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Old 11-29-2009, 05:39 AM   #1
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Thumbs up My Experience with Hep-C Treatment

It is my hope that the documentation of my experience will help others.

Some background: Apparently, I contracted hep-C from blood transfusions in the late 60's and early 70's, before the screening was available. I have been married for 32 years, and have been faithful to my wife throughout. I have three children, now all out of the house. I have never abused drugs. I have never smoked, and alcoholic drinks were limited to an average of 1 glass of wine or beer per month (no longer doing that). Blood tests determined that I have hepatitis C, genotype 2. I received the hep-C diagnosis on August 28. I am 76 inches tall and weigh 264 pounds (classified as obese, although I am told that I don't look it, hmmm.).

My viral load is 4,000,000, by whatever measurement they are using.

I started Pegasus and ribavirin on Tuesday, 11/24, at 8:00PM. First, I had to get by my anxiety about needles. That took a couple of minutes and I did it! That was my first experience self-injecting.

After my first treatment, that night, at midnight, I started to have severe chills which lasted about 2 hours. I was also urinating every 1.5 to 2 hours. I had about 1 hour of sleep. I arose at 6:00 AM to prepare to go to work. I went to the bathroom to start my morning routine and nearly passed out. Standing was impossible, sitting was risky. Laying on my back was all I could do. I thought "if this is what it is going to be like for the next 26 weeks, then I am finished now.". I deduced that my blood pressure was low because I was dehydrated. I managed to move across the bathroom (on my knees) to get some water to start rehydrating. I took a few drinks and rested. I got up and grabbed my full 32 oz water bottle from a nearby room and headed for the bed, where I sat and drank the 32 oz of water. Within a half hour, I was rehydrated and able to sustain walking enough to get ready to go to the hospital for a scheduled blood test, then go to work. I had lost about 4 pounds of weight overnight. The balance of the day was uneventful.

As of today, November 29, 2009, I have experienced the following side-effects, during the week:

Low-grade fever
Skin aches/sensitivity
Slight increase in peripheral neuropathy
Dehydration / weight loss

I am supposed to drink just over a gallon of water per day, but I only get to between 3/4 and a full gallon. I have noticed that consumption of this much water does soften hard stools, and of course, removes the dehydration. On the evenings of the injections, I will have to keep my water bottle beside my bed, so if I am in the urination / dehydration mode, I can rehydrate immediately (not wanting to repeat the first experience with dehydration and fainting).

I had a one-hour massage, today. It felt good, but it did not relieve the, what feels like, muscle pain in my back. The pain is moderate and covers the area from my upper back, almost to my neck, and down to my waist. I have had this general pain, from a couple of months before my diagnosis, through to now. I thought that it was just muscle strains, and maybe it is, but I wonder if it is related to the liver problems as a result of the hep-C.

I continue to have achy skin, similar to what I experience with a flu-like "bug". It is tolerable, just annoying...

11/30/09: I had the usual flu-like symptoms today. My back pain is reduced.

12/01/09: My back pain was almost gone and the flu-like symptoms were minimal. Just in time for my next shot... I took my second shot this evening, about 8:00PM. Hopefully, the side-effects will not be like after the first shot, but I am not holding my breath, so to speak. I will report on it tomorrow.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-01-2009 at 05:40 PM.

 
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Old 12-03-2009, 03:47 AM   #2
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Re: My Experience with Hep-C Treatment

This is Guardian1. Since I am no longer able to edit my post, apparently, I exceeded the space allowed for posts. I am new at this and didn't know better.

Thanks.

Last edited by moderator2; 12-09-2009 at 09:53 AM. Reason: please do not ask members to post against the rules

 
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Old 12-04-2009, 02:43 AM   #3
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Re: Just Getting Started

Well, if no one objects, I'll keep posting my experience with Hep-C here, by adding replies to the thread. If anyone else would like to "chime in", feel free, of course.

 
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Old 12-05-2009, 04:02 AM   #4
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Re: Just Getting Started

Late in the afternoon, on December 4, I had a standard flu shot. None of the H1N1 shots were available. The injection site is unusually sore, in comparison to previous years, but hopefully it will resolve itself ok.

