I can speak as one who has hep C, diagnosed in '93. Your post sounds so much like my thinking at one time. At first, I was willing to take the treatment, which at that time was interferon-A. I ended up being taken off of it by my GI doc, after only 6 wks., as my white count plummeted too low. Before doing that, he tried cutting injections to 2 a week instead of 3, and then reducing the amount of interferon I was taking, but neither worked. I remained off treatment for a couple of months, and tried again. This time, the same thing happened, but I took myself off of it after 3 wks., as my immune system was so compromised that I was catching colds from people at work. I felt just as you do--that I really felt okay except for moderate fatigue, and after switching to P/T work and taking afternoon naps, I was functioning well. So I just let things slide, except for having blood work every 6 mos. and a liver sonogram once a year. With the last sonogram in 2005, it was discovered that I had a huge hepatoma (cancerous liver tumor) in the rt. lobe of my liver, which had metastasized to the inferior vena cava (an artery.) I was being seen at a teaching hospital, as I had no insurance, and the doctors there could only say they were sorry...acted as though it was a death sentence...that a transplant was the only thing that might save me, and that would have to be done at their affilliate hospital downstate.
Meanwhile, I was approved for SSD for other health problems. It took them 2 yrs. to finally approve me, so I didn't have a waiting period for Medicare--got it immediately. Mayo Clinic was fairly new to my city, and their transplant wait time was the shortest in the country. I started going there, but found that I did not qualify for a transplant as my liver enzymes were not extremely high, and the tumor had metastasized. BTW, liver cancer is not treated by standard chemotherapy, as it does not work. After more scans and tests than I could keep count of, those wonderful docs at Mayo targeted the tumor, first with chemoembolization, and then with TheraSphere--a study drug, and I was only the 2nd person it was used on there. Those treatments shrunk the tumor and the piece that had metastasized went back into the liver. Therefore, I became eligible for surgery.
On May 15th of this year, I had the entire right lobe of my liver removed, along with my gall bladder. There was no viable tissue, so it will not regenerate. However, the left lobe--a small part of the liver--has grown to the size of a rt. lobe and has taken on the work of the missing rt. lobe. All went well, but 2 mos. after surgery, I developed a hiatal hernia...part of the stomach has pushed through the weakened abdominal wall, at the site of one of the incisions. I have had to wait until I was fully recovered from the initial surgery before I could have hernia repair. That is now scheduled for Dec. 14th. I hope that will be the last of my problems for a while. However, a biopsy was done of my left lobe during the cancer surgery, and I do have mild cirrhosis. I have not had an alcoholic drink in 21 years. I stopped smoking 5 years ago, and am eating "clean" food and doing everything I can to slow the progression of the cirrhosis. It is possible that I will need a transplant down the road, but I certainly hope not. I'm nearly 65, but am now willing to try treatment again. I was told that what they now use does not cause low WBCs. The "combo" also has a better success rate than the interferon alone did. The old statistic was 50% success rate, but 25% of them relapsed. I believe the relapse rate is much lower now. But you must do your part to give your liver every chance: No drinking at all, enough sleep and rest, healthful eating, etc.
I have to get past the upcoming surgery and recovery from same, but after that I am more than willing to try treatment again! Although I am now cancer free, I still have active hep C.
So please do get treatment. Without it, you may die sooner than you should. Untreated chronic active hepatitis C almost always causes liver cancer and/or cirrhosis.
Post Edited (hep93) : 12/4/2007 12:21:24 PM (GMT-7)
I am so glad that you have made the decision to get treatment immediately. Also for your choice to start anew with diet and not drinking any alcohol. As an RN I have tried to impress on all my patients to educate themselves on their disease process. You should read everything you can on the disease itself as well as treatment, side effects of treatment etc. Become a lay expert on it. The more informed you are the less anxious you will be about it. You will see there are many benefits to knowledge. Firstly, you can make informed treatment decisions. You will know what questions to ask your Dr too. Be aware that some DR's prefer that you DO NOT ask too many questions. I don't care what they think-I ask lots of questions and I want and demand straight answers. So learn-learn-learn. Secondly, it will help you to deal with your kids. If you are informed and knowledgeable about it you will be capable of helping them thru it. Smart people make smart choices!! Pink grandma is wise and helpful, she has alot of experience and can direct you to some excellent web sites to do research. I for one am proud of you and I hope you will keep us informed of your progress.