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Sep-22-2007 08:08printcomments

Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis Insidious Disease of Death

The subject comes painfully close to home for one reporter.

Ken Kelly
Lela's husband passed away recently from alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver

(SALEM, Ore.) - This article is about alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis can be caused by other physiological problems and diseases, but alcoholic liver cirrhosis is a social issue that affects not only the person suffering, but also their family and friends.

Hopefully, my story may help someone you or someone you know to recognize the symptoms of this disease and take the steps to end the process before it is too late. Death by alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver is devastating, but there can be hope if it is recognized in a timely manner and medical help is obtained.

For many years I watched my husband slowly drink himself to death. Because of the nature of “alcoholism” he was convinced he had no problem. He drank because he liked it.

He was what I refer to as a “functional alcoholic.” He seemed to maintain and function quite well. He was not vicious nor out of control. He didn’t do inappropriate things. He always got up in the morning; he attended to activities he wanted to accomplish, and he went to work on a daily basis.

After retiring, he maintained our household responsibilities of paying bills, shopping, playing with his grandchildren, and occasionally going on trips to visit relatives in another state.

Two years ago though, his body started slowing down. He refused to go places because he was afraid to travel too far from home. His many trips to the bathroom during the day began to interfere with his ability to even go to the store.

His skin began to resemble yellow, aged paper and the whites of his eyes took on the same yellow tinge. Red spots started appearing on his arms and legs. A slight bump would leave a red bruise under his skin that didn’t go away.

His feet, legs, and stomach swelled to the point that he could no longer fit comfortably in his shoes or clothes.

Yet in spite of all of this, he refused to go to the doctor. He refused to talk about his declining health. He would go to the liquor store and buy his whiskey before he started drinking for the day, as he didn’t start still after 2;00 PM and then continue till 2:00 AM.

After watching his decline and listening to his refusal to admit to his problem, I printed an Internet article describing his symptoms, only the article referred to congestive heart failure. I taped this article to his arm chair and wrote “READ THIS!” He did; it scared him; he called the doctor. Sadly, only because he thought he had something wrong with his heart! The alcoholic is so unwilling to admit to his disease. Someone told me once alcohol convinces its victims they have no disease.

According to an article written by Howard J. Worman, M.D., “Alcohol abuse is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world... Alcohol affects many organ systems of the body, but perhaps most notably affected are the central nervous system and the liver. Almost all ingested alcohol is metabolized in the liver and excessive alcohol use can lead to acute and chronic liver disease. Liver cirrhosis resulting from alcohol abuse is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States.”

After going to the doctor and after the EKG and other tests showed no significant heart problems, it was identified he had suffered a couple strokes, which had gone unrecognized as he was usually so intoxicated by bedtime his strokes must have appeared to have been just “too much booze.”

His primary care physician referred him to a gastroenterologist to identify and confirm her suspicion of cirrhosis of the liver. This took almost a month to get the referral and the appointment.

By this time, he realized his “drinking” must be causing a problem and he slowed down to just having two drinks a night and felt proud of himself as he was “watering” them down. Upon seeing the specialist, he was told “Do not drink another drop of liquor, do not look at it, and don’t even smell it! You have to abstain from drinking for six months before you can even be considered for a transplant. You could die from this.”

The doctor was firm. He looked him in the eyes, and told him the same things I had been telling him the last two years. He quit drinking that very day but it was too late. In six months he was dead. He died a horrible death.

After many trips to the hospital, the decision was made to place him in a care facility as his needs were too much for me to assist with at home. His decline was heartbreaking to watch as his body wasted away. His inability to do the physical therapy and his frustration over not being able to come home sent me home in tears many times.

Watching him go through the bouts of draining up to eight pounds or more of fluids off his stomach and seeing his mind slip to another place where his reality was “never-never land” became unbearable and sad to witness. After two months in the care facility, the days of violent vomiting of blood began - the prelude to the end.

Fear came to his eyes as he became aware his life was nearing the end. His reaching for my hand to hold as if it was a lifeline before letting go to the “other side” was at times more than I could bear.

This man who I loved for 18 years finally slipped into the silent sleep just before death. I looked at him lying there and knew he was finally at peace. As I felt his cold hands I knew death was near and bent down and kissed his forehead and said my farewell. I had to leave as I knew the solitude of the moment was between him, death and God. After I left, he silently slipped away.

I hope in telling my story, which after only two months, still bears the pain of loss, I can help someone recognize the need to reach out for help if they recognize symptoms of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver of someone they love or of self. I offer, again, another quote from Howard J. Worman, M.D., “REMEMBER, LIVER DISEASE IS NOT THE ONLY LIFE-THREATENING COMPLICATION OF ALCOHOL USE DISORDERS. ALL ALCOHOLICS MUST ABSTAIN FROM DRINKING AS NUMEROUS OTHER ALCOHOL-RELATED MEDICAL, SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS CAN LEAD TO MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY.”

Below are some links to other articles concerning this subject:


Internal Comments are Closed on this story.

paul donaldson April 8, 2013 1:50 am (Pacific time)

wow powerful stuff I am retired mid 59s have battled off and on situation I am a gentle soul but horrible childhood and married wife and I pretty well akay for about 7years than she fell apart severe mental illness from her childhood I worked 2 jobs for 17 years trhats when I started she is in a care facility never ever able to come back home.just recently a girl fell in love with me that's over to hard to deal withI have a hard time getting involved wth her in their.trying to get over to see daughters I gave them my car I mostly don't need it.a.a. kind of helps their ideas kind of workable take what works leave the rest.It is a horrible disease I want to be sober for wife daughters and granddaughters and myself I guess.just hard life made it to retirement now alone.But I don't want to die this way.thanks for all these other postings fhe human condition.

Anonymous March 21, 2013 7:30 am (Pacific time)

I just lost my husband to Alcoholic Cirrhosis a week ago and I'm sad and confused. He left behind a 13 year old son. He was only 40. I've known him for about 15yrs. and he drank probably almost everyday. When the hospital could no longer help him, they sent him to a Hospice Center, which shocked me. I got to know his brothers more. They told me he drank since high school. I felt a lot of guilt, like I should have done more. One of his brothers told me it wasn't my fault. I never prepared for this either. In the end he did quit drinking but it was too late.Now, everyday I find it hard to get out of bed. I feel so lost and alone without him. I have a son to think about but I just don't know how to go on without my husband. I miss him so much. Any help would be appreciated.. Rhonda

vicky December 13, 2012 2:18 am (Pacific time)

HOW I WAS FREE FROM ALCOHOLISM AND SMOKING i have been drinking too much of late….. i’ll “accidentally do a bottle of wine” in an evening over a period of about three hours. last night i drank three large rum punches…. over about two and a half hours. i feel groggy and slow today and maybe in the grand scale of alcoholism i have little to ‘worry about” but i am concerned seeing as my Dad was a major alcoholic and it killed him, i told my best friend about it, he gave me Dr sambol contact and i email him immediately and explain every thing to him and he ask me what to do after the casting of the spell i was free from alcoholism i’m on a week without booze, contact him he can be of help to you

Susan Burston December 10, 2012 2:47 pm (Pacific time)

My sister has been an alcoholic for years last week we took her into icu, kidney failure, beeding, on the ventolator, and in a coma, everybody worked so hard to revive her and she woke up. she is in denial says the doctors have said she can live with her damaged liver (told us it was end stages of liver desease) and is talking of coming out of hospital, she has 3 girls, 20, 23 and 29 with 2 grand children I don't think they realise what is going to happen but after reading so much, I think she is going to die soon. My Mam is broken hearted and there is nothing I can do to take any of their pain away..

