Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Loretta's Story

I won’t be starting treatment for another month, but this is my story so far.

Was a heavy drinker for the last ten years. One day in May, 2009, I began vomiting blood heavily and ended up on a life flight to a larger hospital as I live in a small community. Was diagnosed with an ulcer and Hepatitis C. Came home and went on the wagon, and found a good Doctor.

I have had this virus for at least 20 – 30 years – I am 60 years old. Had a biopsy that showed cirrhosis with grade 3 inflammation-not good. Biopsy also showed a hereditary disorder called Hemochromatosis that also can cause cirrhosis. So my poor liver had a triple whammy with the drinking, Hep C and the Hemo. The treatment for the Hemochromatosis (your liver hangs on to too much iron) is phlebotomy which is old fashioned “blood letting”. I have been doing this weekly for three months, but it is working, so will start treatment next month. The extra iron would interfere with the treatment drugs. I will be on the weekly interferon shot and daily ribovarin pills for a year. My chances of “clearing” the virus are only 40 to 50%, but I have to go ahead because of the cirrhosis. I have no idea where I got this virus, but I have to just “deal” with it now the best I can. I have a lot of company as people in my age range are just discovering they have the virus.

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