Hep c tx & low platelets

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Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/5/2010 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone. I joined this forum after receiving a phone call telling us my husband's platelet count dropped from 40 to 22 after the first 2 shots of interferon. He is 63 & contracted hep c at age 17 from a tattoo needle. We're afraid his doctor will halt his treatment. He has stage 3 fibrosis and was told that without treatment or failing to respond, he has about 3 years to live. Needless to say we are very depressed. He has gen type 2. I know we should wait til next week to see what the doctor plans to do but he told us from the beginning he would stop treatment if the count fell below 25. I guess I'm just looking for moral support or a kind word or two.

MamaLama
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Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3784
   Posted 11/5/2010 2:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi DOB,

That treatment can be rough. Is this the first time he has gone through TX?

My hubby (turning 61 next week) tried for 6 months in 2003 and was sick the entire time. And after all that, he failed to clear the Hep C. But he was gen type 1a and they told him that gen types 2 and 3 clear more easily and that 1a is the most resistant to the Inteferon+. (I can't remember the platelet count, but his counts have never rebounded to this day. He is in the low 60's now.)

I'm sorry to hear that your husband is having so much trouble and that they are talking about suspending treatement. It is late 2010, 7 years post failed treatement and my hubby has been failing, but not until lately. He had a great 7 years to go about his business...which he has with much gusto...given that he was so easily fatigued. He'd have more time IF IF IF IF IF IF he had quit drinking in those in between years. He was alcohol free during treatement and for a year after, but he slipped back into his party ways.

Nothing outrageous...but daily.

And that has made all the difference. :-(

He is now at the stage where he needs a transplant to live much longer and has to wait through 6 months of documented sobriety to even make it on the list!!!

So...the lesson of the day...Hep C and BOOZE are a bad combination.

Best to you both,

Mama Lama in FL

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/5/2010 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
DoingOurBest, welcome to the forum.  I am sorry that your husband's platelets have dropped significantly at the beginning of treatment.  The doctor probably will take him off treatment.  However, you might ask him about reducing the dosage of interferon first.  As ML said, 1a and 1b are the most difficult to treat, so it really is a shame if your husband can't proceed with treatment as he would have a good chance of clearing the virus.  There is also a new treatment protocol becoming available next year, but it is targeted more at the genotypes that are difficult to treat--and still has interferon in it.  I had to stop interferon treatment back in '93-94--2 separate trials of it--as my white counts got too low.  Now they have medication for that.
 
Has alcohol ever been a problem with your husband?  If not, then he needs to request evaluation for a transplant at a liver transplant center.  That process takes some time, so it's best to get started right away before things get really bad.  How is the rest of his blood work--liver enzymes, etc.?  What other symptoms is he experiencing?
 
If it's any consolation to you, I contracted hep C in the late 60s and basically have had no treatment.  From 1970 until 1986, I drank alcoholically.  I'm sure that didn't help matters.  I developed cirrhosis and liver cancer, and lost the right lobe of my liver, but I'm still here and doing reasonably well.  I am considering taking the new treatment when it becomes available.
 
So don't give up hope.  DO have him abstain from eating red meat and increase fresh fruits and veggies.
 
I'm glad you found us.  Be sure to check out the information in the Hepatitis Resources folder at the top of the page, and also the Caregivers Sharing thread.
 
Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/5/2010 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for talking to me, Mama Lama. This is his first time in tx. We didn't even know he had hep c til a year ago & at that time the fibrosis was minimal, according to the biopsy. Since he never drank or used drugs, & since he remembers being very sick & hospitalized about 6 weeks after getting his tattoo, the doctor assumed that was the cause. His hematologist was sure he would do well and said there was more than an 80% chance of him clearing the virus provided he could stay on the tx. He has heart disease so isn't a candidate for transplant.
I'm sorry about your husband. Have you ever been tested for hep c? The doctor suggested I test for it although there's no indication that I have it.
Getting old sure isn't for sissies, is it?

Sending good thoughts your way from NC.

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/5/2010 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Connie, thanks for your support. He's never had a drink in his life...just never cared for the taste of alcohol. He had triple bypass at age 43 (no heart attack, just symptoms), both carotids were bypassed, he's had a femoral artery bypass, all from PAD. It's rampant in his family. All 4 of his brothers have it and 2 have had heart attacks, 2 have had strokes. None are smokers or drinkers.
All his doctors are amazed at his attitude and seemingly healthy appearance, considering his condition. That's why they (heart dr, vascular dr, gp, & liver dr) were so eager for him to do the tx.
He's really struggled thru the first 2 weeks of pills & shots with no complaining, just of having no appetite & feeling very fatigued. He had to go on temporary disability because of the side effects.
I hope the dr will consider reducing the dosage instead of just taking him off the meds.

Keeping you in my thoughts, DOB

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/5/2010 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   
DOB, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's PAD history preventing him from being a transplant candidate.  Even if he cannot continue treatment, without an alcohol history he has a good chance of doing well for some time.
 
Please do keep us updated.  And remember to take care of yourself, as well.
 
Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/11/2010 8:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hubby's 2nd blood test today showed platelets up from 22 to 23, (that's good) hemoglobin down from 11.6 to 9.8 & white cells down from 2.3 to 2.0. So, good news, not so good news. He'll stay on chemo, get Procrit (I need to research that), & be watched for anemia. But he stays on chemo for now, thank God. His appetite is returning slowly & he's more optimistic after today's news.
It's so nice to have a place to come & talk.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/11/2010 9:26 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the update!  I hope he continues to improve.