It is December 5, 2009. In general, I feel ok. I have body aches and my sinuses are draining. It feels like a cold, but it isn't progressing like a cold. I continue to have some back pain, but it is much less than it was a week ago.

I found that blowing my nose has resulted in some irritated blood vessels, resulting in some nosebleeding. It is not enough blood to come out of my nose, but it is clotting inside and very irritating as it is difficult to clear. I started to use a Neti Pot to clear the nasal passages and sinus. It is very soothing and very effective at clearing everything out. I know, it sounds gross, but it works and sure beats the itching, soreness, sniffling and sneezing.

As of this evening, the Flu shot soreness is subsiding. I had somewhat less sinus drainage today, and I have noticed that, since using the Neti Pot, my bloodshot eyes have cleared up perfectly. I am impressed! Apparently, the irritated sinuses have a direct impact on the itchiness and redness of my eyes. I recommend the Neti Pot to everyone. It feels so great to be clear!

I am having some skin soreness this evening, as well as soreness around my waist, mostly in the left side lower back. Still drinking 1 gallon of water per day and not liking it at all. I never was much of a water-consumer. I lost another puund between yesterday and today (10 pounds in 11 days).

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-05-2009 at 04:22 PM.

 
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Just Getting Started

It is December 8th and all of my symptoms have disappeared except for the runny nose / draining sinuses and some fatigue. I take my third injection, this evening, so we'll see how it goes overnight with a new blast of Pegasus. I am not sure when my body will have a relatively consistent level of Pegasus and Ribavirin. Maybe it does by now.

The injection site for my seasonal flu shot is no longer sore.

My back pain is almost completely gone. Things are looking up.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-08-2009 at 04:52 PM.

 
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:44 AM   #6
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Re: Just Getting Started

December 9, 2009: I gave myself the third Pegasus injection, yesterday evening, with no ill effects this morning.

Update in the evening: I found myself really exhausted this evening. One of the problems that I have is insomnia. It seems like the quality of my sleep is not good for several nights, then, after I reach a certain level of exhaustion, I seem to sleep fairly well. I don't like this cycle, though, so I am trying some 5mg Ambien. We'll see if that helps. Otherwise, today was good.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-09-2009 at 05:28 PM.

 
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:00 AM   #7
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Re: Just Getting Started

Hi. You are a good candidate for treatment, (you probably know this), genotype 2 responds well to the treatment that is available today. I, too, contracted hep C in the 60's, genotype 1a, and have not, and will not, take any Pegasus and ribavirin.

I was diagnosed about 6 years ago and have had two liver biopsies, one in 2004 and one in March of 2009. There has been no advancement of the disease, stage 2 mild fibrosis.

My brother-in-law had genotype 2 and cleared after, I think, six months of Pegasus and ribavirin. Good luck to you.

As far as blogging goes, it is real easy to set up a blog, there are several free blogging apps available.

Take care, ERK

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Old 12-09-2009, 05:37 PM   #8
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Re: Just Getting Started

Hello ERK: Thank you for your comments and support. I was not sure if I was going to take the treatment, especially after some of the horror stories that I have read about hep-C and treatment. My doctor presented the facts, I read all that I could find, good and bad, and I took over two months to think about it. Based on all the information, I believe that I made an informed decision that is right for me and my family. It was not a money issue, fortunately, as I have excellent medical and drug insurance...3 months of Pegasus and Ribavirin for a $20 copay. Now that I am started, I am committed, and barring something unforseen, I'll see it through. I'll be 60, this Sunday, and I'd like to have another 30 years before I go.

 
Old 12-13-2009, 04:05 AM   #9
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Re: Just Getting Started

It is December 13th. We went to Buffalo, NY, Friday evening and Saturday, to do some Christmas shopping. We drove back, Saturday afternoon. Excellent short trip! A division of my company is there, so I know the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area pretty well.