Carolyn November 24, 2012 5:49 am (Pacific time)

Marty, I feel for your sorrow and pain. You did not fail your wife. Your wife had a horrible addiction that she couldn't stop. My husband died on November 11, 2012 from advanced liver cirrhosis. He was 46 and didn't want to die but couldn't stop drinking. I love my husband so much but he never got over his childhood and his life before we married. As much as I supported him in trying to help him stop drinking, he kept going back to the bottle. He was a very gentle soul and couldn't understand why his family and people would hurt him. He always said that I was the best thing that had happened to him in his life but I was not enough to help him stop drinking. Do not blame yourself, you loved her and did the best you could. Your heart will hurt for a long time but now you need to live the best life you could for her. Remember the laughter and love and laugh and love again, for her.

Patty November 17, 2012 6:29 am (Pacific time)

My sister died of alcoholism on July 23rd of this year. She was 53 years old. Vodka took her from being a beautiful woman who was so loving and giving, to this entity that I did not recognize. She was in and out of the hospital due to vomiting, seizures, and falling. Black and blue marks all over her body were commonplace. She was so thin and could no longer walk. Treatment centers helped for awhile, but she always went back to the bottle. At the end, she wore a diaper and suffered from kidney and liver failure. How do I express what I am feeling? It is extreme sadness and overwelming guilt for not doing enough to help her. I am living through such pain and numbness that I can barely function. I lost my mom last year, and she was my only sibling.

Marty September 30, 2012 3:41 pm (Pacific time)

My wife is dying. I failed I failed now I'm taking care of her. No life I failed alone and scared. No future.

a valdez August 5, 2012 12:21 am (Pacific time)

My brother is 30 yrs old for the past months he has been drinking so much and became very violent, just today he went to the hospital because his stomach was swollen and is in extreme pain. They told him he has Cirrhosis Of The Liver, I have not talked to him because recently I had to kick him out of my hone. Please keep him in your prayers.

ADAM HOLMES September 12, 2011 1:00 pm (Pacific time)


Nicola September 3, 2011 1:04 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for your story. My sister in law, who lives far away from us, drank herself to death. She died yesterday ate the age of 44. We went on a summer family vacation and stopped in to see her. I took my kids home then came back immediately and admitted her into hospital. She had complete liver/kidney failure. Fortunately we were able to gather the family around her. She passed away peacefully after 3 days.

Esther August 18, 2011 10:47 pm (Pacific time)

My husband has Hep C and cirrosis of the liver. He is in stage 4 now. He's got a enlarged spleen. Slight Jaundice, varices in the stomach and chest. Gallstones and low platelet count. H-PYLORI. Has swelling of the ankles and numbness of the feet and toes of which he denys now. Slight puffy belly. Has drank since age 14. The Doctor told him one, two or three more drinks and it will be a 911 call to the ER because of bleeding. He is at the edge of the cliff ready to fall off so to speak. He still hasn't stop drinking and is in denial of his disease now. He says he doesn't fear death and knows he's going to die so he minus well drink. He's got 5 children and 5 grandchildren which are really young. He doesn't care that he's leaving this earth and leaving us without him. One day he says he wants to do something and the next day it's a whole different story. When he doesn't drink which is not often he's a wonderful caring man. I have accepted the fact that he will not stop drinking because I've tried for 20yrs to help him to stop with no success. We live in Florida so there is Alcohol in every store, which of course he loves. My heart is broken and I'm sure his is also. I worry every time he goes to sleep if this will be the end. I lost an uncle that I loved dearly and watched him for 24 hrs die from this horrible disease. He went into a coma and bled out from every whole in his body. He drowned in his own blood. It haunts me till this day. Alcoholism is horrible. I've lived with my husband and always felt as though I had two men instead of one. Because I didn't know which one I'd have to deal with today Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde? It has been a nightmare. I understand it was the alcohol that made him the way he is. So I would forgive his verbal abuse,but am powerless to what will be the end for him. My heart breaks for each and everyone who is dealing with someone dying or has lost someone dearly to them. May God give all of us strength and comfort. Know that this is an insidious disease and we are not to blame. It has to come from the Alcoholic themselves to want to stop drinking and seek help. For those who have seek help and survived your blessed. For those who have stop drinking and it's to late God bless you. My heart reaches out in pain and sorrow reading all this because I'm living it to and it is not pretty. Stay strong. I have choosen to stay with my husband till the end. And refuse to let him take me with him. But pray that when his calling comes I can at least tell him that I forgive and love him. I also pray he makes peace with God for there is where I will have comfort knowing he is resting in peace in heaven.

Bon August 2, 2011 12:39 pm (Pacific time)

Hi Melissa, So sorry for all you have gone thru and is growing thru for you and your family It is so hard watching the ones we love die before our eyes and somtimes no matter how much we plead and beg them they choose their own ways. I have come to the conclusion we can only do the best we can and love them the best we can but love ouselves too. Its not our fault and we can be mad at them for what they have put us through. My husband still chooses the alchol no matter how it effects our relationship and I really belive his mind does not understand that his drinking and our feeling go hand in hand. He talks to himself alot and getting very confused more and more. I just have to keep on with my job because in the end I only have myself to rely on and I know God will take care of the rest. Take time to confort youself and family whats going to happen will happen but you and your families life will go on. Ill pray for you and yours and I hope you will keep me in your prayers Your sister in lifes circumstance (Be strong and God Bless)

melissa June 14, 2011 9:52 pm (Pacific time)

hi, Lela, i admire you and your courage to share your is is in great sadness that i write this. we are going through the same thing with my dad. he is at the last stages i believe, of his alcoholism. i understand why my dad started drinking...but i dont understand why he never stopped when he had his first seizure/stroke january 2010..he was in the hospital and had already detoxed. and he started drinking started with swelling on his legs, bruising on his arms and talkng and making no sense. he started falling (gout)...the never ending hiccups...the vomiting all day and refusing to eat....this last week he cannot walk, is bedridden...he is so weak!! he is dreaming of my nana who is in heaven, he is only eating about 1/2 oz of apple sauce daily and thats only cuz his meds are in it...we have to hold his cigarettes to his mouth cuz he will burn himself on his own...we have to carry him to the bathroom because he cannot walk on his own...we have started making his funeral daughters are in denial saying he is supposed to live mom, my sister and my aunt (his sister) are by his side 24/7...not sleeping because his days and nights are mixed up...we are watching him die slowly...he knows this as he has said his goodbyes to all his children (4) and grand children (9) and his great grand children (3)...he has said good bye to my mom and my aunt...and yet the only thing he is able to hold on his own without any hardship, without spilling is his "viva villa"..his drink. he is dying and he is still drinking..he will wake up and ask how many bottles he has left..make sure he does not run out....i see this and it breaks my heart...because i too am an alcoholic..i have been drinking for 12 years...and i tried to stop April 29 2011...i stopped for 15 days and i started again....i tell myself i can stop...but im scared..just like my dad......this is my story.

joni June 2, 2011 10:02 am (Pacific time)

Dear loving people, my dad died way before his years at the young age of 56 and never knew my two sons which he would have loved dearly. He never met my wonderful husband. However, when he died of the same there was a kind of releaf as his drinking took a huge toll on all of us. That does not mean I didn't love him I truly did but growing up with a big drinker was so hard and my family never bonded as a result. Please if you are a drinker please stop you do not want your loved ones to feel when you die they can breath. I truly forgave him and when I lost a baby from horrible doctors my dad's spirit came to my bedside and lovingly took her to heaven. He was a wonderful dad but he loved booze more and made it clear to us every day. We found a cross in his stuff after he died so with this I am please for him. Love is the greatest commandment so pray and juice veggies instead of drinking booze it tast wonderful will repair you liver as well. I reversed two cancers in 11 days with fasting off of all foods and juiced juiced and juiced some more. Doctor came out of surgery and said my cancer was gone. God created veggies so you can repair your liver as well. You will get so excited over juicing because after a few weeks of juicing you'll feel wonderful so keep it up it will be a new and wonderful off drinking killer drinks to live veggie that heal my story of healing from cancer is on wish you all well.

jb May 28, 2011 6:03 am (Pacific time)

well, its memorial day weekend. I placed some flowers on my wife's grave yesterday. I posted on this site a couple years ago. It's now almost 4 yrs since she passed away. It doesn't get any easier guy's. I was crying my eyes out. Time does help a little but, you can never fill that "void" a loved one leaves behind. I thank Lela and others for keeping this post going. Life goes on and so do we. Let's all try to make the best of it.

