Chronic Pancreatitis and continuing to drink

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Hey

I have a friend who's just out of hospital with chronic pancreatitis ... I'm not sure how long he's had it for, but I think this was a bad case ( he was in hospital for over a week) ... I think he said his pancreas was at 20% efficiency.

I was talking to one of his family members last night because I was concerned that he is drinking a lot, and asking to borrow money (I presume to buy alchohol). He's drinking secretly but I know he's doing it, probably about 3 bottles of Rum / Whisky a week!.

The family member seemed alarmed to learn that he was still drinking as they were present when he was admitted to hospital he had told the doctors he had quit drinking X years ago. My initial though was that he shouldn't be drinking because of the medication he is on (there's a lot), but now i realise there are far further reaching consequences, so I'm not sure what to do.

Should I phone the hospital and tell them he lied about drinking?

He obviously knows he shouldn't be drinking so nothing I can say to him will change that ... I'm at a loss as of what to do.

Any advice on how best to proceed?

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  • Posted

    No, don't phone the hospital. This person isn't a child and doesn't need to be "told on." That won't do any good now, anyway. I would talk to him, but most especially, talk to his family. Sounds like he needs to be in a rehab program.

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  • Posted

    There is nothing the hospital can do. Alcohol and any form of pancreatitis do not mix, your friend is further damaging his pancreas with every sip. He needs an intervention before it kills him.

    His alcholism is more than likely a huge contributor to his disease Alcohol should be the first thing to go after diagnosis... I am so sorry he is having such a rough go with it..

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  • Posted

    There's nothing you can really do. Your friend was advised to quit drinking for a reason. Alcohol induces an attack and it seems like hour friend doesn't care. If he's in pain (pancreas issues are very painful) then he needs to get pain relief other than alcohol. All he's doing is causing more pain for himself. He already knows it's wrong, that's why he's hiding it. Be a friend and tell him you're not supporting his decisions to drink given the information you now know. A true friend is honest even if it hurts. Direct him to this forum because talking to others who suffer from the same disease is very helpful. I got pancreatitis due to the way I was born … rare condition to be born with two pancreatic ducts. I'm not even 40 and will have my pancreas removed August 1st. Your friend doesn't want to end up like me.

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  • Posted

    The hospital likely knows your friend is drinking. See if you can get him to see a good alcohol counselor and do everything you can to support that. It means hanging out and doing things that don't center around alcohol and helping him change his patterns. My hospital sent me to a treatment place that was super helpful. AA was awful for me. Everyone needs a different treatment plan.

    Also, don't lend money. You will just be enabling.

    Be cautious about involving the family. For some of us, they are what drove us to drink in the first place. Only he knows.

    Also, get your friend to see a pancreatitis specialist and probably a nutritionist. Be engaged in the whole process if you can, and educate yourself on the options and treatments. Pancan.org is a good "first stop".

    You say your friend is on a lot of medications. Which ones? Is he taking digestive enzymes? Blood thinners?

    Yes, there are a lot of risks (like dying a miserable death), and 20% is not great. But, on a plus note, a week is a "typical" stay in the hospital. Some folks develop sepsis, multiple organ failure, blood clots in the liver, etc. and can spend months in the hospital.

    Chronic pancreatitis is nothing to mess with, but it also isn't necessarily a death sentence. Like Shortie, I too am having my pancreas removed -- and that carries a ton of risk, too. You have to be sober to do it. It's tough but not impossible.

    Talk with your friend, be honest, and try not to alienate him. It's up to him to try to slow the progression. And, we are all here to support. I know of very few pancreatitis groups, and this is by far the best I've encountered. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      When are you having your pancreas removed (if you don't mind me asking)? Are you having the islet cell transplant to the liver? No offense but I'm a little excited to read a fellow CP getting their pancreas removed … I'm not alone right now. I will have the islet transplant if my insurance covers it. If not, I will wake up diabetic and be dependent upon enzymes. I've accepted everything and look forward to pain relief. Unfortunatly, I know other issues arise but I have already developed kidney issues due to my pancreas. It's a last resort for me, but we can still lead a long life, just need to be strict about it.

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    • Posted

      Shortie, I can get scheduled for islet as of August 14th, my 6 month sobriety mark. I have insurance but recommend charity care if you run into issues with coverage. It's covered in most cases, because diabetes is expensive for insurance companies.

      Where are you getting your surgery done? Have you been able to gain weight in case you can get islet? (It helps you create more viable islet cells.) Also, I hope you don't smoke, because that will impact healing. I have to quit...

