before, but at least double the recommended units per week.... but not drinking every day).

I have been very active for the last 10 years, taking in regular exercise and keeping my weight in check. But last September I felt as though I pulled something in my arm during a workout. In time it got very much worse and by mid November I contacted my doctor for help. As covid is effecting things, the process has been slow and I have yet to be accessed by physio so its been down to pain management.

I was given a high dosage of Naproxen and co codemol mid December and to continue taking over the Christmas break. It was in this time that I began to feel 'not right'! I had already been suffering from muscle aches in my legs that I was dismissing as I thought it would pass. I also had one episode of swollen ankles. But then I started to feel something just isn't right. To the point where I stopped even enjoying drinking (I of course continued as that feeling would go after my 3rd drink). It's hard to explain what I was feeling, but I noticed I was feeling the effects of alcohol very quickly. I just felt like I wasn't handling it very well (I have no idea if this makes any sense)!

Just before new years eve I noticed my stools had changed and had become very dark (almost black, and tarry). I contacted the surgery and had blood tests (including gamma), and a stool sample sent off. Bloods were all ok, but stool result is slightly abnormal, so I am being sent for an endoscopy and colonoscopy (hopefully in a couple of weeks)!

My stools returned to normal relatively quickly, but I am suffering from a noticeable change in bowel habit (constipation), and I have a pain that radiates from right side over towards the middle of my stomach (wakes me at night)!

You will be pleased to hear that I have done what many heavy drinkers have done and googled every known symptom of liver disease and of course got myself in a mental state that I didn't even know I was capable of!!!! (always thought of myself as quite a chilled person)! I have looked intensely at my eyes (for yellow), finger nails (white), hands (red)...... the list goes on!!

But I guess the reason to post all this, is just to know if this pattern of events and how I am feeling in general is relatable in any way to what others have been through? And if there are signs in all this that there could be something wrong, that my gut instinct is actually right? And would the two tests be able to identify if I have a problem with my liver!?

Thanks if you made it too the end of this post :)

P.S. just to add I haven't had a drink for 9 days (too scared)

34 Replies
oldestnewest

Well Wile. Your pattern of events is quite typical of many posts.... drinking a bottle of wine a day, bit of pain going on, changes in bodily function, start googling in all the wrong places and convince yourself you are about to die. At least now you have frightened yourself into giving up drinking which is likely to be the cause of your problems, now you need to continue to stay off the booze and eat healthily meaning no fatty, sugary processed food and allow your liver to heal, which it will as your symptoms are indicative of fatty liver. I would suggest you speak to your doctor, be honest about your past drinking habits and he may arrange some tests in order to rule out anything else. Use this as your wake up call to the dangers of alcohol and stay off it for good before your bad habit becomes a real addiction problem and causes you severe and irreversible liver damage.

Well done for posting here and taking the 1st big step to recovery. All the best

Laura

Wile
Wile in reply to Laura009

Hi there

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I think your advice is spot on and I actually used the words 'wake up call' to my husband yesterday when I told him about the call from the doctor. (He is also a big drinker. Which is actually worse as we're enjoy it together, making it quite normal)!

It was actually my alcohol consumption that raised the alarm for my doctor. I was very honest with her when I was asked (at the time of the stool concern). When she called yesterday it was one of her first questions, how much had I had to drink since the first call just before new year.

And I also agree that I have googled myself dead and got myself in a state. I will take note of all your advice and get myself on a healthy path and hope that I haven't left anything too late.

Thanks again

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to Wile

Very well done to you. You and your husband could have a good serious conversation about this and change your lifestyles together which would make it much easier by encouraging each other and think of your children .... it is wholly unhealthy for them to see their parents continually drinking and can cause long term mental health problems for them. I wish you all the best and don't be affraid to post again if you need help or advice moving forward .... we are a pretty good knowledgeable bunch here all with different experiences of liver disease and the effects alcohol can have on this incredible vital organ ... look after it 👍🏋️‍♀️🚴‍♀️

Wile
Wile in reply to Laura009

I wholeheartedly agree about the children. I don't want them to go through anything because I chose to drink too much.

