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51 days sober and worried

Old 05-16-2018, 02:46 PM
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Unhappy 51 days sober and worried

Hi everyone, first time posting here.

I don't want to post a whole personal history or anything so I will try to keep it short and sweet. I started drinking in college - around 21, it was just on the weekends. It slowly progressed into an every day thing. I'm now 33 years old and have just stopped drinking.

It's been 51 days and I would be very much surprised if I ever had another drop because I've been so scared straight by what's happening in my body right now.

Thanks to an ultrasound I am diagnosed with fatty liver and had a fibroscan that said I have the first stage of fibrosis - 7.6 on the scale. My doctor told me it will be fine and it's reversible as long as I continue not drinking.

However, I am dealing with the following symptoms:

- Continuous dull pain/discomfort on my right side under the rib cage.
- Frequent urination (every 30 mins + several times a night)
- Occasional groin pain, especially in the right testicle
- Some itching in sole of foot and palm of hand with no rash
- Muscle twitching - mostly at night when trying to sleep
- Bubbling/gurgling sensation on right side near liver

I also was getting a bad taste in my mouth like bile sometimes but that has gone away now. My blood pressure also spiked for a couple weeks but that's also back to normal.

I've been in to emergency rooms or immediate care places a dozen times and had every test done short of a biopsy. My liver function tests and blood tests always come back normal.

My doctor says I will be fine and it is at a stage that is reversible as long as I keep not drinking. I am not overly confident with her, though.

I have read about some crazy stuff happening when your body is getting used to not having alcohol but I get terrified some nights thinking I'm dying and they can't find what's really going on.

Are these symptoms normal after 7 weeks of not drinking? Will they go away eventually?
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:56 PM
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Welcome to SR timm 😊

You are past the acute withdrawal phase at 7 weeks sober so I think if you're not satisfied with your doctor a second opinion might be a good idea? Nobody here can give medical advice.

Congratulations on your sober time! The liver is an amazing organ, that's for sure...will you have repeat testing down the track once you're sober a bit longer?

Keep posting!
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:16 PM
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Thank you - Yes I'm going to see a different hepatologist in a few weeks.

I've had the same blood tests done over and over for 2 months and plan to keep doing them until this pain goes away or someone tells me my liver is fine.

I'm a bit of a hypochondriac so when I actually have something wrong I sort-of go to pieces. I just want to feel normal again.
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:29 PM
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I had the bile taste for like 9 months at least after stopping but I had it bad while drinking for a solid year or so as well.

Everyone recovers differently but I experienced those symptoms for longer than 7 weeks myself. I also was told by the dr I was at the start of liver disease and needed to quit.

I'll add black tarry stools to the mix, those went away after a few months though.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:01 PM
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I feel better physically each day that passes. Now mentally I have a long way to go however that will come with time. Ask your doctor if you're physically able to start an exercise program. If so you will be amazed at how much better you will feel as your body heals.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:08 PM
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ooh

Oh man that's so great to hear someone else has experienced this stuff during recovery. Do you recall about how long did it take before they went away?

I haven't had any tarry stools, just a bit of diarrhea after i eat something greasy i find. My stomach is definitely much more sensitive now in general, though.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:11 PM
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exercise

I never stopped exercising - I kept myself in pretty decent shape despite drinking heavy all the time. I've been swimming or running or playing basketball 5 days a week, thinking about trying 6.

I do seem to get some relief from heat - if I go in the sauna or the steam room or a hot tub the abdominal pain goes away a bit.

Maybe working out heats you up internally and helps in the same way?
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:01 PM
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Hi and welcome Timm

I've experienced not all but most all of that, so if you're trusting the docs you've seen so far, I'm guessing time and abstinence, exercise and diet will probably take care of the rest?

D
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:24 PM
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Hi Dee - thank you, that's comforting to hear. I have spent so much time and money on tests thinking it may be something else - it makes sense that it's related to the liver and recovery, though.

I'm not thrilled with my general doctor but I've seen/spoken to like 30 others through all this and none of them seemed really worried about my prospects.

I'll try to relax and trust it will go away with time and lifestyle changes.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:58 PM
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Keep in mind 12 years of boozing won't turn around in a month and a half, but that is a great thing you have been sober!
Things will get better little by little. Stay clean, keep up with your docs, and all should be fine.
You may also want to consider seeing a therapist if you aren't already for the mental health issues as well as support for your continued sobriety.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:37 AM
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A key difference between a hard drinker and an alcoholic is that the hard drinker can stop without too many problems if they have a good enough reason like the a warning from a doctor. I can't tell which type of drinker you were from the information provided. Drinking too much for too long does not necessarily make you alcoholic. What might be an indicator for you is how life goes without the booze.

Essentially, if booze was the problem and you just stop drinking, maybe with a little help, life should just get better, and your physical symptoms will clear up with help from the doctor.

If you are alcoholic and you stop drinking without doing anything to treat the alcoholism, you may well find life generally gets worse, and the anxiety and depression may conspire to agravate physical symptoms.

Only time and experience will tell.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by timm84 View Post
Oh man that's so great to hear someone else has experienced this stuff during recovery. Do you recall about how long did it take before they went away?

I haven't had any tarry stools, just a bit of diarrhea after i eat something greasy i find. My stomach is definitely much more sensitive now in general, though.
glad you are here and shared.