Hugs,

Connie


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/12/2010 12:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Connie. He ate a nice sized helping of lasagna tonight, and stayed awake the entire day. I told him about your struggle and about Mama Lama's husband life with cirrhosis. He's so empathetic, I've never seen him so touched. The dr wants to continue to treat him aggressively as long as he can tolerate the higher dosage. He planned on starting out high and lowering the dose if he became too ill but he thinks he'll do ok on the high dose for a while longer.

MamaLama
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3784
   Posted 11/12/2010 5:01 AM (GMT -6)   
High five on continued treatment for your husband, DOB!

With his genotype and healthy lifestyle, he could do well.

Hopefully all those pesky labs will resolve themselves so that your GI doc continues the treatment!

Best, ML

Pink Grandma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 11/12/2010 9:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Just wanted to drop in a say hello.....Doing our best.     Love your name.   Your husband is such an inspiration.   Please give him my regards...........lot's of thoughts and prayers.........
Pink Grandma
Forum moderator-Hepatitis

When the going gets tough....the tough get going! Don't always know where I going but I get there anyways.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/12/2010 1:08 PM (GMT -6)   

DOB, let your hubby know we are pulling for him.  We are all in the same battle, so one's triumphs and tragedies affect all of us.

Hugs,

Connie


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

arneeb
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 2308
   Posted 11/14/2010 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey there DOB .... sorry did get a shout out to u sooner... was gone a few days... pullin for you and ur guy... and hope things better.... Sandi
There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still... Corrie Ten Boom

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/16/2010 1:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much, Ladies. Andy's doing a tad better each day...sleeping less & eating more. Dr prescribed Procrit to keep on hand just in case. I forget what the hemoglobin count was, exactly, but I seem to think it was 9. something.
The dark mottled color which he's had for 3 yrs or so on his forearms & lower legs has faded. No bruising at all this week or last, not even at blood draw site. A small shaving nick doesn't bleed all day the way it would before tx started. His sinuses are full so he must blow his nose often....no blood. For the 1st time in years, no blood. The skin on his shins would bleed from the slightest rubbing, after a shower for instance. That's stopped.
He takes Plavix & 1 baby aspirin daily so there should be little chance of a blood clot w/ Procrit, the Dr said.
Your prayers & good thoughts are a blessing to us.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/16/2010 1:36 PM (GMT -6)   

Those are great improvements, DOB!!  So happy to hear the good news!

Hugs,

Connie


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/18/2010 7:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Procrit starts tomorrow, as soon as it's delivered, Dr said. Hemoglobin dropped from 9.8 to 8.8 in 1 week so Riba dosage has been lowered from 1200 to 800. We won't know viral load til middle of the week but his baseline before tx was 2.8 million. Apparently, anemia so early in tx (5th shot t'morrow) is an indicator of a better chance of successful treatment. Something to do with the body's ability to absorb the Riba. If tests show svr his chance of success goes from 80% to 90+%.
If lowered Riba & Procrit don't show improvement in hemo by Monday she's talking about transfusing him.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/18/2010 7:55 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the update, DOB.  I'm glad doc didn't take him off treatment.  Do keep us posted.

Hugs,

Connie


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

arneeb
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 2308
   Posted 11/19/2010 9:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hang in there... praying you two... Sandi
There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still... Corrie Ten Boom

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/22/2010 6:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Friday's labs show platelets dropped to 19. I guess the lower Riba dosage is the cause of that. Hemoglobin stayed the same, 8.8..no change after 1st Procrit shot. We didn't find out the wbc or viral load.
The dr & the p.a will decide what to do and let us know Wed. He feels just horrible. He slept most of the weekend, barely ate, & can't get warm. I hope they raise the Riba again once the Procrit begins working.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/22/2010 7:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry he's feeling so badly.  Let us know what plan they decide on.
 
Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/23/2010 6:39 PM (GMT -6)   
0 viral load at 4 weeks! The drs are pleased, they say now they can play with the meds to raise the hemoglobin & try to bring the platelets back up. His wbc is very low but as long as he doesn't catch anything they're not going to worry about that now. He'll take a Procrit shot tonight instead of waiting til Friday, stay on the lower Riba for now, & lower the Peg from 180 to 135. He can barely cross the room without becoming breathless so I hope the Procrit starts working soon.
Liver scan tomorrow, labs again on Monday.
He has a swollen ankle & a red, tender spot on the ankle bone. He'll call his gp tomorrow to see what that's about.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/23/2010 7:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Great news on the clearance, DOB!

Regarding his ankle, it could possibly be a spider bite. Glad he's calling his doctor about this.

Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

healthynow
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 1716
   Posted 11/24/2010 1:14 AM (GMT -6)   
DOB-please be sure to have the ankle checked out...one of my friend's daughters had a staph infection...but originally they thought it was a spider bite.

emma

Doing our best
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/24/2010 3:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Ladies. Yes, it's an infection, minor, according to the dr, but he's treating it as though it were more serious because of Andy's low wbc. He had a staph infection in the same leg after femoral artery bypass 3 years ago...necrotizing faciitis. I'm sure that's spelled wrong, but it was the flesh eating bacteria staph. It was touch & go as to whether he'd be able to keep his leg, but thank God it turned out well. That's why I made him have it checked today.
He called me when he got out of the drs office to thank me for "being a nag"...lol.
He was too fatigued to keep the scan appointment this morning, but it isn't a priority, just a regular 6 month scan.
Have a wonderful Holiday, everyone, and thank you all so much for being here.
Catherine

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 11/24/2010 3:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Catherine, SO glad he got that checked out!  And you spelled necrotizing fasciitis correctly!  smilewinkgrin
 
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
 
Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
 
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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