      I'm in North Carolina. The islet program here is only 2 years old, and to my knowledge, only 3 people have received it here.

      Like you, I am VERY excited. Lots to worry about (blood clots, diabetes), but I'm looking forward to getting scheduled. We're a team in this!

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    • Posted

      I live in California and will have the surgery done at UCSF. There's only two hospitals that can do the surgery. The only problem is the insurance considers islet a new procedure even though it's been done for about 10-12 years. The other issue is the islets die in about five years so regardless I will become diabetic. I've never heard of charity care and I don't know if it's even an option for me because I'm disabled. I have really never been a drinker and I also need to quit smoking. Every pancreas surgery I have had (10) I have no problems not smoking, its being at home and being stressed out. The next surgery August 1st is the big one so I have a plan and now that my son graduated I'm not so stressed. In a way, we'll recover together.

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    • Posted

      UCSF was how I found the program here. There is also a hospital in DC that does it. It's where my surgeon originally came from.

      I'm disappointed to hear the cells die off. I'm going to ask about that. Not surprised, though. I'll take what I can get also.

      I'm also on disability and qualified for charity care. Might as well inquire.

      In any case, I'm excited for you and glad you have your family to help. Do keep us all posted! I'll let you know what I learn.

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    • Posted

      I meant two hospitals in Northern CA that can do the surgery. My surgeon advised me the cells die off around five years. He's done over 100 islet transplants and one dating 20 years back. Apparently the liver just cannot produce them after then but the doctors don't know why. My surgery will last between 8-12 hours. If the islet is covered then 12 hours because it takes four hours to digest the pancreas. I'll have 5% of my intestines removed and need between 2-3 weeks in the hospital then an additional 6-8 weeks at home to recover. It won't be an easy recovery and my doctor told me stuff that scared me but I figured I have endured a lot, I can endure this too.

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    • Posted

      Shortie, do you know if the 5 year statistic is for allogeneic or non-allogeneic transplants, or both? (eg, islet donor vs self-transplant)?

      14 hours in surgery tracks with my research. Lots of tubes and 10 days or so in-hospital is what I read, but your estimate of a few weeks seems more likely.

      It's not going to be fun, but I sure hope it's worth it. This pain is ridiculous. I look forward to my next conversation with my surgeon!

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    • Posted

      It's for both and I don't know if you've been advised but you can actually reject the islets even if they're your own. It's very similar to an organ transplant except it's cells. You will have a 50/50 chance of acceptance from what my surgeon advised (chief of surgery not my pancreas specialist). The surgeon also told me sometimes the stomach goes on strike and they may have to insert a feeding tube through the nose (I'm fine with that). The thing that scared me was the pain gets so intense they put some patients in comas. I'm high risk because I have a rare nerve disease where my nerves misfire and contract my muscles. The surgery will stimulate my overactive nerves and cause more pain. I don't want the coma so I need to stay positive. I'll end up around 3 weeks probably but it'll be due to my other issues. Let me know what your surgeon says, I want to see how similar they will be please.

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    • Posted

      The pain / medical coma is news to me. But then, I haven't asked yet. May I ask what nerve problem you have?

      I did find a few patient stories here, and one mentions having a feeding tube for a few months:

      https://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/pancreas-center/patient-stories.html

      I'll see about scheduling an information session with my surgeon to get more specifics. My big worry is having another portal vein clot. Nothing about this is simple...

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    • Posted

      my nerve problem is something completely separate.

      I havent heard of most stuff on here i heard about a feeding tube and again ivd never heard of im only presuming its prob more complex cases which I hope I don't have or get

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    • Posted

      HOORAY!!! I am so excited for you!!

      Had to read up on the pain bit. Whoa. But... at least they are taking it into account.

      This is so awesome for you. When it's time for surgery, please post a thread so we can follow your progress!!

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    • Posted

      You're not ignorant. If you have been diagnosed with CP your specialist should have sat down with you and explained the do's and don'ts. Some of us have to have ERCPs every so often for treatment (they go in and stretch ducts, remove stones, clear clogged ducts, etc.) it's a form of treatment but it really depends upon your symptoms. Foods will trigger attacks however some foods one person can eat another person may not be able to tolerate. Half the battle is figuring out your foods. You learn to live in pain everyday, it'll become your new normal. The more you stay hydrated the better you will be. It's not an easy disease but it's not a death sentence either. You have this forum for questions and support.

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