I'm new here, but not to hep c. I've had it about 22 years. I have no idea how I got it, and didn't know it was hep c until 7 years later. I was first diagnosed in 1984 with hepatitis b when I had what seemed to be a terrible flu that I could not shake. At that time, the doctors didn't know much and I was quarantined in my home for 6 months, and the doctor said all my dishes and silverware had to be boiled/sanitized every day after I ate. I was 21 at the time and stayed with my parents during that time. They all had to get the hepatitis b vaccine so they wouldn't get sick. After I was over the acute stage, the doctor said I was fine. It wasn't until 7 years later that a doctor I went to wanted to take a liver biopsy which then showed I had hepatitis c. I didn't have any liver damage at that time, and the doctor said there was a treatment that was experimental and very expensive, and he said I didn't need it. Nine years later, I had another biopsy. That same doctor was sure there wouldn't be any damage since there wasn't 9 years earlier, and my viral load was very low. To this doctor's surprise, there was mild liver damage, but he still said I didn't need treatment unless I really wanted to do it, but it would make me very sick, so I didn't do it. From then on, my liver enzymes were monitored and they hovered around the same between the years 2000 to 2004. (AST 95-149) (ALT 92-123). I had a new doctor then and she wanted me to get the treatment, and she sent me to different specialists. I was stubborn and didn't want to do the treatment. I don't believe in putting drugs into my body. I wanted to do it naturally. In 2004 I got very sick with what they said was colitis and had to be hospitalized. My AST was 181, and ALT 196 then. My platelet count was 80,000 after I got out of the hospital. It had been dropping before that because it was 136,000 in 2000, and 124,000 in 2001. One of the specialists I saw didn't think it would be a good idea for me to do treatment because of the low platelet count and my history with depression. By the way, I applied for disability in 2000, but didn't get it, applied again in 2001, and then got it. Anyway, what I'm leading up to is this...I met a lady who told me about the natural treatment she tried and it really helped her, so I gave it a try. It isn't covered by insurance so I have to pay for it out of my own pocket. It costs about $50 a bottle. It is a blend of mushrooms. It is called AHCC which strengthens the immune system so your body can produce more interferon and fight the virus on its own. I've been taking it since February 2005. In the first 3 months it lowered my viral load from 157,000 to 7,600. Then three months later, it went back up to 54,900. Last month, almost a year later, I had another test, and my viral load is now 1500. My doctor is very impressed, and she says to keep doing what I'm doing. I do have cirrhosis now, but don't know to what extent, but I've been having problems with swollen ankles and belly in the last few months. I haven't had a copy of my medical records in years, so am getting copies now so I can see everything for myself, especially my latest liver biopsy I had in 2004. The doctor that did that didn't tell me how anything came out except to say I needed treatment. I had ultrasounds, and MRI's too. I've been looking on the internet and haven't found anyone else who has been taking AHCC. I would like to compare notes.
I've rambled on long enough. Thanks for listening everybody.