I saw my mother pass away a while back. She was an alcoholic but miraculously it wasn't the liver that got her. Anyway, when the time came she passed relatively peacefully. And I've never got over it. Watching her go. And it was another wake up for me. That if I, in my mature age, have struggled to deal with my dear mum passing peacefully, what would it do to my kids if I got really sick from this and they had to see that. I just can't bare the thought. And I think that is what has put me in a spin at Christmas when I haven't felt well. That I have left it too late. I couldn't forgive myself.

Thanks again. Its been really great to talk to someone about it all. Even just my fears in my head.

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to Wile

Yes l understand too only too well. My husband was an alcoholic and died 10 years ago at 54 and my children were 11 and 17 so l speak from experience. They were incredibly strong and brave throughout and learnt a huge lesson about alcohol and it's devastating effects. My son now 27, approx 6 years after his Fathers death completely went to pieces and sought the support of a bereavement counsellor. He had just 30 minutes with her where they both cried like babies but felt the weight of the world had finally been lifted. You are definately heading in the right direction.

Look after each other xx

Wile
Wile in reply to Laura009

I am so sorry to hear you have been through such a terrible time. But it's almost like you were meant to find my post as this is exactly what I fear the most. Just helps wake me up even more. Thank you for sharing your story with me. It will stay with me. And hopefully guide me in the right direction if I have struggles along the way.

I hope you and your children (although adults now) are doing ok. It's a very kind thing for you to be here and share your experience and knowledge in the hope of helping others

xx

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to Wile

💕

Hi Wile - You ask whether this is a similar story compared with others on this forum and as Laura mentioned, it's not uncommon. However this forum is typically frequented by people who are trying to help themselves, sadly this isn't the case for many (most?) of the general population.

In my opinion you have already done a lot of positive things to put yourself in a much better position...Recognising a health issue and not burying your head in the sand, seeing your doctor and being really honest with her and giving up the booze. All this already puts you in a far better place than most people who try to ignore symptoms and carry on regardless.

As I'm sure you know, the liver is incredibly resilient and if you have caused it some damage then you are doing all the right things to help improve the situation.

Very best of luck with your journey. Do let us know howe you get on.

Best

Paul.

Hi

Thank you so much for the positive words and encouragement. It makes me feel glad I took the step to post as I already feel better about whatever lies ahead. And I feel more positive that I want to do the right things going forward.

I will definately let you know how I get on following the next set of tests.

Thanks again

briccolone
briccolone in reply to Wile

Hi Wile and welcome. First off-well done on fessing up to yourself and the doc-first barrier crossed. I've been a life long wine drinker and it was fatty liver that first brought me to this forum nearly 8 years ago. I suspect I've got a few years on you but the story is similar. Feel free to ask questions -that's what we're here for. Meanwhile -join the dry January club and take it from there...best K

Wile
Wile in reply to briccolone

Hello there

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. The responses have made me really pleased that I have posted. It feels so helpful just to talk things through a bit. I already feel a little better about everything from having come here.

If you don't mind, could I ask you how you found out you had a fatty liver? Did you just feel off like I am, and was it a specific test you had?

I'm not sure if the tests I am having will tell me if it is liver related?

Thanks again for taking the time.

briccolone
briccolone in reply to Wile

Hi yes I had some blood tests in italy which showed high ggt .... Took me months to get that down a bit but had some digestive issues.. pale stools. Initially my ultrasound was clear. However I didn't learn the lesson, continued with the wine and ggt shot up to 250. Various yo yo periods of abstinence and back on the wine. U/s eventually showed fatty liver. I've never had any treatment and I haven't been diagnosed with anything but I suspect fibrosis at the least. Lockdown has put investigations on hold. I did about 9 months dry last year and a lot of my symptoms improved but I think I have constant low level inflammation of the liver. I guess things will need to wait until after Easter with the covid situation. I'm not in a hurry to find out now - have been living with this for nearly 18 months so I'm quite calm about it.

