Cirrhosis: Phil's story 

Many of us enjoy a drink in the pub after work without realising how social drinking can damage health. Phil didn't realise the harm his alcohol intake was doing until he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He talks about his experience and the shock he felt at being diagnosed.

Find out how to prevent cirrhosis

Transcript of Cirrhosis: Phil's story

I used to quite often after work just pop in the pub,

have a couple of pints before I went home.

I wasn't a heavy drinker.

Yes, I mean, I drank more than my parents or my partner.

But I didn't drink as much as a lot of my friends.

I was relatively aware of what a unit of alcohol was.

But you tend to push it to the back of your mind to a certain degree

because most of us do something in life we know isn't good for us.

I think you tend to lie to yourself a little bit about what you're doing.

I was getting some pain underneath my ribs.

I was aware that the liver would be affected by alcohol

but just getting pains, sitting at your desk or leaning forward.

I was trying to kid myself

it was trapped wind or hiatus hernia or something,

without looking at the obvious thing that it was probably alcohol related

and my liver was starting to swell.

The day that I became ill

to the point that I knew there was something seriously wrong with me,

it was a Monday evening, and I went to the toilet

and had diarrhoea that was of a colour that suggested there was blood in it

and then vomiting copious amounts of fresh blood

which wasn't a pretty sight, obviously.

At that point, I knew then that there was something seriously wrong.

Because my blood was very toxic in effect to my brain,

things became very blurred, and from that evening,

I don't recall anything until waking up in intensive care five weeks later.

It was explained to me that I'd very nearly died.

My parents and partner had been told that it was likely I was going to die.

So I was very, very lucky.

I had no concept at all of what liver disease would do to me.

I was aware there was a such a thing as cirrhosis of the liver.

I didn't know it meant

I'd have all these after effects that I'm still suffering from.

I'm more prone to cancer of the liver now because of my illness.

I may well, down the line, need a liver transplant

which is a massive operation.

It is something I wouldn't wish anybody to go through.


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