I had a great reply all typed up and 'my computer ate it.'
My fiance was diagnosed with non-A/non-B years ago, also. We've been through end-stage liver disease, transplant, and now HepC treatment.
I'll try to answer some of your concerns / questions, based what we've learned in 2 years.
Portal hypertension, cirrhosis, and fluid in the belly (ascites) are, generally, more advanced complications of liver disease from HCV. All that means is someone who contracted HepC in the last couple of years, wouldn't usually have these problems, yet.
There are treatments available to manage symptoms. A low-protein diet can help with 'brain fog' or confusion, and a low-sodium diet is recommended for fluid retention. Diuretics are also prescribed; two of the most common are Lasix and Spironolactone, which are taken together. Lactulose is a medication that helps with problems related to protein digestion.
As far as herbal treatments, one of our friends used herbs for years to keep her liver disease at bay. Recently, she began seeing the liver doctors who treat my fiance. In a very short time, her quality of life improved dramatically. While the herbs seemed to help the liver (her MELD score is very low), many of the symptoms from the complications became worse.
We were told by doctors, and you'll find this advice in many medical publications, Do Not Take Herbs. Doctors do, what seems like, millions of tests to determine liver health, treatment options, and qualification for transplant. The herbs alter the liver and can mask the true condition. This can lead to misdiagnoses and incorrect, inadequate, or delayed treatment.
The best advice I can offer is, as they say, "Consult your physician before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle."
No one can tell you with absolute certainty how your disease will progress. I can say, with some confidence, that it will get worse without treatment. There is a risk of infection in the fluid in the belly, altered mental state from problems with digestion, nerve damage in the legs from swelling, coma, and even death. Everything small thing you do can help - diet, exercise, medication - or hurt.
You know your body better than anyone else. If you feel that things are worse than the doctor is telling you, by all means, get a second opinion. Find a physician or clinic where you are comfortable and can talk to the medical staff about your concerns. Read everything you can about portal hypertension, ascites, cirrhosis, and liver disease - symptoms, treatments, etc.
Becoming an informed patient is the best thing you can do for yourself.
I wish you all the best. Let me know if there's anything else I can do.