Bon April 17, 2011 1:41 am (Pacific time)

Hi L Pita You have a lot of courage and love for your wife by asking for help. Find a local AA meeting that you can attend and church that woo will give you the strength you need to fight this. AA is a good thing for those who are realy looking to find help. You will find some that are there only because they are made to go by court so you know they are only bidding there time as soon as they leave its to the fist store but the progam does work if you let it work for you. YOu Can DO IT.. Your life will change and you will see that life is greatd is again. I only wish my husband would try.. He too is a alcholic. God Bless you and give you strength.

L PITA April 12, 2011 8:42 am (Pacific time)

I am sorry for all the pain i have put my wife thru. I have been drinking Real Heavy since i was 18 or 19, i can't even remember. I am now 31 yrs old, I went to the doctor a year ago and my blood work was bad. He said do not be scarred it is not cihrossis. So i kept drinking my liver still hurts, I really want to stop, i desire it more than anything. Please help. God Bless You All.

Bon March 22, 2011 11:54 pm (Pacific time)

Well ii has been a few month now and Im still here and My husband is still drinking, I am trying to get a house closer to my children so when I get to the point I just cant handle no more or he passes away I can be closer to family, I know the next bount will be worse then the last and its just a matter of time, I love my husband and the tought of leaving him during this time makes me feel awful.I just hope and pray the when its time god give me strength to do what I need to do for both of us.

Bon February 17, 2011 11:52 pm (Pacific time)

So sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers and thought will be with you and your family. I too am facing this with my husband, he is going down hill fast and the sad thing is for now he still feels he does not have a problem. It is a very sad thing that effect the whole family.

hawaii boy February 17, 2011 7:49 am (Pacific time)

my dad recently passed away from this horrible disease. he drank beer for 30 years everyday. the worst part is they didn't diagnose him with it until 6 months before he died and didn't tell us what stage it was in or anything. horrible health care on the Big Island of Hawaii, third worldish. i think he had it for about 10 years when he first got diabetes. we knew it was coming but had no idea it would be months till he was dead. he tried to quit, but quickly went back to his old ways. so sad he was a great surfer he came to hawaii when he was 17 years old with a backback and a surfboard. i really wish he could've seen the light a ways back and quit drinking, i would still have my dad today....he was 55 years old.

KBB February 10, 2011 9:25 am (Pacific time)

My uncle's in his final stages hospitalized and near death. Prognosis not good. He was found a few days ago on the floor with his stomach extended. Now his kidneys have failed and confusion has set in. What a horrid thing to witness. Matter of minutes or hours now. What a shame.

Bon February 9, 2011 3:06 pm (Pacific time)

Update I just came home from the hospital with my husband. He had been bleeding from his stomach and when I got him to the hospital he had 2 seizures in the ER he was found to have lost 3+units of blood. He was told the drinking was killing him. His liver enzim was elevated but it ws found thru a gasto probe he had developed 2 ulcers and had gastritis and dedeumists and bleeding from mouth and rectum. He is home now but his blood level is still low. Of course asoon as we got home he headed for the beer, he has hide. I told him I did not know how much more I can stand to watch him kill himself little by little. If he chose to keep drinking he was going to push mw out of the house. I know the next time I will find him in a pool of blood and it may be the last. please pray for Him and courage for me.

Bon January 27, 2011 8:29 am (Pacific time)

Hi Ams, I too know how you feel, I am so tahnkful jsut to have someone to talk to about this. I feel ashamed at times and sometimes I fell Im so alone but reading these I feel I have someone who knows what Im really feeing. My thought and prayers are with you we will get we will get thru this we just have to hang in here. It sounds like your husband is more advance then mine. Mine too is still drinking as before and I dont know if its because he is in total deninal or just dont care. When he had his seizure and was rushed to the hospital and was put in rehab it worked for 3 months maybe. I too am afraid that he may not wake up or I come home to find him dead. I have come to the point that he is going to do what he wants and I have to find y own things to keep e sane. Please take care of your self and give yourself lots of breaks. : )

ams January 24, 2011 6:31 pm (Pacific time)

Hi guys, me again. Thank you all so much, not much has changed, my husband in now on
Antabuse for chronic alcoholism - any thoughts on this? good or bad? He is now detoxing and shaking and basically looks like he is dying. I really am at the end of my rope here. Everyday is a living hell. I'm not even myself anymore, have no idea what I'm doing. I have read all of your posts again and again and my greatest fear is that he will go to sleep and not wake up. Everyday is more and more stressful, why can't he just stop? He is killing himself and me right along with him, thank you for letting me vent, I want my husband back. This disease is heart breaking.

Editor:  Thank you for visiting, maybe you will have to write about this at some point? 

Bon January 20, 2011 12:51 pm (Pacific time)

I thank you all so much I have been waiting and wondering what will happen next to my husband. I was suddenly awakened in the early morning back last January and my husband was have a massive seizure from alchol. He has been a steading drinker for most of his life and he has progress to more and more. He was admited to the psyc ward for addicts and of course he hated it. SO after 2 days he signed hiself out he was advised if he was boder line cycrosis of the liver and if he drank 1 beer a day it would kill him. He did quit drinking for 3 months but know he is back to a 12pack to case a day. I a just waiting for the next shoe to drop so this does help in what to look for and what ay happen next

Janie January 4, 2011 4:55 pm (Pacific time)

My friend's husband died of today. He was an alcoholic and was only 40 years old. He leaves behind a wife (my friend) and their 3 children. I am just so numb and in shock by this whole thing. I wish he could have overcome his addiction to alcohol and lived. I feel so bad for those he left behind. I don't ever think there is closure when someone dies of something like this. I thank the writer of this article for sharing her story and everyone else who posted.

Sober anonymous October 25, 2010 8:59 pm (Pacific time)

It is an insult to both the excellent benefits of the practice of yoga, and to the sufferers of the disease of alcohol-related cirrhosis to say that yoga can "cure" this condition. A liver transplant and complete abstinence are the closest one can come to adding some years to one's life, and even then, the disease of the mind must be dealt with. The people who post here are suffering deeply and reaching out to others. Please do not make light of this devastating condition that Lela wrote about and that brought us together. Many of us return to this site to reach out and share real pain. Please tell me you are joking. Namaste.

Navjot October 25, 2010 11:15 am (Pacific time)

I just want to mention that cirrhosis can be cured through Yoga and you can get the video on youtube (search using ramdev yoga liver)

Susan August 22, 2010 6:43 pm (Pacific time)

I don't know what to do. My brother who is a chronic alcoholic is just wasting away. He has lost over 40 pounds, lives on his couch, barely eats, wears diapers, and is 55 and looks in his 70's. He is so skinny and looks so malnourished. His arms are covered with umexplained bruising. He went and had blood work done and it showed nothing wrong. I don't get this how can that be....can liver cirrosis be detected? I know there is something wrong but since the blood work came back fine he thinks he can still go on drinking his life away. By the way he drinks a 1.75 bottle of scotch or vodka every 2 days. This has gone on for years.

