Saturday, August 20, 2011

Alcohol and Liver Disease

So many documentary programmes these days seem to deal with the subject of alcohol, alcoholics and abuse of alcohol. I know a lot of the families who have been through what we have been through are very angry that some people go through it by 'choice' when, in our case, it was genetic. I don't feel that way although I do understand why some people do.

But I just have to get it down somewhere, get it out of my system, that it's so incredibly frustrating to see. It doesn't make me angry, it makes me sad. I want to go to each and every person who is binge drinking and feel they have it under control, or those who are where they are just because of a boozy lifestyle, and show them what we went through. I want to show them what they are going to put their family through in the future, how those around them may suffer even more than the drinker because it's so unbearably painful to watch someone you love suffer so much. I want to show them photos of Bethany with tubes coming out of her body, explain how she will always have to take medication to keep her alive, how she has to be so careful of infection and has a restricted diet, how it's weakened her body and how the drugs she has to take can further weaken the body causing various complications.

I've never been a person to say, "You've only yourself to blame." Everyone travels their own path and no one knows what it's like. I remind myself that if the worst you've ever had is a cold then a cold feels just awful and that if my friends complain about something I feel is trivial then it's still important to them. I think some people have stronger personalities than others. I could be an alcoholic if I wasn't so pig headed! Everyone has a vice, my present one is crisps! But seriously, it's not the fact that they are drinking or that there could be blame that hurts, it's that I know what they are about to go through and that it can be avoided. Some of us didn't have that chance.

I often wish I had the chance to speak to people on adult liver units and explain what lies ahead if they dont stop. I appreciate that some people don't want to be helped and some desperately do but will never get to the stage of being free of alcohol. I appreciate that I might not make any difference at all. But I think, as with the organ donation awareness too, if I make a difference to one life then it's worth it. My heart aches for those who have either a transplant or a slow and painful death ahead of them due to alcohol. My heart aches for the families who are going to watch them die. My heart aches for all of those affected including the staff on the ward who live it every day. My heart aches for us because we didn't have a choice and that's why I wish I could take that away for someone else before it's too late.

Next time you joke about alcohol, about how funny it is that your liver hurts because you had such a good night or how you need to detox because you've drunk so much this week please remember that someone could be listening or reading who knows all too well the consequences and aches to show you that your joke isn't funny. It hurts. And please remember that you can't always fix a broken body, you don't want to find out too late that this also applies to you.


evieg1983 said...

Completely agree, our adopted daughter has multiple lifelong health and learning disabilities due to foetal alcohol syndrome, her birth mother drunk every day through her pregnancy and continues throughout each subsequent pregnancy. So, a different angle but similar frustrations!

pippinsmum said...

I can't pretend that I can share your pain, but having caught hepatitis A in my 20s I know how ill liver disease can make one feel. I felt I was dying, and it was almost a relief when the Doctor diagnosed me. I had lost a lot of weight, constantly vomited, had pain, could barely eat, and had a month off work, probably not long enough really. Two months later I could no eat cream, or drink alcohol without feeling ill, not that I ever was a heavy drinker. The problem is people think that they are invincible, then they become dependent. It even happens to supposedly intelligent students. Alcohol is a drug, and should be used wisely. I was upset when George Best wasted his gifted liver, but he was an addict.
Someone in our last church was a recovering Alcoholic, and it was his personal faith in Jesus that kept him going. Young people today need the gospel more than ever before.

ruby said...

Thanks for sharing it.

Barrretts said...

My dad has PSC. Not caused by alcohol at all since he's never had a drink. We have known about his liver disease for 8 years...but it's gotten so much worse this past year and he is now in need of a transplant. I think one of my worries is that he will be judged as a drinker even though it's not true. Not that I should even care what other people think...anyhow!
visit his blog at
we'd be happy for any insight you have to liver transplants and what to expect.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just added this blog to my rss reader, great stuff. Can't get enough!

health and wellbeing said...

Consult with a health provider for alternatives if necessary and ensure that multiple medications will not add to your risk.

Nigel Burrell said...

Good to see the blog revived, Sam :o) Nice to know that the girls started their sponsored silence off well, the odd word doesn't count! ;o) All the best sent out your way from the East of England :o)

Nigel xxx