Side-effects are still fatigue and stuffy sinuses. I left a message with my doctor about the fatigue and am still dealing with the stuffy sinuses with a Neti Pot.

The recently-prescribed Ambien (5mg), seems to be helping, but the sleep time is about 5 or 6 hours. Last night, I was very tired, and went to sleep about 8:30PM, waking up at about 4:30 this morning. I got up around 6:00.

I am looking forward to a one-hour massage, scheduled for later this morning.

 
Old 12-14-2009, 03:44 PM   #10
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Re: Just Getting Started

December 14th: Got a lot accomplished at work today. Had a nagging backache all day, though. Also, have had a scratchy throat for the last couple of days. The sinuses seem to be clearing up though. The biggest problem that I have now seems to be a general fatigue, e.g. lack of energy.

Took my regular MD's advice and started walking 20 minutes per day. I was watching tv while on the treadmill and actually did 24 minutes today (first day in several months), while watching the Sci Fi channel. Starting out with light walking for now, 2 mph, 0 degree incline. I really hate "forced" exercise. I enjoy working outside, but living in the Northeast, that won't happen again for several months.

Hope everyone is doing ok.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-14-2009 at 03:46 PM.

 
Old 12-15-2009, 05:03 PM   #11
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Re: Just Getting Started

November 15, 2009:

Fourth Pegasys injection this evening. Hopefully, I have become used to most of the side-effects by now. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I still have a scratchy throat, thirsty, and fatigued. I talked to my Hep-doctor, today, about the fatigue, and he said that my blood-work, for the last three weeks, is perfect and fatigue is par for the course. I'm happy.

I did 20 minutes on the treadmill, this evening, and found that it actually energized me some.

The sleeping pills (Ambien 5mg) are helping...at least for about 5 hours.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-15-2009 at 05:06 PM.

 
Old 12-16-2009, 05:13 PM   #12
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Re: Just Getting Started

December 16, 2009: This morning, after the Pegasys injection, was uneventful. Last night I actually slept the best that I have in a long time. I did notice an increase in throat soreness and sinus congestion today. Did my 20 minutes on the treadmill, this evening. Otherwise, things are ok.

 
Old 12-17-2009, 06:41 PM   #13
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Re: Just Getting Started

December 17, 2009: Last night was not a good night for sleeping. Although my sinuses seem to be clearing up, I have developed a raging sore throat. Between the sore throat and getting up 4 times to go to the bathroom, I didn't get any sleep, to speak of, and I lost about 2 pounds of fluids. Needless to say, stay hydrated during this course of treatment! Did my 20 minutes on the treadmill, although I didn't feel like doing it. Walk it off, as they say!

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-17-2009 at 06:42 PM.

 
Old 12-19-2009, 04:50 AM   #14
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Re: Just Getting Started

December 18, 2009: Another bad night for sleeping, although a sleeping pill made the 10:30PM through 4:00AM time go by without waking. The sore throat rages on, although mostly on the right side of my throat. I see that as a positive sign as it has mostly cleared away from the left side.

My wife and I went out to dinner, this evening...steak kabobs and vegetables and a virgin strawberry daquiri...tasted great! I have not noticed any change to my taste, although I tend to eat less of everything. Some things, like chocolate, are less attractive, although they still taste good.

I did my 20 minutes on the treadmill, although it makes my throat feel worse.

My biggest problem is the sore throad...hopefully, it will run its course soon.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-19-2009 at 04:52 AM.

 
Old 12-19-2009, 04:54 AM   #15
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Re: Just Getting Started

December 19, 2009: Same as yesterday, for sleeping and the sore throat. More later...

Later: Still fighting the sore throat. I think that I am winning, it will probably take a few more days to clear up. I haven't had a cold in three years or so, so I guess it was about time. Either that, or it is a side-effect of the meds for Hep-C. Who knows? There are so many potential side-effects, you can pick one out of the air, and it is related to Pegasys and Ribavirin treatment!

Walked the 20 minutes, this evening.

Last edited by Guardian1; 12-19-2009 at 05:34 PM.

 
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