Terry August 19, 2010 7:42 am (Pacific time)

My husband of 13 years died 4/13/10 of cirrhosis of the liver. He was an alcoholic. He has been in rehab during his lifetime about 6 to 8 times. His drinking became a really huge problem when he was injured at work in 2006 and he never returned to work since this. He had all day to just drink. My husband had no medical insurance so when the symptoms started, there was really not much we could do for him. I begged him to go to the hospital but he said the body will heal itself. At first, my husband kept saying he thought it was the early stages of diabetes. His blood sugar level kept dropping. He was passing a lot of kidney stones last summer and would get these huge bruises from it. He started losing his energy level last summer also. He got really sick this past January and went into the hospital for a week. At his discharge, he gave me this story about vericose veins around is estopocos (sp?) 3 weeks later (early March, 2010) he ended up in ICU with internal bleeding. He never walked again from that point on. He never came home. He slowly deteriorated and his kidneys also failed along with his liver. My husband knew death was approaching but would put up a front about being excited about the possibility of a liver transplant in July (which would have made the 6 month sobriety). He started saying the rosary and requesting visits from the hospital pastor. He was not a chuch goer before. He never wanted to discuss death with me or what he was feeling. His sister, after his death, blamed me for not getting him the help he needed. I have had to live with this guilt till this day. Reading this article and everyone's comments have helped me understand that I am not the only one that has experienced this situation. Every symptom in this article could have been written word for word about my husband. Thank you for sharing and all the comments do help people heal from the loss.

ams August 18, 2010 12:46 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, we really need to keep this thread alive. I am married to an alcoholic and it is so difficult to watch and understand what they are going through. His mother died from Cirrhosis in her mid-50s years ago - basically drank herself to death - no quality of life to speak of. We really need to build more awareness of this terrible disease and share these stories - it helps so much just knowing I am not alone. I can only pray that my husband stops drinking and can be satisfied with a non-drinking lifestyle. As they say, even one drink is too many for an alcoholic - they need to abstain completely. These stories are raw and real and heartbreaking.

Tara July 25, 2010 9:36 pm (Pacific time)

Im going through this right now with my dad who has spent most of this year in hospital. A number of times he has been found laying in a pool of blood with fear in his eyes and this still is not enough to make him stop and for his daughter to be scrapping him off the bed covered in blood and my eyes filled with fear and heartbreak this is still not going to be enough.I just wait now until i get that phone call that he has gone this breaks my heart.This is a very very sad disease and im so sorry for every person that has felt this pain. Staying strong is so hard to do...

Stuart July 18, 2010 10:53 am (Pacific time)

Many thanks for your story, my father has the disease and getting information from the Doctors is difficult. He has just started to vomit and pass blood so it sounds like the prognosis is not good. He has been drinking heavily for 20 years. If you are young and drinking heavily think of your family and stop!

Pam July 16, 2010 8:23 pm (Pacific time)

I am a 68 year woman and was recently diagnosed with Alcoholic Cirrhosis. I had my first drink at the age of 15 and knew immediately that I was an alcoholic. My doctors tell me that if I have even one more drink, I will die. However, I just don't want to stay away from the stuff. I have the means to go into a long-term rehab facility, but just don't want to that at what I think is my advanced age. I have two incredibly supportive daughters and four grandchildren that I wish I could look to find the inspiration to stay alive and sober; however, it's not happening. Living as an alcoholic is hell!

Yellaled June 29, 2010 1:13 pm (Pacific time)

First, I want to send my true condolences. The death of a husband must be very hard. Secondly, I want to mention that my father died in 1996 of pneumonia, at least that's what the forensics said. However, a couple of years before that he was diagnosed with Cirrhosis to the liver. He was a Vietnam veteran who saw many things that turned him into an alcoholic. My parents divorced because of this and it crushed me every week when he'd call crying, sometimes drunk, wishing he could be with us. I was 17 when he died. This ruined much of my teen and 20's life. I'm 31 now and it still hurts that it's effected my marriage. I am seeking help as I have grown angry towards my husband; in such a way that I caused harm to him recently. I am currently seeking help, looking for a therapist but if anyone knows of a book I may read, please respond. If I lose my husband for something I can not change, I will ruin my life forever. Death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things anyone can experience when it can be stopped. My condolences go out to all of you.

sherry June 7, 2010 10:12 am (Pacific time)


Christine Pontil June 4, 2010 4:05 am (Pacific time)

My father is in the same posture.he started drinking when he was teen and continued in adulthood making his family suffering from his,he's still at the hospital with cirrosis and Dr.said that he has few moment to live.I'm very sad but it's a disease that himself has been searching for.and now,he'll let mum,my sister and I be alone.I dont understand till now,why he drank?I have to be courageous as usual for my family...

Nikki May 19, 2010 9:50 pm (Pacific time)

Everything the author talked about in regards to her husband is my Mom to a T. She started to show the symptoms of Cirrhosis in Feb 2009 and tonight she is in the ICU unit on full life support. I am waiting for my sister to fly back to the state before we remove the life support on Fri. She just turned 57 four days ago. She stopped drinking in Feb 2009 and did ok for a while. Then came the vomiting of blood in Nov 2009. She has been hospitalized since Jan 2009. My mom was an alcoholic and always in denial of it. I lost my Dad b/c of alcohol when I was 13 and now today at 26 I am going to lose my mom. As someone posted earlier, I do not wish this disease on my worst enemey. My world is falling apart.

flt May 14, 2010 6:22 pm (Pacific time)

So sad. My husband is in ICU for a week now. No change for a week. Shouldn't he be better? If he is still yellow, still confused, after a week, still unable to breathe without oxygen, is this it? The dr. says fifty percent mortality over 30 days. What does that mean? If is he definitely done for, I would rather know. We have a 5 year old and I have to prepare her. She adores him.

Ralph May 13, 2010 1:10 pm (Pacific time)

Hi....I just lost my wife to Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis last Monday and it tears you up inside...the last ten days in Hershey were so sad watching her liver, kidneys, and lungs start to fail.....the really sad thing of it all was that one week before her transplant evaluation was completed she did cocaine and was booted from the list.....The pain is so great right now, and thanks to everyone for sharing.......I would not wish this disease on my worst enemy.

JE April 17, 2010 7:47 pm (Pacific time)

Lela...reading your story and the many many replies that have followed really helped me to put things into perspective, to know I am not to blame and to realize that depression played a part in him drowning himself in liquor. I lost my husband of 27 years (he was 56)in October of story is very much the same as yours. I always told him that he was drinking himself into oblivion. There was nothing I could do to prevent the path he was going down...I only wish I could have. My children now have to grow up without their father and I am faced living my life out alone and lonely. I really think if he could have seen how things would go and what it would do to us he would have quit drinking long before he did...(and once faced with the prospect of death~quit drinking so easily, like it was nothing) by then it was already too late, his liver was damaged beyond repair. I am now profoundly devastated, sad and lonely and trying to process what has happened. Thank you for sharing your story in such detail. My thoughts are with you.

