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Just found out 4 days ago. All her dr will say is stay away from salt and have her labs checked once a month. And that there is no cure. At least that's what mom says. I wasn't able to attend her doctor visit. My family thinks she needs to be taken to a major hospital like U of M for treatment, immediately, but they live out of state and are wanting me to carry out all of their wishes. I told them that I will do the best I can, but I am a single mom, and i work full time. I cannot take time off from work or I could lose my job. I have a mortgage to pay and a daughter to support. I live 5 miles from my mother. Her husband is clueless so he can't even really be considered, as far as my mother's care is concerned. I am not my mother's MPOA. Nobody has been appointed that, yet. I guess my question is if anyone has dealt with someone with cirrhosis and does she need to be taken to U of M Hospital for care? or is what her doctor told her all that can be done? I should add that she also is battling with diverticulitis and is in need of a hip replacement, but can't get it because of the infection. Thanks in advance for your replies.

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I suspect she has had this for a long time and wonder why it hasn't been diagnosed sooner. Reason being, she has had a distended abdomen for 2 or 3 years. Mostly, we just thought she was overweight because she is (actually was) a big lady. Now that the diverticulitis has caused her to lose a lot of weight it is obvious that she has ascities. She lost some weight a few years ago and just like now, her arms and legs got thin, but her abdomen always was distended. My brothers, who live out of state are insisting she be taken to ER for treatment. She refuses to go. She has a tremendous fear of being alone and she fears we will drop her off at the hospital and leave her there alone. No amount of reasurance that this will not happen can convince her that this is not true. Pam, I agree with you that the diverticulitis is the most urgent issue at this point. She cannot eat with it making her stomach hurt, and everything goes right through her. She is weak from malnutrition. Her doctor saw her this past week and didn't say a word (according to her) about her obvious weight loss. I know i need to go to her doctor visits. I already told her that. She has no scheduled appointments, but I will call and schedule one tomorrow. It usually takes 2 weeks to get in. That is why my brothers are pressuring me to take her to ER. Do you think this is necessary?
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I would be more worried about the diverticulitis infection at this point. Battle one thing at a time. Go with her to doctor visits, get her to sign a Health Care Proxy form at his office. Take a pad & pen and take notes, ask questions, track meds, tests, etc. Old people won't question an MD, but you can do it.
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My dad had cirrhosis and died of end stage liver disease (ESLD). As captain said, he limped along for a few years having his liver function tests (LFT's) checked until the illness became acute. When that happened his liver had difficulty filtering out the toxins in his body so he would have to have a paracentesis done. This is done on an outpatient basis where the Dr. drains off the fluid in the body. Once this was done he could go a short time before he had to have it again however once we started having this done the time between drainings became shorter and shorter. A paracentesis is a Band-Aid, not a cure.

After about 6 months of this, as his medical POA, I made the decision to discontinue these procedures and called hospice. Paracentesis is very hard on the body and my dad was filling up almost as fast as they could drain him. Within days it was determined that the toxic fluid was affecting his brain (hepatic encephalopathy). He died less than a week later.

It might comfort you to know that at no time during my dad's cirrhosis was he in any pain. Even when the fluid built up all he felt was bloated. He got very sick very fast. We only had hospice for 6 days before he died, that's how fast he went downhill.

The one thing your mom is going to have to be mindful of is new medication. Any time she sees a Dr. or goes to the hospital she's going to have to inform them that she has cirrhosis because many meds are metabolized in the liver and since your mom has liver disease she'll have to take meds that don't metabolize in the liver.

Good luck to you and your mom.
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cirrhosis is not necessarily a death sentence . many people limp along with cirrhosis for 15 - 25 yrs . there are several treatments that reduce the severity of the symptoms as the disease progresses .
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