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I am 1b, alt/70, ast/25, mild liver inflamation and no fibrosis from Jan-02 biopsy. Infected from BT in 1983. I mention from BT only because some studies show fibrosis progresses faster if HCV from BT. Also, I am male, 66 yrs old, and infected at age 43 - all factors against me as far as fibrosis progression goes. I tried tx in June of 02 but could not handle the sx. Since then, my alt/ast have actually gone down a bit. My VL in 02 was ">1 mill copies". I don't plan to do tx again unless the numbers go up and if biopsy shows much more damage. Hey, at 66, I may not ever have to do tx ...

I am very active, piddling around the farm, and feel pretty good. I am quick to anger but cool off quickly. (wife asks why I blame HCV for this) ...

Good Luck ...
Hi Everyone,

I have hestitated to join this thread because although I have no treated in the four years since my diagnosis, I am now considering it actively for the first time. I've always thought that anyone at grade one, stage one, as I was, probably should not treat, as the risks outweighed the benefits. Still, of course, I recognize this as a personal choice, and everyone has his or her own reasons to go one way or the other.

Nonetheless, since my tests showed minimal liver fibrosis, and my liver panel scores (less important) were high-ish but steady, I have not treated. I am genotype 2, with a viral count in the four or five million range. (I had the highest viral count on this board for a while, but have been beaten in the last year or so by a handful of members. There's always a faster gun.)

I still think this was a correct choice. Interferon is not a treatment to be adopted lightly. As I'm sure everyone here knows.

These last months I have been re-evaluating. My alt and ast numbers have been climbing over my last few tests (I test every six months), and I recently had a second biopsy (BOY do I hate that experience!) which showed some deterioration. Inflammation is now grade 2, and fibrosis is not called "mild" anymore, but "moderate" My doc called it "sort of stage 1 and a half." Love that scientific precision, but in fact I value him for his lack of pretension--he knows that there is much grey area with this disease.

Anyway, with twins due in June--my second family, I am 58--my wife and I are wondering if I should treat now, before she risks being saddled with two toddlers and a possibly ill dad. The biopsy was partly in response to these worries, and its findings have not made the worries evaporate.

A hard set of choices. I had no trouble at all refusing tx as long as my liver was calm. Now that age may be doing its own damage on top of the hep (this is what the research suggests may be common), i am perplexed. The blog on thanbey's site that she mentioned in an earlier post has been largely about this decision.

In summary though, I will say that my example does support the idea of waiting until you are really sure before doing something like interferon tx. I have gone four plus years since diagnosis (40 years since infection, I believe) without any noticeable harm. In fact my symptoms, if they are that, seem milder since I quit drinking and smoking and started taking a few complementary tx's. In this time Pegasys has arrived--a huge improvement over previous choices, and we have learned a great deal about how to increase our chances of success (lose weight, don't drink or smoke, take vitamin E, zinc, don't take iron, things like that). So, if I do finally choose to treat, my waiting will have been a very productive use of time.

A side note on previous posts. I use a few alternatives, after MUCH research in peer-reviewed journals. I think silymarin or milk thistle (I take the siliphos type) is great, especially since as a man I benefit from its apparent prostate-protective effects too. I also take vitamin E, zinc, lecithin, and a multi vitamin/mineral with no iron. I take low doses of selenium if I remember to pick it up, but we must remember that in higher doses it harms, rather than helps, the liver (this is the vitamin A story as well). These have helped me, I am sure, but they have not I believe helped enough in my particular case.

By the way, the Life Extension Foundation is chiefly a supplement-selling outlet. (The fact that there are mds involved hardly certifies it as non-commercial). This does not mean that their info is no good, but it does mean one must read all their stuff carefully, or with a grain of salt.

sean





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