Neil April 17, 2010 9:27 am (Pacific time)

I just lost my partner of 13 years. He battled anxiety and depression...and drank wine to try and cope. He did see a psychiatrist for the depression. Meanwhile he was developing cirrhosis unknowingly. He became weaker and weaker, lost weight, and finally developed jaundice. This decline went on for two years. He finally agreed to see a doctor once the jaundice started. But it was two late. He was seen in the ER twice to drain fluid off his abdomen. The second time they admitted him into the hospital were he then went into kidney failure and got ARDS pneumonia and was put on a ventilator. The doctors told us he needed a transplant within 1-2 days, his liver was so far gone, transplant was impossible. He would need to be sober for six months to qualify and he didn't have 6 months. We took him off the ventilator to stop his suffering and he died within two hours. This was 5 days ago and I am grieving for him terribly! Over and over his family and myself would try to get him to go to a doctor. He was sure all his problems was his anxiety and depression his psychiatrist was treating and refused medical doctors. He thought because he drank only wine he would be okay if he could only get on top of his anxiety. Well, he's gone now, and I am left grieving, racked with guilt and loneliness. I will miss his always.

Lela March 17, 2010 5:54 pm (Pacific time)

I am saddened as to how many lives are being taken by this disease. Thanks to all of you for responding to my story. God Bless to all of you and may your strength prevail.

dar March 5, 2010 5:15 pm (Pacific time)

my love of my life and best friend died nov 13 2009 , he drank himself to death at the age of 41. we were together 13 years. rehab 5 times he just gave up didnt want to do it anymore. went to the hospital becuase he was confused, while in there he had a bad bleed, i never sean so much blood. he bled for 2 days in the icu. all the while they keept giving him more blood. and on the 8th day the doctors came in the room and said they could do nothing and that he had 2 weeks to 2 monts left to live. and then he came home and 13 days later he died in our living room on the 13th at 3 13 am. he fell into that toxic coma about 10 hours befor. he was a good man i watched him loose his dad and brother and one sister and me fight kidney cancer within 5 years and he was here for everyone while trying to be sober. but in the end he could not be there for himself!!!!! ill miss him till the day that i die!!!

Ken March 2, 2010 2:23 pm (Pacific time)


Lisa February 26, 2010 12:13 am (Pacific time)

There seem to be a lot of Lisa's on this site. I am the one who posted below on 2/21. There are many signs of liver failure and not everyone seems to have the same. My husband appeared terrible during his 2nd detox/rehab - mental confusion, could not walk, yellow eyes. Then he looked better for a month. Not a lot of jaundice, but a poor gait, itchy, dry skin, sleep habits upside-down and edema of the ankles and feet. Poor nutrition due to drinking takes a big toll. But, he did not have Ascites (pronounced a-sightees, I think) which is swelling of the abdomen. Maybe it was his huge denial, but aside from a headache, he did not seem to suffer much pain in the days prior to his death, thankfully. He was lucid at 3:30 when I left, and gone at 6:00 when I returned. He did have a very bad incident of vomiting blood several weeks prior, but nothing before his death. However, he had extensive medical tests done a few months prior at rehab, and they showed the devastation that drinking had taken on his liver and digestive system. If your ex will not go to the doctor for a diagnoses, then please educate yourself on the internet on Hepatic Failure, Hepatic Liver Disease and the like. With my husband, we all knew he would die if he did not stop drinking, but we all thought we had so much more time left. Even after the doctors from rehab told me to "get my affairs in order". Please do just that: get your emotional affairs in order, get help for your son, and make sure your ex has a will. I am so very, very sorry for you and your family. Please be strong for your son. He will need to know he had no control over this.

Lisa February 24, 2010 5:50 am (Pacific time)

What are the signs of liver failure? My son's father is rapidly going downhill and he does not want any help even when we are offering. This is so sad to watch. My heart aches to watch such a vibrant man deterioate so much in such short time. Thank you all for being here

LIZ February 24, 2010 3:03 am (Pacific time)

Sorry for your loss I am going through this now with my best friend in the world.. 2 yrs of sadness fighting for his life now home with hospice.. this is a brutel death,, god bless all

Lisa February 21, 2010 11:44 pm (Pacific time)

I lost my husband at age 53 to alcoholic liver disease. He has left his children, 18 and 23 fatherless. I thank you for your story Lela, and can relate, sadly, to the women who commented above. I am, myself, in recovery for this disease, but my husband never even took the first step. His parents, in their 80's also are confounded and shattered by this. We tried intervention and rehabs and nothing worked. I left for a meeting and when I returned he was unresponsive in our bed. He had gone to take a nap, and died from liver failure. It was horrible to find him, alone and still in denial, while I had been out and in the company of others seeking a way out. Cirrhoses from untreated alcoholism is an ugly way to die. He was a successful man, a loving husband and a good father till 18 months before the end, when the bottle took over. If you have any concerns about your spouse or your parent drinking too much, then your concerns probably are well founded. Educate yourself well, and know you are not alone or to blame.

Wally February 17, 2010 5:38 pm (Pacific time)

I precious friend died recently from liver one knew that he was an alcoholic...he hid it that well...what started out throwing up blood for 24 hours, ended in death 2 weeks later...47 years old...these comments have meant so much...the loss of appetite, obesity, inability to sleep and a few bumps on the head should have been a sign? We had no idea and his family and friends are devastated...keep writing your stories family members, so that others seeking information and explanations can finally understand...the pain of losing a loved one is devastating enough, not understanding why only magnifies the pain....

Worried Mom February 11, 2010 8:20 am (Pacific time)

My ex-husband, father of my children who are 21 and 25, is in very sad shape now after years of drinking, and the past 6-7 years being in and out of treatment, detox, hospitals, etc. He went in again this week to detox. He is 98 lbs at 5-9, and last 2 trips to the hospital registered .29 BAC. Sounds like he thinks he will "get better". He lost 18 lbs in the past month, has been only out of the hospital a few days at a time for the past 2 months. How can I help my children with this? Should I start looking into funeral arrangments? I just don't know what the best course is other than to try to help my kids. Thank you, and bless you all.

lisa February 8, 2010 3:50 pm (Pacific time)

I am so sorry Annabelle of what you are going through. My son is 21 and watching his father's health deteriorate with excessive drinking has scarred him for life. He really never had a normal father and son realtionship that he so deserved. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do. Your father has to want to help himself...his drinking is more important than his family, work and his life. He is addicted.......we have had many talks with my son's father...he denies he has a problem. He lost jobs...and good jobs that he was presidents of companies. He lost his family now he is losing his health....he is very sick but his mind thinks he is not. Please don't ever blame alcoholic hides behind his is an noose around their necks. I feel for be so young and to watch this. Be strong dear one.......the bottle is more important than anything. I know what you are going is os heart breaking.

annabelle February 7, 2010 8:44 pm (Pacific time)


Lisa February 6, 2010 6:30 pm (Pacific time)

My husband is a heavy drinker. He has lost a lot of weight, is very pale almost a grey cast, has unexplained bruising on his arms, diarrhea, cannot control his urine, hair loss and swelling of the ankles and feet, He really looks like death walking. He refuses to go to the Dr. Does this sound like liver cirrhosis? It is so sad to watch....he is killing himself.

KT January 28, 2010 2:01 am (Pacific time)

My mother just died from her alcoholism. My father and over half of my siblings have drinking problems. We are arguing now about whether to serve alcohol at the reception following my mother's memorial service. Can you believe it? The chief proponent of serving booze is my brother whose own son died from a fatal combination of alcohol and prescription pain meds. Denial is the strongest human trait.

Katie January 28, 2010 1:55 am (Pacific time)

Lela, so sorry for your loss. My mother died on 1-21-10 after years of drinking and being a "functional" alcoholic. She died after vomiting old blood and had been misdiagnosed with a virus the day before (probably did not reveal her drinking history). She made it to seventy-five years old, which seems to me like a miracle. My father is riddled with guilt about her death, he never tried to stop her drinking, because he would have had to stop his own. So many tragic stories. I had my last drink the day Mom died. I wasn't a heavy drinker, but I don't need it or want it anymore.