Wile
Wile in reply to briccolone

I think you are right that our stories sound similar. I know this is the point where I have realised I shouldn't drink any more. I know it will only lead to further issues even if this time I am lucky to get away with it. And luckily right now I am too petrified too. Do you drink now or have you stopped?

briccolone
briccolone in reply to Wile

Nope off the sauce Wile-very much a dry January. Actually looking at all these folk with Covid including my mother-I feel my health issues are somewhat "small beer" in comparison-excuse the pun!

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to briccolone

I hope your Mother makes a full and speedy recovery! L xx

briccolone
briccolone in reply to Laura009

Very kind Laura still no symptoms so we're hopeful despite testing twice for covid- she lives with us so we're all doing the self isolation thing and being very careful but so far so good Thanks x

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to briccolone

Great news x

Hi, Wile. I am going through exactly the same anxiety that you are. I even posted earlier on this forum. I have been experiencing symptoms relating to my liver, so have been freaking out like crazy. I am not drinking, starting from tonight. I feel like crying because I could really do with a drink to quell the anxiety about my liver. Oh, what a vicious circle alcohol causes. Best wishes and best of luck. xx

Wile
Wile in reply to Alcopop123

Hi there

I have felt better since posting in this forum so hopefully you will too. I think the fear is of knowing that you will most likely not know there is damage until it is a bigger problem. We know we are drinking too much, but rather than stop we then seek (and Google) all the possible symptoms that are associated with it.

But talking it over and getting it out definately has eased the panic in me so hopefully you might find that too.

I must also say that as hard as it is, having stopped drinking for 10 days so far has also made a difference in how im feeling physically. I still have some pain, but I feel better in myself and in turn I am feeling more positive about whatever I may face.

I hope you get some help from your docs soon and in the mean time try and ease your thoughts (easier said than done). Its a horrible place to be in but you have people here to talk with which really does help.

Good luck too xx

briccolone
briccolone in reply to Wile

Good for you, onward and upward

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to Alcopop123

Yes you drink because you're anxious but alcohol causes anxiety. You have to break that cycle.

I'm in the same way, it's totally perverse but it's an awful situation because I always drink when I'm dealing with high anxiety and health anxiety is high anxiety! So literally I will relapse and start drinking again because I'm worried about the damage I've done because of drinking. It's totally insane I know but I'm trying to learn and work through it with support. I'll go months sober and spend most of that time worrying about how I'm about to die, then spend a couple weeks drinking hoping to forget I'm about to die, only to end up feeling like garbage and my health actually truly getting worse.

The thing is Vlad drinking worsens anxiety- try and stay off it

I am, it's just that I've learned this weird cycle over the past year and am trying to use that knowledge to beat it. Maybe if I focus on my health and not drink for several years things will seem normal again but so often it seems hopeless.

No its not hopeless-stick with it-Best

As l have already said, you get anxious so you drink but alcohol causes anxiety it doesn't cure it so by drinking you are merely fuelling your anxiety. You have to get off that merry-go-round in order to recover, there's a far better life to live than existing like that.Wish you well.

Hi, I hope you can keep away from the alcohol, it can only improve and help your body. I know it is a scary time waiting but fantastic for you telling the truth to your doctor, at least things can be looked at properly now, rather than the docs starting from scratch. I have found that painkillers do cause me constipation, I notice you mentioned this in your post that you started to feel rubbish after the naproxen and co codamol. Naproxen is an NSAID which my doctor said it is strong and can affect the liver in long term use. Of course you didn’t take it for long so it won’t have caused damage. The feelings may just have been your body saying ‘wo, I can’t cope with this its too strong’. I was told by my doc that when the body struggles to deal with something, the liver slows down to deal with it, which makes you feel sluggish, its the same when you have had a lot to drink, the hangover, your liver is working hard to deal with something it doesn’t like. The blood takes longer to get to its rightful place (balancing sugars, protein etc..) Sorry that was a long post 😊

Laura009
Laura009 in reply to jazzjam

Long but spot on 😃👍 xx

Wile
Wile in reply to jazzjam

Hi Jazzjam.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

The waiting is hard but it keeps me petrified enough to continue not to drink so I guess that's something. And I am feeling much more 'normal' now which is also an encouragement to keep going. (Although something isn't quite right in my stomach still)!

