Saturday, July 3, 2010

Janet’s Story.....................

It was suppose to be a routine annual physical, I got blood taken and I really didn’t think much about it. When his office called and said he wanted to see me, I thought it odd but when we met he said my cholesterol seemed to spike which was unusual for me and we took blood again. So when they called me two days later and asked to see me again, I was suspicious. I never felt tired or run down or had any symptoms I associated with Hep C. I thought only people who used needles got it, so I was angry and dismissive when he told me to see a gastroenterologist and get properly tested, I was convince he was just wrong.

I had a friend who was a doctor at NYU I called her and she recommended Dr Tobias, after checking him out and see how well respected in the field he was, I made an appt to go see him, I was pretty freaked out by this time. I had gone online wanting to be more informed about what this Hepatitis C virus was about and had read so many scary stories on line and statistic I literally thought I was going to die.
I must say going to see a specialist like Dr. Tobias was the best thing I could have done. He assured me I wasn’t going to die anytime soon and say about 80% of his patients find out they are infected like I did. He mapped out what needed to be done – more blood test, and a liver biopsy, which we did about 2 months after my first visit. It was confirmed I had it and was currently at Level 1, the doctor told me about my options which consisted of starting treatment (Peginterferon and Ribovirin) which after learning about it and speaking to a dozen people who had been thru this treatment I decided to hold off, it seemed very toxic to me and the side effects too great. Again I’m feeling fine and hadn’t had any symptoms so the idea of under going thru such a treatment for a year wasn’t appealing. Dr Tobias was patient with me, he knew I wasn’t in any danger and I saw him very few months and he monitored my blood.

I decided to do what I could to help myself, I stopped drinking (not that I was a big drinker but even socially) I started eating better and upped my work out schedule

and tried to not get too stressed out (stress effects the liver). I looked into homeopathic solutions and started a regiment of taking Sho-Saiko-To three times a day an herb that showed some promise, not as a cure but to help the liver function properly. Did that for over 3 years and while my liver didn’t get any worse and my ALT level stayed normal I decide after my second biopsy last summer to go off and see if there was any change, there wasn’t so I’ve been free of any supplements for almost a year now.
My recent biopsy last summer showed that the virus has spread and now I’m a level 2.

I’ve started discussions with my doctor about treatment and there are a lot of new drugs that show a lot of promised that will be available in the fall of 2011. These new treatment show a greater chance of me clearing the virus (80%) as opposed to 50 – 60% of the current treatment.
I’m not under any illusions that it will be a walk in the park but I’m prepared and I have a great support group of friends and family, co workers around me. I would love to have this behind me and have met so many wonderful people who have recovered by Hep C and have gone on to lead healthy lives.

If I can suggest to anyone first leaving of their having Hep C – you yourself a service and get to a good doctor, ask around there are support groups and online forums. Staying in your head worrying about the “what ifs” is scary, get the facts and seek help. There’s lot of new drugs on the horizon that can help.


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