Maria January 11, 2010 10:00 am (Pacific time)

My mother passes from this terrible sickness. She never drank. Dr's say it was as a result of diabetes II, her weight and age. It was a horrible death. Now I see my husband of 16 years drinking every day. He is yellow around the ice and has a big belly. He is totally in denial. I know he will die from this disease. We are in the process of a divorce. He is making my life miserable in order for me not to go through with the divorce. I know he is sick and am tired of taking care of him. He is an alcoholic who is totally in denial. I feel he wants to bury me with him.

Diane December 28, 2009 10:41 am (Pacific time)

This is such a lonely disease for those that suffer around the afflicted. As of right now – my Dad is dying from alcoholic liver disease. He had several bouts of hepatitis and jaundice since 2007, but always went back to the bottle. He functioned as an alcoholic all of the 30 years I’ve been on this planet. My childhood was explosive and I couldn’t wait to move away from him. He would never listen to me and he never gave me the kind of love a father should give his daughter. The best way we could manage our relationship is if I stayed away. This deeply saddened my mom, but I had to do this for my own mental health. Then in 2006, He couldn’t drive truck anymore because of back surgery. After that he just withered away in his sorrow of not being able to contribute to the world anymore. November 2009, he went to the doctor’s office and had a liver ultrasound done and it didn’t show anything was going on, but doctors continued to advise him to cut his drinking. I know he was lying to them as to how much he drank, I even tried to contact his doctor – but his doctor was old school and semi-retired and very difficult to get a hold of. Plus, I was not on my Dad’s medical release, so his office was really hesitant to talk to me, even though I was only offering information. Then after Thanksgiving this year, my dad’s stomach was engorged with fluids and was rushed to the emergency room to get it drained. He was there for a week and they diagnosed him with end stage liver failure. I think my dad was shocked because his doctors never diagnosed him with cirrhosis, so he thought he could just continue his drinking as normal. He was released to go home even though his bilirubin number was 24 and not coming down (abnormal bilirubin is 12+). Since he’s been home, he has begun to sleep more and remains yellow. He was barely able to stay awake at Christmas to open presents. Now he hasn’t used the bathroom in over 3 days and my mom has called Hospice. I watched my father-in-law die last spring of cancer and some of the things that are going on with my dad now I’ve seen before…staggered breathing, weakness, inability to walk, incoherent. I can’t imagine he has much time…what makes this even harder is I don’t know how I feel about that man! I know alcoholism is a disease and he was beyond the point of help and reason – but when your parent is dying, you go through the filmstrip in your head of all the memories……….many of those memories for me create mixed feelings. I take comfort in that my experience with him has made me into the person I am today – and I feel good about where I am! I just want to be able to let him go without regret…he wasn’t the father I needed, but I forgive him for that and appreciate the few things he did do for me and understand that his anger, unreasonableness, and hurtful acts that were directed toward me were mostly from Mr. King Cobra, Paps Blue Ribbon, and Mr. Johnny Walker. Dad, may you find the peace you never had in this life in the next…..

Vicky Dinkins December 27, 2009 6:19 am (Pacific time)

I wrote a comment on October 9th regarding my 48 year old husband. All efforts to help him realize he was dying fell on deaf ears. He died on December 4th after spending 9 days in the hospital, receiving fluids and 4 pints of blood and spending almost three weeks in a nursing center. What a very sad way to die. My girls and I (22 and 24 years old) are doing well, as we had time to grieve for him over the last several months as we knew he would die. However, his 82 and 84 year old parents still ask, why. It is hard for them to understanding why they have lost a brilliant son who was in the prime of his life. I love him and miss him, but would not bring him back. He received Christ before he died. He is at peace now. His struggle with alcohol is over. I did his eulogy because I wanted everyone to know what a wonderful person he was. Although he died from this disease, it was not who he was. Keep blogging on this site. I read your comments over and over while he was sick. It helped me so much. God Bless.

Regina December 16, 2009 4:52 pm (Pacific time)

I lost my husband 2 months ago from this horrible disease. He was 56 yrs old - too young to die. He had been drinking for 25 years but was a functioning alcoholic. The ironic thing is that he had throat cancer a couple of years ago and with radiation and chemo was cured. He got a second chance at life but it ended with his liver shutting down from all the alcohol. He started bleeding internally and his heart just stopped. I love and miss him so....

AB November 22, 2009 4:54 pm (Pacific time)

I lost the closest person to me. He knew he was alcoholic and attempted to stop drinking but it never lasted too long. He started vomiting blood and I begged him to seek medical attention and he refused. He knew he was sick but he would not see a doctor. How can someone be throwing up blood and not know they are very ill? Hi pissed off everyone close to him at the end. At what point do you walk away from someone who refuses to help themself and just keeps hurting everyone else. Didn't hear from him and had a bad feeling so I went to check on him. He had been dead for 2 or 3 days. I will never be the same. I miss him, love him, talk to him in my head all the time, but I am so angry.

Bob November 10, 2009 11:34 am (Pacific time)

My wife died 3-weeks ago from cirrhosis. It is a horrible way to go. She never coughed up blood nor hemoridged, just lost a lot of weight, stomach swelled, couldn't walk, had jaundice and eventually went into a coma with eyes open, arms moving, heavy breathing and eventual death. It happened within a matter of two weeks.

Lela October 22, 2009 7:56 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for sharing. Your story has helped alot. And thank you for candid explanation of what you two have been going through. I'm so anxious to know everything about this cirrhosis. I'm to the point that I want someone to tell me exactly what's going to happen to us and how and where. But that can't be done.

noname October 22, 2009 7:51 pm (Pacific time)

All the comments were very helpful to me. Can anyone tell me that when the brain is affected by the toxins is that near the end? From Mayo Clinic website, I read that the end is near when the memory is affected. Has anyone got any personal experience as to this question. My husband has been healthy all his life and at age 85, he started to be feeling "not quite right". He's 89 years old and has cirrhosis of the liver. He was only diagnosed this past June '09. Can't figure out where it came from. He drank, but not a lot, and he hasn't had a drink in the past 20 years. Younger years, 20s and 30s, he did drink. Today, he looks fine. Beginning to LOOK somewhat tired, and IS tired all the time. He sleeps about 16 to 18 hours in a 24 hour day. He's slowing down, has a fair appetite. However, these past few days the memory is lost, off and on. Mostly ON. Sometimes he doesn't recognize me and speaks to me about long gone days past, thinking I'm his sister, when he is in fact talking to ME, his wife. He has a DNR and today the doctor disabled the ICD. He still has the pace maker. He's also go a slight case of Parkinsons and has heart problems (double bi-pass) 18 years ago). He was doing gardening until September '09. I'm so confused and can't know how to read his disease. I'm not too savvy with the internet and I should be commenting instead of asking, however, I couldn't post a question. The system wouldn't let me. If anyone can please give me information on some personal experiences or knowledge that you have from studying this disease, I would appreciate it. My prayers are with all who have this disease and those caring for them. God Bless.

