Treatment week one is almost over!

I went to work today for the first time in a week. In reality, today was the first time I left my house in a week. Despite a nasty headache most of the day I was able to get some important things FINISHED at the office today (year end financial stuff). That feels good in itself!

With this treatment I am to get blood work done often. Today I went for the first draw of my blood. It went smooth!

Well I have to say, I did not think that this week was ever going to get over. Week one was terrible. They say each week progressively gets better. I hope so. I will be receiving my second injection tonight at 9PM – yipee! The pills are what I really detest. They leave a nasty taste in my mouth and effect me in a way that I have still not figured how to explain. For those who go to summer camp all summer picture how you feel when you get home that last week – that is how I felt all last week. Exhausted and weak.

Do not take me wrong I am grateful for this treatment, I am privileged to be able to receive it. I am thankful for my doctor and the nurse assigned to help me monitor the treatment. They have been great to me. I know it could be worse and that some reading this have things in their lives that are way worse.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Update on my treatment

I did not have a good weekend or Monday. Even today, Tuesday I am very sore and extremely exhausted. It did not help that on Sunday evening we had to call an ambulance to take our handicapped son Michael to the hospital – where he remains still today. He has pneumonia. I go for blood work on Friday and we shall see how my red and white blood cell count is. I spoke with the nurse assigned to me to monitor my treatment today and she said, “okay just keep pounding the water to get that stuff out of your body.” She assured me next week will not be as bad as this week and each week progressively better. I hope so. I cannot sleep – yet I am exhausted. I am still doing fine mentally considering all that is going on right now. (Lisa out of the house in Bible college – I miss her much, Michael in the hospital and this dreaded treatment.)

Thank you to those who have commented and emailed me that they are praying for me.

My HCV Treatment Starts

I have Hepatitis C, a blood-borne illness caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) which affects my liver. I am not ashamed to admit it. I have had it for over thirty years. After all these years I decided to visit a liver specialist as my energy level (like my friends can believe that) has gone way down to the point of I feel exhausted often. I had a liver biopsy this last year and it showed my liver was at level zero out of four levels as far as damage goes. That is very good all and all but my HCV level is very high and active. Because of this level and high liver enzyme levels it was determined that I would go on a treatment of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. This treatment will last for 48 weeks. I will take four Ribavirin pills in the AM and three in the PM everyday for 48 weeks and I will get one injection of Pegylated Interferon each Friday night for 48 weeks. Phew – seems daunting. I will just take it day by day the best I can.

I am putting this out in the open and my subsequent adventure with this treatment as a source of information to help others contemplating taking this treatment. Also so that my praying friends can get an update as to how I am doing.

Well then, no turning back now. I took the first four Ribavirin pills an hour ago this morning. My first injection will be at 9 PM tonight. The side effects can be very drastic and are common. Nausea and a flu like feeling will almost be for sure I am told. We shall see. So far I feel good.

This treatment only has a 50% chance of success (getting the count of the HCV down to dormant levels, less than 5 – I am currently at 3,800,000) this dormant level is called sustained virological response (SVR). Please pray I reach SVR!

For those interested, more information on my treatment can be found here: www.beincharge.com

More on Hepatitis C


Today is World Hepatitis Awareness Day

Today, May 19th, 2008, is the fifth annual World Hepatitis Awareness Day. Statistically, 500 million people are infected with either Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. That’s one out of 12 people worldwide. We must encourage testing for early diagnosis, for early treatment increases the odds of a successful outcome.

For those with HCV here is a good article from www.hepatitus-cental.com: 15 Tips for Managing Interferon-Ribavirin Side Effects