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Hi Proud,
I am also new here. I want to thank you for your reply. I don't know much about my G-type, I was told but forgot. I know I'm in stage 3 with little scarring. I've had to go thru so much before they will start the program like eye test, mental elvuation, getting a counselor, and shrink to get depression meds. I'm prone to bouts of depression but hate to take meds for it. I am now on seroquel for insomia,and an antidepressant called Cymbalta.I just started them last week.
I've known I had Hep for about 10 yrs but didn't know there was treatment. I found out after having one of many Pancreas attacks and an ER doctor sent me to a gastrologist and he told me about the program.
So I guess my question to you would be how long you've been on the program? And if you have been on it for awhile if any side effects you had.I'm really dreading this. But the doctor said he would test me again 3 months after I started and see if it is working at all, if not he would not put me thru it any longer.
Thanks again for your reply,and I look forward to your next response.
Peace to you and yours,
Domsmim (Jackie)
The original posting I did a couple of days ago about my situation was a brief synopsis of my experience with treatment back in Dec '04 and then jumped ahead to my current treatment which is only Pegasys which I began in Aug 05; granted, I left some holes in that first abbreviated story... Please go to my thread and read my latest posting in response to Thanbey's reply for the bulk of what I would tell you but can't post it all because this is limited to 10,000 characters... ha!

I am not a quiter; as long as there was ANY hope that I could receive even the smallest improvement of my quality of life, I was going to go for it. If I haven't had such remarkable success with killing the virus this second go-around with just the Interferon, I wouldn't be doing this. You see, I finally found the love of my life and married him 4 years ago; we've spent the past 18 months fighting this virus. I look forward to the day we can begin enjoying our time together again without the stipulations and interferences of this virus and what it is doing to me (us).

I am not having the reactions any more since the 2nd dose of this 2nd round of treatment; alarmingly after the first shot, I had to get an epinephrine shot; that reaction was surprising since I knew I was only allergic to the Ribivarin but as Thanbey has said in the reply to my original post, it stays in your system for 6 months; I thought it only took 10 days to be out. However, after just that first shot, my I.U. count dropped by 10 million... INCREDIBLE! My liver enzymes went down by 60% and I only had a small reaction to the 2nd shot, then no more reactions since.

I am still on LOA from work because of the fatigue and the pain, plus I've developed "exercise-induced" extreme asthma attacks and have to use a rescue inhaler at least once daily just from getting out to go to dr appts. I think my asthma is mostly aggravated by the extremely high humidity we have in Houston; as long as I'm in air conditioning, I don't have the SEVERE attacks.

Overall, I'd have to say this time around I am coping well enough with the side effects of the Interferon and feel very optomistic that I will be able to return to work in the next couple of months, if all goes as well as it has. Granted, some days are better than others, but overall, I am very pleased with the results that are shown on my labwork; I failed to mention that my ALT and AST were 48 and 55 as of the August 31 labwork; they had been as high as 1172 and 984 before I began treatment.

I am able to do more around my house lately but I'm still not quite there yet. We did a lot of re-decorating in 2 bedrooms this past weekend since the last of our children left home and THAT overdid it for me; I'm paying for it today, extra pain, even my feet hurt. But, I went into each of those rooms this morning and looked at the work we had done and it made it not so bad.

I realize that my question on my thread about the I.U. count does not really hold much bearing on the big picture; I am just curious of other's I.U. counts because my initial I.U. count seemed so incredibly high, and the treatment is working so quickly to kill the virus, thereby lowering my viral load.

Granted my case appears to be unique judging from some of the postings I've read on this site; however, you never know until you try, and if you do the research (as I did... extensively...) and KNOW where you stand with regards to symptoms of the virus vs. side effects of the treatment, you owe it to yourself to be true to your gutt instinct and do what YOU feel is best for YOUR circumstances. If you are a believer, ask God and He will direct you.

My shots are given to me in my stomach (the fatty part) by my husband every Thurs evening. Some Fridays I'm achy and feverish (like the flu) and others, like this past Friday, I was feeling perfectly "normal" (as defined by what my "normal" has become) and even got dressed, put on makeup and my husband took me out to dinner for the first time in a LONG time. Then Saturday, not so good... I've leared that there is no rhyme to the reason behind what causes good days and what causes bad days; I just wake up each morning and see what's in store for me by how difficult it is for me to reach the bathroom... and I gauge my activities for the day accordingly. Due to the metal plates in my neck, I can only do low-impact exercises; that doesn't leave much choices other than stretching which I do first thing in the morning after taking my daily meds and TRY to do last thing at night before I go to bed. However, I've learned that even the smallest bit of over-exertion can put me in a world of pain as I still have two major disc problems in my spine (right at my bra closure and down at my lower back L5 thru L7). I also have a problem with my right hip that will require surgery to fix but I'm not up for that right now, either, however, this keeps me from walking or riding a bike. Again, EACH PERSON IS DIFFERENT... I truly hope you find what works for you.

