Operation “Ditch the Bag of Cement” Update

I keep getting smaller – yipee ya hooie! Starting at 257 back on January 19th I weighed in today at 220.8 – 36.2 pounds less! I did not want to say, but I weighed 269 pounds back yonder last year. The heaviest ever – yikes 48 plus pounds of that person is gone! I am close the removing that ole bag of cement. I feel so much better and have way more energy.

Just felt like bragging today! Hope I did not jinx myself… haha

HCV Treatment Six Month Update (Final Update)

HCVposter.jpgYesterday I received the best news I could about my 48 weeks of HCV treatment. Six months after being off the medicines the virus is still undetectable. That means I have achieved a sustained virologic response SVR! That was the goal of the treatment. See this article for more info on this:  What Is a Sustained Virologic Response or “SVR”? SVR is a good thing. Studies have shown that with a six-month SVR (which means no detectable virus in your blood for six months after finishing treatment), relapse occurred in only 1-2% of patients. So, for every 100 people who finished treatment and attained SVR, the virus will return in only 2 of them.

A big thank you to all my praying friends who through the past 18 months have prayed to the Lord on my behalf. Thank you to my family and especially my wife Carol for your untiring support during this long and trying treatment. Most of all thank you to God who showed me mercy! You see treatment for hepatitis C is notoriously difficult, and the side effects are so debilitating that many patients decide to stop therapy rather than endure the consequences. In addition, treatments are curative in less than half the people who receive them. I was able to finish with God’s help. Thank you Jesus!

What is next? I need to do as all of us need to – eat healthy foods, get some exercise and stay away from stress!

HCV 3 Months Post Treatment Results

Hello my friends. I will get right to it. I have great news to report. I am still undetectable after 3 months! I went in 2 Mondays ago, but just received the results late this week. The lab lost some of my blood. Man, it was enough to have to wait the 4 days for the results but they added 6 more days to the wait. It was worth it though as the virus has not come back. In 3 more months I get tested a final time, if still undetectable I have reached SVR and have a 97% change of it never coming back. They say I am one of the lucky ones (only 35% or so are successful with the treatment) but I know better. I fully acknowledge it has been because of prayer, prayer that some of you have joined in with me on and for that I thank you.

Operation “Ditch the Bag of Cement” – week 1 results

Dad and Hannah at Letchworth State Park 2004 I made it through the first week of my quest to get back in shape and loose weight. If ya recall I started at an embarrassing 257 pounds and I am glad to report that today, 1 week later, I weighed in on the scale at 249 pounds. So there goes a couple shovels of the “bag of cement” off my belly and back.

Thanks for those who have shown support for me in getting my health back in order after the long 2009 I had on some strong medicines.  I have a long way to go, but remained determined. At age 50 and having a 2 year old son running around the house I just have to (Lord willing). I would love to see him grow up serving the Lord Jesus Christ and he needs proper training along the way, of which I am responsible for.

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Operation “Ditch the Bag of Cement” begins today

Dad and Hannah at Letchworth State Park 2004 After a year of sitting around doing nothing but suffering from the side effects (flu like) of 48 weeks of my HCV treatment I have acquired an embarrassing bag of cement around the middle of my torso 😎 ‘er I should just say it – I am fat! Today marks the beginning of a mission: “Operation BeFit” or as the title of the post says “Operation Ditch the Bag of Cement.”

I weigh in at an totally embarrassing weight of 257 pounds. My goal is 205 by year end and <225 by summer camp in July. I am off to a good start, walked on the treadmill this morning for 30 minutes for a distance of 1.5 miles. It is a start. May I a year from now look like I did in 2004 as the picture with my daughter Hannah on the left reveals.

One more update on my 48 weeks of treatment for HCV

It was a long 48 weeks for sure but the end has come. I took my last pills the day before Christmas Eve. It was a great Christmas present to be med free. I still felt like I had the flu for a week or so after that. I feel great now! My energy is back. The brain fog that I had has cleared up and my mind is racing two zillion miles an hour again. I like that, but I am sure some of my friends do not. I have a lost year to make up for – so look out 8-). Food tastes normal (like really good) again. My skin is still very dry and itchy but getting better, that is one of the nasty side effects of the medicine. I am sleeping mostly through the whole night now – YES! I am so thankful I was able to do this treatment, not everyone who has HCV can tolerate it. I have some friends and relatives who could not complete the treatment. It  is a very expensive treatment, $20,0000 just for the medicine. I am thankful that is all paid for.

So what lies ahead? Six months from now I will get tested again for the viral load. If it is undetectable at that point will be in remission (technical term is SVR sustained viral response). So June 2010 will be a big day for me. Please join me in praying for SVR!

Hepatitis C is a serious disease, many have it and do not even know. Please consider getting tested! One of the best sites on the Internet for information and support is a site I found called HCV Support – the site is loaded with information and informative videos. The forum is full of very helpful and compassionate people. They helped me greatly.

Thank you for all that showed me great support this past year – I appreciate it much.

Week 47 TX Update – Almost Finished!

It has been one long year for me being on the HCV treatment like I am, BUT the good news is I have one week left. I just took my last injection last night and have six days of taking the pills left. I went to my liver doctor’s office last week and everything is looking good. My blood work numbers are all in the normal range now. My liver enzymes are at the best numbers they have been in thirty years. I have not said much on here the last three months for I have felt miserable. I was in “endure mode” just trying to get through the treatment. I went to work yesterday and had a good day – even stayed a couple hours later than normal to get caught up – it was a rare day. Before that I had not left my house for two weeks.  I am very much looking forward to getting off these medicines. I am very thankful for there invention and being able to even take them ($20,000 plus for the year) but I have to admit I hate the side effects and hope never to have to go through something like this again. I have found out I am not the tough guy a I personified to be (haha). Feeling like one has the flu for 47 weeks straight has been tough for sure.

A big thank you goes out to all that have helped me this year to get through this. A special thank you to my dear wife Carol who has been the greatest to me during this time. I have been grumpy and irrational many times to her and she bit her lip and walked away. She helped me with the injections each week and put up with my crazy food requests. Thank you Carol! Also I would like to give a great big thank you to my Pastor, Pastor Art Kohl (he is also my employer at the church) he has been outstanding to me and gave me great latitude with work this year. His support has been unending and he has shown me great tolerance and understanding. Thank you Pastor Kohl.

I am looking forward to getting back on tract in 2010 – things like Summer Camp at Commonground Baptist Camp and my ministry in the prison and at Church. Both where put on hold in 2009. I have learned much this year and I hope I can use that knowledge to help others for the rest of my life.