Vicky Dinkins October 9, 2009 7:09 am (Pacific time)

Thank you so much for your story. I am at this present time going through this with my 48 year old husband. He is a brilliant man and I have called him a "functional" alchololic for a long time now. He lost his company about 5 years ago and has worked from home since, which has enabled him to be closer to his bottle. He is down to about 125 pounds, yellow and in denial. I had my final conversation with him this week about his health, but he continues to be in denial that his liver is failing. Just like one of the people said to you earlier, I have been planning for his death for a while now. He may be in denial, but I am not. I work in healthcare and understand the consequences. I am now sadly awaiting his death. I will love him forever, but I realize I am not to blame.

no name October 5, 2009 4:56 pm (Pacific time)

You've helped me, but I'm still pondering the end times. My husband sleeps all the time. He's taking lactulose which is to help his brain (memories)which removes the ammonia from the system. He is awake only six hours a day, otherwise he sleeps soundly the other hours. He's got a hearty appetite. However, I ask if he's hungry his reply is "no" but he will eat whatever I make. He's weak, has memory, and is even playful when awake. He teases me by asking "when are we going home?) scares me then he laughs and says the true facts. He knows this is the end and is accepting it very well. He does not talk about the end too much. He's on hospice care. However, he's so programed for hygiene it's as though it were imbeded in his psychi to do this functions. He used to be authoritative, and controlling but now is a cute and loving and thoughtful as a lamb. He's looking out for ME. I'm confused because I don't know what to expect next after this all day, all night sleeping, awake for meals only. Nurse told me to give him his meds and he won't have the other symptom. He did not get this from alcohol but from an infection he had five (5) years ago, and now it's catching up. I feel so lost as to what to do next. I'm hour by hour. To you all suffering with this disease, I send out positive thoughts and profound prayer.

Jay August 31, 2009 12:08 pm (Pacific time)

My husband is 52 and has been a heavy drinker for the 23 years that we have known each other. He drinks 4 large bottles of scotch a week! He is absolutely in denial. I believe he suffers from depression. I think he has symptoms of liver failure. He has been functioning until about a year ago. He sleeps a lot, suffers from nausea, I have not noticed jaundice although his skin does have a slight yellow tone. I feel so alone with no one to talk to. I have two children. And I am afraid he only has a few years left and I want to be prepared. I think it is sick that I am planning ahead for his loss but he refuses to go to the doctor, rehab or anything...saying he just has a few drinks every night. Although, I smell the alocohol at 7:00 a.m.

James August 18, 2009 6:27 am (Pacific time)

I am dying as I type from this "disease" and actually welcome the release.

James August 18, 2009 6:26 am (Pacific time)

I am dying as I type from this "disease" and actually welcome the release.

Charlene July 24, 2009 2:53 pm (Pacific time)

I am dealing with my hubby right now getting bloodwork back saying he had elevated ast when I looked it up it said it was from damage happening to his liver.He drinks everyday and like your husband he is high function.He is the sweetest man ever.The only thing we fight about is my concern for his health from all his drinking.He only drinks beer but probably 70 a week and like your husband says he likes the taste.I just wanted to know what advice anyone has for me before it is too late.I printed this article and put it in the bathroom hoping he will read I doubt he goes back to the Drs.Thanks for your story

Terri-Lynn Lundy July 20, 2009 5:06 am (Pacific time)

Lela,Thankyou for your story,my cousin who is 49 years old is dying as I write I went to visit her a couple of days ago and she seem to be on her way to recovery.I was thinking in a postive wat because I went to visit her yesterday and she was on life support waiting to be moved to a different hospital,I was devestated. I didn't realize she had this problem.I have no idea how her family is going to cope but I'm praying hard because she has 3 children who also lost their father to suicide.I hope others who read these articles understand the seriousness of this disease.

Adelle July 11, 2009 7:45 pm (Pacific time)

My ex-husband is in the ICU dying from this disease. It has profoundly affected my daughter, who is 22 and doesn't want me there to see it. After he did his third stint in medical detox and came home, she had fun mixing him cocktails every night. I anticipate more sadness from this disease.

jeremy michael July 7, 2009 9:04 pm (Pacific time)

im so sorry 4 ur loss. i stumbled upon this because am near death myself and trying to find out how i am going to die . i am so scared i cant stop crying,and i dont know any one to talk to.i wish it could be swift but dont sound like it i am only 37 and diognosed 3 months ago. iam non operable because my red blood cells r to low ,and i wouldnt make it through a surgery. well i guess its time to go.bye bye

jeremy michael July 7, 2009 9:01 pm (Pacific time)

im so sorry 4 ur loss. i stumbled upon this because am near death myself and trying to find out how i am going to die . i am so scared i cant stop crying,and i dont know any one to talk to.i wish it could be swift but dont sound like it i am only 37 and diognosed 3 months ago. iam non operable because my red blood cells r to low ,and i wouldnt make it through a surgery. well i guess its time to go.bye bye

lee July 7, 2009 7:47 am (Pacific time)

to all who have suffered and lost someone near and dear. our family just lost a wonderful man, he was an amazing father,son,brother, uncle,friend and more. the best cook on the planet. he loved animals and was kind and gentle. he seemed to be depressed and was suffering from arthritis and problems walking. perhaps it was his liver shutting down and he become somewhat reclusive. no one really knew. sadly he leaves two beautiful children 16 and 18 who will miss him tremendously. this disease is sneaky and mimics other chronic illnesses, he was truly loved and will be missed and fondly remembered for all he was, which was good.

peggy July 3, 2009 9:37 pm (Pacific time)

my brother 47 yrs old. he is now in hospice....dying from cirrhosis. he quit drinking one and a half years ago when he had an alcoholic seizure. the damage was already done he slowly got worse and worse after recovering from the seizure.....itis very soon now that i lose my baby brother to alcoholism.

Rick Krajewski July 2, 2009 12:13 am (Pacific time)

Lela:I am so sorry for your loss.My brother Glenn died June 3,2009 from a heart attack.He was only 43. Because he died so young and suddenly,they had to find out what he died from. The report from the examiners office told the family that Glenn died from Cirrhosis of the liver. This story hits close to home. Alcohol in Canada is advertized like food. Something need to be done. People around the world need to know that alcohol abuse is out of contol,especially with the youth.

Rick Krajewski July 2, 2009 12:31 am (Pacific time)

Lela: I'm so sorry for your loss. My brother Glenn died June 3,2009 from cirrhosis of the liver. He was only 43 years old. The most tramatic event that I have ever experienced. I live in Lethbridge,Alberta Canada. In this country they advertise alcohol like food. In this country you hear about alcohol related deaths. The numbers don't look good. Our society has become out of control. Addiction has claimed so many people. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm not alone

Lela June 29, 2009 7:44 pm (Pacific time)

I keep coming back to this site to read the comments from you who have read this article.  I am so glad that in some small way I was able to inform of this illness that is so devastating.  Thank all of you for your comments and in sharing the sorrow you are experiencing.  I wish our government would put as much effort into controls on alcohol as it does on marijuana (and I am not a pot smoker).  I have said it before, the worst I have seen from heavy pot smokers (if that is all they are doing) is they get a little too much "laid" back and less energetic, and I have never seen any physical damage.  I wish I could say the same as those who choose to make alcohol their drug of choice.  Again, thanks for your sharing and my prayers to all of you. 

Erika June 19, 2009 10:41 pm (Pacific time)

Lela, this article was amazing. I am 18 years old and four months ago I buried my mom. She drank non stop from for all the time I was born. Reading your story made me realize I am not alone. My mom was also a "functional alcoholic". The last few years of her life were rough. When I was 16 she was arrested for a DUI. This was the first time she had ever been pulled over in all of her 50 years of life. It's a good feeling to know that you also loved your husband, because people think it's weird that I loved my mom. She was my best friend. I knew that she was really sick when I finally forced her to go see her sister in Florida. I forced her out of my house, on a plane, and on Florida land. Honestly, I know that was the best trip of my moms life, she had a blast. I never doubt that the reason she went was to say her last goodbye. Florida made me realize she was loosing her ability to walk. In the airport we were rushing to the gate...with my mom waddling behind. Her health declinded from there. It hurts to know that she missed my high school graduation and my 18th birthday, but I know she is watching somewhere. I really hope you know that your story DOES help people make better descions. Please don't drink!

sunshine June 16, 2009 3:47 pm (Pacific time)

Very touching Lela. Just ended a relationship with an alcoholic. No physical violence yet but very verbally destructive. Alcohol is his GOD. He is psycho! I feel something is about to happen as he is malnutritioned, high BP, mentally unstable, and so on. It is really ugly and scarey and so are the people he is friends with. Very cruel disease. Yes, I believe more attention should be given to alcohol use and abuse as it was tobacco. Maybe its greed.