I wish and pray for you to have all the best of luck either way you go. Let me know what you plan to do; if I can help you with any other circumstances I've had that you want to ask about, feel free. As I said, my 2 posting are abbreviated because SO MUCH has happened to me during this whole, ugly mess that it would take FOR-EVER to write EVERYTHING in 1 message... people would probably begin to not believe me or would undoubtedly lose interest in the neverending story before they reached the end of it... *smile* God bless - Marla aka ProudUSAirForceMom (youngest son, 24, Spec Ops wing of AF; in Iraq March 13 thru Aug 29... made it back Stateside SAFELY, PRAISE GOD!).
Hi Jackie,
So glad to see your response - I woke up in a world of pain yesterday and had much difficult climbing my stairs to get to my office where I have my computer, so I wasn't logged on very long, just long enough to see if my AF son wrote me back from the message I sent him a couple of days ago.

I'd like to share with you my experience with regards to pain associated with the virus vs. the pain from the Interferon shots. And, make you aware that it will be very difficult for you to to differentiate unless you've actually experienced pain from the virus BEFORE you start the injections. The pain I had from the virus was an all-over pain; however, rather than muscular, it was like a tiny drill with sharp points sticking out all around it as it drilled through the middle of my bones causing them to feel like they were going to explode. Get the picture? ha! It really was that bad. The places in your body that you have the highest concentration of bones, i.e. wrist/hands, ankles/feet, etc., where the places that I experienced the most debilitation pain.

I began trying to control it with a non-narcotic prescribed pain medication called Tramadol; I was told I could take 2 Xtra-strength Tylenols with it, but only take it every 6-8 hours. IF I feel ANY relief at all from this medication, it is minimal at best. That's when I had to begin using Vicodan as a back-up because the pain can actually rule your body as well as your thoughts and cause the stress that feeds the virus. And the pain also makes it more difficult to maintain control of my depression. It's like a Catch-22 for me.

For instance, yesterday I woke up and ached so bad, especially my feet and ankles that I was afraid I'd pee down my leg before I could reach the bathroom. After rubbing with Extra-strength Aspercreme and taking the Tramadol with the Tylenol, there was little-to-no relief. So I caved in and took the Vicodan and stayed on it round-the-clock while I was awake just to keep the pain in some form of control. But sadly enough, even taking this strong narcotic did not completely relieve me of the pain. However, this pain was a combination of the virus coupled with the achy-pain from the Interferon. Interferon has given me all over achy-flu-like symptoms and a low grade fever, like 100.7, just enough to make you feel yucky. HOWEVER, I DO NOT HAVE THESE SIDE EFFECTS EVERY DAY... some days are better than others. There is a good chance you won't have it as bad as me, but I do suspect you will have difficulty in the areas you have existing conditions, just as I have.

When I find myself in this much pain, I try to practice a technique I developed back in 95-97 while I was suffering so badly from the car crash. I acknowledge the pain, visualize myself putting it in a box and placing it on a shelf in a bookcase. I would start off with the lowest shelf I felt my pain belonged on depending upon how much pain I had. Then I'd make a concentrated effort to not acknowlege my pain. As the day wears on, if the pain begins to creep back into my consciousness, I would visualize myself taking the box off the lower shelf and putting it on the next higher shelf. I would employ this visualization process all day long and could typically keep it in check. On the days I would reach the top shelf and still have the pain busting its way into my consciousness, I'd go to plan B... take the strongest pain med I have and get on the heating pad after rubbing all over with Aspercreme. Then when it was 9:00p, I'd take my sleeping pill with my nighttime meds and pray real hard that the pain would not wake me during the night.

You are so lucky that you have not had that much pain yet. I pray that you never do. As much as I've been through, and how proud I was to have controlled the residual pain from the car crash injuries that I have not gotten fixed yet (can't have surgery while you have staph; and still doctors don't want to do surgery on someone like me until you've been clear of the staph for 3 years unless it's a life-threatening situation because the severity of my infection should've killed me and did cause me to go into cardiac arrest twice), my biggest anger with this whole ordeal is that I suffered so much through that car crash episode and had finally gotten my life back when I discovered I had this virus. It was like the rug got pulled from under my feet and I felt so cheated.

But as you've read from my postings, I am EXTREMELY blessed that I'm having such a quick, positive result from these shots. It's hard to understand WHY I'm still having so much trouble with my pain and fatigue and intestinal problems, but I have to remind myself that as long as I'm putting this toxin in my body, even though it's working remarkably to get rid of the virus, I still have to deal with the side effects of the drug. And looking back over my whole ordeal, I promise you I wouldn't change one decision I've made.

Each person is different. And I believe you mentioned earlier that your doctor has told you that if you are not tolerating the medication and it is not showing signs on killing the virus, he will remove you from the treatment. That is something that should be of comfort to you to know that you will only have to tolerate and side effects you might have just until the test is done to check the results. And if you are like me and see such an incredible improvement (or even a small one), just any proof that the injections are killing the virus, you will be driven to buck up and deal with the side effects unless they are just not tolerable to you.

I'm with you on how this works on the website; I sent an e-mail to one of the administers asking questions about some of the things I don't understand how to use. But I, too, was going to add you to my buddy list and went to the member list to search your tag name but it wouldn't let me use it; it was locked to me. I could only remember your tag was Dom-something. I guess it's because I'm a newbie and they monitor our activity before they grant us access to everything this site offers.

Well, my hands are cramping up from writing this message; I guess my Aspercreme has worn off. Again, it did my heart good to see your reply. Let's keep this going, shall we?
Take care - Marla aka Proud US Air Force MOM!

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