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How much damage really?

Old 12-01-2019, 10:58 PM
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How much damage really?

Sorry if this has been asked before. I am struggling mentally and waiting to see a counsellor. I am a 43 yr old female.

In my 20s I was a heavy drinker at university. Went overseas in my early 20s living a wild expat life - heavy smoker, very heavy drinker. High functioning party lifestyle. Always hungover. I was always the 'tough' girl in the group - sporty, rough Aussie country girl.

Almost daily drinker in late 20s-early 30s but not as heavy. Sometimes binged. Stopped completely when pregnant and breastfeeding.
Have been very drunk only once in past six years, tipsy a few times.

For the past few years being a worker, student, mother, have about 10-12 wines max a week to "destress" and justify it by "me" time. Realised a month ago I was an idiot and have completely stopped and am certain I won't drink again. I am a very healthy eater and very fit and active - martial artist, marathon runner.

Terrified about the damage I have done and increased cancer risks.

Been getting check ups - all blood tests have been excellent as they have always been past few years. Kidney, bladder, reproductive organ ultrasounds all good (was checked for weak pelvic floor as I am a weightlifter). Have mammogram this week, gastroscopy and ear nose, throat specialist next week. Have had mucus and lump in throat for months. Hungry all the time.

I am bordering on self hate for potentially leaving my kids while young because of my stupid lifestyle before. I read so many articles about how my risks of cancer are higher. I cannot believe what an idiot I have been not even realising the long term damage of my drinking. It is like a different person.

Am I just doomed? I want to move on and enjoy with my family but I feel like a ticking time bomb. I will talk to the counsellor but wondering if anyone can help ease my fears.
Thank you.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:27 PM
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Hi tbh

I wish I could say that I'm some kind of medical clairvoyant or something and that I know absolutely for certain you'll be fine.

I can't do that tho - noone can.

I drank a lot - at the end I was an day drinker.

It seems inconceivable to me that I not only survived that but I've lasted 12 years beyond me quitting with so little damage from all that foolishness.

I know people who did not drink as much or as long as I did who sadly are no longer with us.

I feel very privileged yet profoundly humbled to have this second chance when others have not.

I think there's something to be said for living each day like it was your last - not in a macabre way, but a joyful one.

Live your life like there's nothing seriously wrong with you because, in all likelihood, there's probably not..

Forget about the guilt and the shame that have you looking over your shoulder waiting for a price to be paid.

Many of us have already paid that price simply by the hell that ended with us ending up here.

Hug your children, love your husband and follow your dreams.
This fear of bad news will fade in time, I promise.

D
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:07 AM
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Great advice - thank you
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:28 PM
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I had some terrible anxiety after I quit too, health anxiety specifically. I found that I actually needed help with that too as anxiety is a potential health issue itself.

Regarding the "what if's" though....as Dee says we can't change what's already happened. You've made a great decision to quit and it will certainly benefit your health and many other areas of your life. Focus on that if you can and move forward....talking to a counselor would be a great idea too.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:40 PM
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I am sorry you are suffering debilitating anxiety and fear. Not sure how anyone here can ease them. Hopefully your doctors will tell you that you are fine and hopefully you'll come away reassured about your health.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:42 AM
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I am the same age and similar drinking history. For me, the fear of damage was at the forefront in early sobriety, it has substantially decreased the longer I am sober. I celebrated 2 years in October.
I think it is hard when you have kids, it's pretty horrifying how we really played with fire.
Time heals most, quitting drinking has immediate and positive results. I quit smoking and started eating better, doing yoga... Of course I had a donut for breakfast, with twizzlers for dessert, BUT in my defense I was outside, dawn to dusk from Friday until yesterday, including during the weekend storm, doing manual labour, so I need the fluff to stay warm. Plus my long undies are getting loose.
Hang in there, you have a pretty extensive work-up with your doctor in progress. We can change almost everything with time and tweaks to our lifestyles if we stop and stay stopped in time.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:45 PM
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Maybe I am missing something, but reading your original post, I dont see what is causing you the severe anxiety?

I dont see what you have done that is such big risk.

My mother always said that we should stop worrying because we all worry about things that never happen.

Stress and anxiety itself is so bad for us, I hope you find some peace.

X
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I am mostly concerned due to my ongoing throat issues which are worsening and I have absolutely convinced myself I have cancer. Still waiting to see a specialist and the wait is horrendous. I canít even buy my kidsí Christmas presents as I feel like Iím going to have to tell them soon Iím dying.

Dropsie, the severe anxiety is coming from almost a decade of heavy binge drinking and smoking then another decade (minus some time in between) drinking at the upper level of moderate.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tbh2002 View Post
Thanks for the replies. I am mostly concerned due to my ongoing throat issues which are worsening and I have absolutely convinced myself I have cancer. Still waiting to see a specialist and the wait is horrendous. I canít even buy my kidsí Christmas presents as I feel like Iím going to have to tell them soon Iím dying.

Dropsie, the severe anxiety is coming from almost a decade of heavy binge drinking and smoking then another decade (minus some time in between) drinking at the upper level of moderate.
Throat issues can be many different things other than cancer: usually, itís a person doing something (diet, drinking, smoking) to chronically irritate the esophagus, pharynx or upper respiratory tract. Jumping to the conclusion that itís cancer is something alcoholics do. We all do this in early sobriety: although Iíd say 80 percent of us are sure we have total liver failure and 20 percent of us are convinced we have cancer.

Then, the vast majority of us find that our health is fine. Sometimes we get a person or two here with liver failure or cancer. Iíd say since I started here in 2017 Iíve read two posts where the person had liver failure and one where they had cancer. Thatís out of hundreds, maybe even a thousand posts Iíve read.

The ďlump in throatĒ google term is popular. Because ďlump in throatĒ is also a symptom of...you guessed it....anxiety.

Just pay attention to the odds here. Remember that most people who have symptoms arenít facing imminent death, try to rest, and find out more from your specialist (an ENT I assume).

Breathe.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:43 PM
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Just as a bit of an anecdote I was having throat problems this time last year - I had all the worst case scenarios...turns out it was 'fan throat' (it's summer here) - the fan air was drying out my throat.

I realise it's not summer there - just trying to share that not everything has a serious or terminal cause

D
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dropsie View Post
Maybe I am missing something, but reading your original post, I dont see what is causing you the severe anxiety?

I dont see what you have done that is such big risk.

My mother always said that we should stop worrying because we all worry about things that never happen.

Stress and anxiety itself is so bad for us, I hope you find some peace.

X
This was my reaction. Not seeing it...

Doesn't seem to me like what you've done is so high risk. I'm glad you've stopped drinking and are happy with that decision but based on what you've described it seems doubtful to me that you've caused yourself severe damage somehow.

Hopefully your doctors can reassure you so you find some peace.
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