Posted , 7 users are following.
I've been posting in the alcohol consumption forum for several weeks as I have got increasingly more serious health concerns.
Briefly, all was fine in my life until summer 2013 when I had a different health scare (which proved to be negative in the end) but this quickly triggered insomnia, depression and anxiety. I was put on various different medications, with little success.
A year ago, I began to drink heavily. (I would have been a social drinker for 25 years upto then.) The drinking was steady, with occasional binges. I then drank much less from November to February. However, I started drinking heavily again in March, again following the same pattern - steady drinking with occasional binges. I didn't drink every day, but for many days in a row. I then had a short, heavy binge at the start of August, and again at the end of August, which was the last time I drank. It was only in August that I started to think about posssible liver problems, because my energy levels were dropping, I was sweating a lot, my appetite became poor and I was losing weight.
I saw GPs several times in August, and they ran various blood tests. These were all normal, except for the AST and GGT liver enzymes. On 4 August, the AST was 96 and GGT was 121. But, two weeks later, after I had stopped drinking, AST had reduced to a normal value (25) and GGT had fallen to 72. Doctors said I should be encouraged that they fell to normal or near normal so quickly.
After the binge at the end of August, I had to be admitted to hospital (I also had a bad chest infection). Within 24-48 hours of the binge, I suddenly developed strange, unpleasant, visible symptoms: a painful rash on the chest; several bruises; skin discolouration on the backs of my hands and the genitals; red palms; minor hair loss and more general thinning of hair. I got very panicky, and a doctor on the ward agreed to do various blood tests. Again, these were normal except for AST and GGT, which were elevated again. However, the doctor said that everything else being normal showed that I did not have cirrhosis or hepatitis, but that my liver was being irritated by the binge drinking.
I was discharged from hospital, but continued to feel unwell. I saw my regular GP again nine days ago, and told him about those symptoms. He asked me what I was worried about, and I said cirrhosis. He then talked me through the various blood tests again and told me that, yes, I need to stop the heavy drinking, but that I did not have serious liver disease. I asked him if I should have any scans, etc, and he said no.
I should have been reassured, but continued to feel unwell. So, I took the opportunity to arrange an ultrasound privately last Thursday. The radiologist talked me through the scan. When she got to the liver, she said it was bright on the scan, so it was fatty and slightly enlarged.
Probably unfairly, I asked me if there was cirrohsis. She said she couldn't see evidence of cirrhosis, but could only comment on what she could see.
However, I felt vindicated in arranging the scan. I had hoped that the ultrasound would be clear but, if I'm honest, I was certain it would find something wrong. My stress levels have only further increased because, as my doctor was wrong about me not needing a scan, I wonder what else he could be wrong about.
I went for a walk (8 miles) at the coast this afternoon. It was hard work at times, but I managed it. However, I had what I can only describe as oily sweat (my skin has also been feeling oily very recently) and, when I took-off my sweatshirt, there was hair (from my chest) in it. I know that hair loss and oily skin are also symptoms of fairly advanced liver disease.
I simply find it impossible to believe that "just" a fatty liver could cause me to be feeling the way I am and produced those visible symptoms from 30 August.
It never occurred to me that "only" several months of heavy drinking, often with gaps, could have caused serious damage to my liver. However, I mentioned prescribed medications I have been taking, and I'm convinced that the excessive alcohol and those medications, many of which are hard on the liver, have been a dangerous combination.
I am both kicking-myself and absolutely terrified, and feel in limbo, waiting for bad news, and just praying for a miracle.
0 likes, 12 replies