But it was good to get a better understanding of what goes on with the liver so thanks for all of that. 👍

I've been where you are at. It's extremely scary. From experience I can tell you that the worrying and "googling" will only make you feel worse. In fact, I had a battery of tests done, and none of them were good enough. I was convinced I had done irreversible damage. Finally, I moved on. I highly recommend you completely stay off booze. It is easier said then done. I have been unsuccessful in staying true to my abstinence but I can say I have SIGNIFICANTLY decreased the frequency and amount of alcohol I drink. I have about 12 or 13 years of heavy drinking under my belt (not proud of that). I know that, for me, there is no safe amount of drinking. The only thing you can do is prevent further damage to you health by quitting booze (under medical supervision if needed), exercise, eat healthy, and take care of your mental health. The liver has an extraordinary ability to regenerate but, it can be damaged beyond repair. So keep up the no drinking, follow up with a doc, and then go from there. Good luck!

Wile
Wile in reply to txguy07

Everything you say here makes absolute sense. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am hoping this fear I feel right now will be the thing that keeps me on the right path, regardless of the outcome of tests. Although as you say, much easier said than done. But I know that my life will improve ten fold if I can stay on this path.

txguy07
txguy07 in reply to Wile

No problem! The fear is very real, and an understandable one at that. It's tempering the fear that is so hard. If it makes you feel any better I was looking at myself in the mirror constantly, palpating my right upper quadrant where I was having my pain, hyperanalyzing my stool patterns, finding veins/spots on my skin I swore were never there. It was quite bad. It impacted every aspect of my life. We each have a different experience but, I started seeing a therapist on top of all the doctors visit and one thing that worked very well for tempering the anxiety was using "intervals". For example, say you are spending a lot of time worrying and doing some behavior such as looking in the mirror, or googling liver stuff... Allow yourself, say, 15 minutes to indulge yourself and have at it then go 15 minutes without it. No matter how bad the compulsion to engage in that anxiety related behavior don't do it. Then after that 15 minutes is up, let yourself do another 15 minutes of that anxiety related behavior. Then go 20-30 minutes without it. Basically, increase the interval between times where you fully engaged in behaviors that reinforce your anxiety. When I did this, at first I noticed those periods where I wasn't engaging in these behaviors I was still thinking about them. But slowly I noticed I became interested in other things. Soon enough, I wasn't even keeping track of the time cause I noticed I felt so much better, even if some of my symptoms were still there. I truly hope your doctor appointment goes well. I just want to reiterate that I'm not writing your concerns off as just "anxiety" but, I've learned from the school of hard knocks that whether the problem is your worst fear or not, worrying becomes self destructive. I hope to hear that everything is okay soon enough!

Wile
Wile in reply to txguy07

I can totally relate to what you are saying about the intensity and how uncontrolled the mind can be. I was literally going out of my mind. I was at my worst over christmas, when I was drinking a lot and then had the episodes of black stools. I woke every morning and the very first thing I did was check my eyes to see if they had gone yellow over night. I would take close up photos of them convinced they were yellow, only to look back on the photos a day later and think they were ok (I have still done this recently)! I would take photos of my hands, my nails and compare them to photos on Google. It has been all consuming and a miserable time.

I have my endoscopy and colonoscopy a week Tuesday. Until then I continue to fear what I may have done to myself and in turn what I will have done to my family. I have decided that even if those tests show nothing too alarming I am going to get a scan just to know where I am at.

Until that time I am trying hard to think straight, not to Google and just wait. What will be will be now anyway. I can't turn back time. I just have to focus on doing things correctly from here on.

I was maybe still am a little in the same boat as you, except the poop. I have stopped googling now and I am 3 wk 4 day alcohol free. So just keep going and trust the docs.

You may also like...