Ezzerd June 8, 2009 1:05 am (Pacific time)

Gee, I will be dead soon. I am an artist, and am producing my best work, knowing I will be dead soon. I feel it in my heart, I stopped drinking but it is too late. Please don't ever drink! This is not a joke not a joke to me:(

JB May 11, 2009 12:34 pm (Pacific time)

One final thought. It's been a 1 1/2 years since my wife's passing. To this day I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt. The "should have, could have" done more to help her. I tried, I begged her to slow down on the drinking. She wouldn't or couldn't. She did tell me at one point that she did this to herself. To all who wonder how long a end stager has to live. It varies. You don't die of cirrhosis, you die from numerous complications. The day before my wife died I thought she had a pretty good day. She did some cleaning etc. I woke up later that night to her "grunting". She was unresponsive. She coded on the way to the hospital. The worked on her in the er for awhile as I watched. I finally said enough was enough. I knew she wasn't going to come back. Looking at her reminded me of how much this disease changed her. She was down to 98 lbs, about 10 - 15 lbs was in her abdomen. She was yellow from head to toe. She fought hard but, this was too much of a monster for her. So, for everone else with the guilts, you aren't alone. Thank you for this article.

Editor: JB, I let Lela know about these comments and she may be able to respond, thanks for sharing your memories; as painful as they must be I'm sure you help people, thank you.

JB May 9, 2009 9:58 pm (Pacific time)


Zends April 26, 2009 7:49 pm (Pacific time)

my father died last april 17, 2009. the doctor said it was cirrhosis of the liver. we didn;'t know he has it. i remember seeing bruises and my father said he can't sleep at night that's why he drinks liqour. he never complained of any pain even on his last breath. i'm still crying and trying to figure out what happened? i hope daddys all over the world would stop drinking alcohol. it's no good for the whole family.

Julie Miller April 7, 2009 5:29 pm (Pacific time)

Lela, Thanks for sharing your story. My husband has been in the ICU for the past four days due to complications with his alcoholism. He has been diagnoses with cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure. He has been in and out of treatment centers for the past four years and it has been so hard for me and my two kids ages 8 and 10 sit back and watch this slow suicide and realize there is literally nothing that anyone can due to save the alcoholic from this debilitating disease!!

gene March 27, 2009 7:33 pm (Pacific time)

I kept falling down and goining crazy. Then I swelled up. Dr. said Im goining to die. cirrhosis. My employer want work me no moor. Can I get dissabilaty?

Noname February 18, 2009 10:18 pm (Pacific time)

My mother passed away about 3 yrs ago for the same. i was only 17 at the time.i regret so much not being informed about the symptoms. I wish i had. She had a lost look in her eyes. I wiped her last tears. I never thought it would happen to me,never went through my mind my mom was loosing her battle. She was a loving mother. I miss her so much

jenny February 11, 2009 9:32 pm (Pacific time)

thank you for the article u wrote on alcoholism. my father suffered the same as your husband. I was only 18 as I watched my father die. He was so scared.It was horrible to see him that way.The visions of him still haunt me to this day. I am now 30 but will never get those images out of my head.

Myriam February 11, 2009 1:26 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for your history but to late for me my husband is diying for the same. I hope the many people read your history and stop to drink.

Suzanne January 25, 2009 10:25 am (Pacific time)

My beautiful 42 year old husband died on September 6th, 2008 from Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis. If the alcohol industry had the same fight against it that the tobacco industry has, I think there would be far fewer deaths each year. We need to take a hard look about why we glorify alcohol, blame people for becoming addicted, and then have such a lousy support system for them.

Robin Elliott January 21, 2009 5:52 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for sharing your story, Lela. My brother died three weeks ago in pretty much the same way you describe.

lisa September 26, 2008 4:45 pm (Pacific time)

i love your story, i have a friend who is on grave condition in the hospital now, just woke up from a week long sleep, she has already had the vomiting blood and has tranfussions,tapped her 3 times, now can not even walk and may never walk again, too weak, it is very sad thing to see, i who has never had a drink still understands the process of addiction and the disease,not real sure how much time my dear friend has but would love any info someone has,i can see she is in end stage liver, but not sure how long that is, she only stops drinking while in hospital, but soon as she gets out starts up on the vodka again, appox 3 gallon per week, i canot imagine....

tokyo7788 April 26, 2008 1:40 am (Pacific time)

I am the administrator of the forum which provides discussion to patients with liver diseases (hepatitis c, fatty liver, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and NASH liver). You can get much useful information about liver health and share your experiences there. Welcome to visit, As an administrator of liver health forum, I would like to help more people to get rid of liver disease. If you have any question about liver health, pls feel free to contact with us. Our email is

Henry Ruark September 23, 2007 12:40 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Major danger for many is the fact of denial for deep symptoms of depression. That's most helpful part of Beck-approach, esp. with any persons who may, even-only just-possibly, be in beginning stages of Altheimer's--as I happen to know from personal experience with wife of 60 years. Beck-style therapy 20 years ago, unavailable here (then), might well have been extremely helpful, with other approaches we did use. IF anyone knows of Beck-type services here, might wish to share on this open, honest and demo-dialog channel...we need to share such facility while still allowed to do so, and before Constitution is finally Bush-ified or becomes pattern for another in FDR-days, by corporate combine cut off just in time.

Lela September 23, 2007 9:26 am (Pacific time)

T.S. I think my husband was suffering from depression but he would not talk about it or discuss it. When asked he always said he was just fine and happy. I think his drinking was a lifestyle he chose and no one could change him to anything else. Even though I was with him for 18 years, I don't know what his depression could have been about other than it, too, can be something one can be in denial about. I think there could be a story there, too.

Henry Ruark September 23, 2007 8:22 am (Pacific time)

T.S. et al: You are so right re one real cause for alcoholism. I know from experience, NOT mine own; and from ditto, most definitely mine own. In Chicago yrs ago was fortunate enough to interview Dr. Aaron Beck, now-famed cognitive scientist and psychiatrist, soon after his major book was published. The book (and interview) did literally change my life. I recommend information on cognitive therapy as major first step for anyone seeking such help. See Wikipedia for details on Beck's work, winner of Lasker Award in 2006.

T September 22, 2007 2:10 pm (Pacific time)

Lela, I appreciate your sharing this story. I am one of the lucky ones whose father had a drinking problem that did not become as serious as this. The drinking, however, is a symptom. The disease, I believe (at least in my father's case) was depression. Depression is something I feel I inherited from him. What about your late husband? Was he self-medicating depression, as I believe my father did? And what of your children? I hope you add to your story. If you don't yet have these answers, I trust you will seek them out.

Lela September 22, 2007 12:05 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks, Henry. If it can help at least one person, then the pain of writing my story will be worth it.

Henry Ruark September 22, 2007 11:38 am (Pacific time)

Lela: Thank you so much for having the courage and commonsense to share this personal ordeal with all of us. We can thus learn from each other, not only how to cope in such desperate straits, but also how to build strengths and deeper understandings all the way through our community. In this degenerating society we need all the cooperation we can build, simply to survive.

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