Monday, March 15, 2010

My Hepatitis C Story

I am a 55 year old female. I had recently moved and went to get hooked up with a new family doctor. As part of his blood panel he ordered liver enzymes and mine were elevated. ALT was in the 90's. 6 months later he checked again and they were still elevated even more. ALT at 190. HE did the screening test for Hep C and I had it. I have never had any symptoms.

It was of course quite a shock.

I was diagnosed 2/10. Biopsied 3/10- stage 0 to 1, grade 3 . I had been a frequent wine drinker. My doctor thinks I have been infected for a long time but had little progression.

I began treatment 5/10 at a local teaching hospital with a hepatology department.

Before deciding to treat, I had all the concerns everyone has. Will the meds do lasting damage? How bad will the side effects be? Can I still work?
I made it a point to learn all I could. I researched based on my personal odds of clearing the virus and decided to treat now as I have great medical coverage and want to retire soon.

I am genotype 3a so I treated for 6 months. Used Pegasus and RIbiviran 1000 mg ( at my request as this was weight based and the research I have read indicated this would give me the best odds to clear the virus)

I had minimal side effects during treatment. Anemia and fatigue were the most notable. Procrit was used to deal with the anemia. I did not takes any meds for anxiety or depression. I never experienced any of the psychological issues associated with the treatment meds. Most other side effects were annoyances. I just didn't like that the meds made me feel edgy and hyper. I missed only 2 days of work in the 6 months.

So far my treatment appears to be successful. During treatment the virus was undetectable at week 4 so I had rapid viral response and it has remain undetected. I was still clear on my 3 month post treatment tests.

I would do it again if I had to.

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