IME, significant PAWS (do you know about it? 51 days is not very long in the spectrum of a decades long drinking career - see www.digitaldharma.net and click on the PAWS tab) was my reality for a LONG time. Pretty much all the symptoms you describe and more (though my danger area was liver, not pancreas). Another good book - though from an AA-approved publisher, but it is not about AA really- is Living Sober, which outlines the common experiences of the first year of sobriety.

It was a little frustrating when folks told me "time takes time" but it is sure true, IME and IMO. I have a good team of drs- with whom I am honest, not saying you aren't- and I'vs also observed that everyone's experience is different and in a lot of ways my physical one is extreme.

The only solution I found (find) is to keep sober. When I started that (and continue- I am 27 mo now) we were able to see what my real problems were (medically speaking here) and treat them without the conflating of symptoms.

Best to you.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:27 AM
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Hi - I guess I'm still figuring that part out for myself.

I don't feel tempted to drink at all right now, but that's pretty easy when I'm physically feeling bad. I relapsed after 19 days when I started feeling better, but that was before I found out I have fibrosis.

I've been going to therapy sometimes but it's been difficult to go consistently because all of my money has been going to doctors and tests, etc. Now that I know it's liver-related I can focus more on mental health, hopefully.

I can say that my anxiety definitely makes the symptoms worse - the first few weeks were brutal for the muscle tremors - I went without sleep a few nights because I kept flinching right on the cusp of sleep. That seems to have improved with time, though.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:31 AM
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Hi - I've googled everything related to this a dozen times so I'm familiar with PAWS. I thought I was out of the time period for that kind of thing but I guess not.

Reading a full book would be more helpful, I'm sure. Thanks for the recommendation.

I've had my pancreas and gallbladder and stomach and colon all tested and everything came back fine. So, I have to assume everything I'm experiencing is liver-related.

The anxiety/depression is tough but I know drinking is only going to make things worse.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:12 AM
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Welcome Timm, in my experience (and I am a frequent exerciser), the random abdominal issues and things that feel like liver pain can last for up to a year. Think about the liver: when you quit, it is still enlarged, less efficient than it should be at processing fats, in particular, and is heavy. When you run or do other activities, the liver jostles around and sometimes strains the ligaments/connective tissues that hold it in place. Basically the old "stitch in the side". I think half the battle is just putting that puppy on a diet, reducing its bulk, and just working off the visceral organ fat (which alcohol obviously fosters) in general. Organs need TLC.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by timm84 View Post
Oh man that's so great to hear someone else has experienced this stuff during recovery. Do you recall about how long did it take before they went away?

I haven't had any tarry stools, just a bit of diarrhea after i eat something greasy i find. My stomach is definitely much more sensitive now in general, though.
Letís just say a year. Things started lessening in waves but theyíd come back. Had to take long acting antacids for 13 months but stopped now. 9-12 months things started to change. 12-15 months things really changed.


I had huge mental things with paws as well. That first year was hard. Hardest thing Iíve experienced. Diharrea in waves the whole time. The waves slowly dissipated for me and got less and less over time.

Scary stuff for sure. Itís the fear of death thatís driving me. I have just over 15 months now. Had a few slips at ~60 days. Donít be like me. That made withdrawal worse. And when I say slip I mean full on relapse.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:39 AM
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wow. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.

A couple times when I have been swimming hard the abdominal pain got to be too much and I had to stop. I also notice that when I eat anything deep fried the next day the pain is worse and nausea really comes on bad.

I've cut a lot of the garbage food out but still get INTENSE sugar cravings from time to time. I know that's my body craving the sugar I used to get from booze but it's real tough to ignore some days.

Trying to be more disciplined with my diet. It's definitely a battle.

Do you have any thoughts on coffee? I know it's good for your liver but sometimes I feel like it aggravates my symptoms.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tekink View Post
Letís just say a year. Things started lessening in waves but theyíd come back. Had to take long acting antacids for 13 months but stopped now. 9-12 months things started to change. 12-15 months things really changed.


I had huge mental things with paws as well. That first year was hard. Hardest thing Iíve experienced. Diharrea in waves the whole time. The waves slowly dissipated for me and got less and less over time.

Scary stuff for sure. Itís the fear of death thatís driving me. I have just over 15 months now. Had a few slips at ~60 days. Donít be like me. That made withdrawal worse. And when I say slip I mean full on relapse.
I had one relapse after 19 days when I started feeling better - did a 5-day binge which I fully, fully regret now. That will not be happening again.

That's a very long time but it's comforting to know it does get better.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:38 PM
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This might be a bit far fetched, but you mention you are quite active with sports. I ache in the liver area after several days of golf in a row. (I'm a right handed golfer). I keep poking on it, which makes it worse. Anyway, after a couple of days rest, it goes away. I'm thinking my issue is muscular, as my liver function tests were all normal 3 weeks ago. Perhaps yours is too.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:40 PM
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Yeah, I had considered that the abdominal pain might be muscular/skeletal and it particularly hurts when someone pokes at my lower rib.

Still, I don't think that would explain all the other symptoms I'm having. I'm peeing like crazy all the time and itching in weird places that are totally nowhere near the right flank.

I really don't know that much about it, but I have read that liver function tests can be normal even if you have advanced cirrhosis sometimes. I think that would have shown up on the ultrasound or ct scan, though and the fibroscan only said first stage of fibrosis.
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