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Hello Lotus Blossom,
When you mentioned herbs, natural treatments, etc. I remembered that I failed to tell you that I have been taking Milk Thistle for about 30-45 days now and it was after I started taking this natural herb that I began seeing drastic, positive results in my lab work. Milk Thistle is particularly good for treating the liver - do a search on WebMD and you will find a wealth of information about it. I also had to begin additional vitamin supplements around that same time because of different things that were beginning to show defficencies in my lab reports. I began taking extra Calcium, Potasium, Vitamins A, B12, D and E. These were in addition to a multi-vitamin especially formulated for women over 40 who have extra stressors affecting their bodies (I'm 46 and have taken these vitamins for approx 4 years and never needed supplements until recently which is directly tied to the side effects of my injection treatment).

I've also heard that Goya juice is very good for arthritis and joint pain; I didn't want to start too many new things all at the same time so I waited until now to begin Goya juice. Also, carrot juice is suppose to be very good for cleansing your body of toxins (according to my "adopted" Mom who has known me for 25+ years - one of her daughters is my best friend).

I recall finding something that had "Silver" in it when I was searching for natural remedies and this particular "herb" (or whatever it was) claimed to particularly heal the liver. I printed info about it, it was quite expensive, but I hadn't thought of it again until I read your post. At this point, I don't think I'm going to consider it since I'm already having such positive results without it.

You mentioned money being a factor; does your friend qualify for Medicare or does she have private insurance? If she does not have private insurance, she should check into Medicare coverage since she has a life-threating illness. Also, contact your local Red Cross chapter and they will be full of referrals that will help more than you realize, and, these referrals will be in your area so easier to get to as well as most of them are cost-free or minimal fees.

I agree with you that it's odd your friend's doctor did not mention a liver biopsy previously if she showed signs of needing one... given the limited knowledge of your friend's situation, it appears to me that she needs a new doctor. Period.

Liver biopsies are not pleasant but they also are not EXTREMELY painful. When mine was done, I was told it would feel like a mosquito ***** (now how many times do medical professionals use that term?!?). Well let me tell you, if it was a mosquito *****, it was one of them big ol' Texas size mosquitos. (I've lived in Texas all but 2 years of my life; trust me when I tell you that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to Texas mosquitos.) It's best to prepare in advance to exercise some kind of mind therapy whereby you visualize yourself someplace pleasant and get very carried away with the experience of being some place pleasant (I used the white sands of a beach sitting under an umbrella in a beach chair sipping a frozen drink looking out over the beautiful water and feeling a gentle breeze while I squished my toes into the sand). As the hollow "needle" is inserted that will be used to guide the "tweezer" that actually removes part of the liver for the biopsy, it begins going in just to one particular level/distance inside you and then burrows down a bit further the second time and then all the way to your liver the third time, all the while you have to be perfectly still so as not to cause any internal injuries. You are given time to "recover" inbetween each of the 3 insertions which made it easier for me to realize it WAS going to hurt more than a mosquito ***** and I needed to practice what I call "displacement" mind therapy in order to remove myself for the pain and be able to remain perfectly still while the procedure was done. I recall after the 2nd insertion my eyes teared up and one of the technicians asked me if I was okay. I asked "have either one of you ever had this done to you?" to which (no surprise) they both said no. I then told them "well let me tell you, it is NOTHING like a mosquito ***** and by telling patients this you are actually causing a semi-panic situation in their minds when they feel more intense pain and can't ask if it's normal while it's happening because they have to hold their breath and lie perfectly still." Silence, of course, then apologies, of course, then the "we only have one more to go and then it'll all be over" pep talk. I recall praying that God would remove me from the situation and I actually visualized myself looking down on them working on me when I traveled in my mind to my beach haven. And before I knew it, it was over. I'm telling you this NOT to scare you but instead to be TRUTHFUL with you about what to expect. I wish I had known what to expect so it wouldn't have been so frightening the first insertion when I was expecting a small ***** and it felt like a hole was being drilled into my body comparatively speaking. The point being, if I hadn't been expecting it to be a small bit of pain, it would've been easier for me to endure the first insertion and I wouldn't have worried that something was wrong while I was having to hold my breath and not move. Those few seconds turned into and agonizing eternity until I could relax and ask them if it was suppose to feel like the way I described.

They are only able to do a local anesthesia as you have to be coherent and able to hold your breath and be still while the procedure is being done. The local anesthesia that was used on me did not provide much relief so don't be frightened if you experience pain during the procedure. It really doesn't take that long but at the time, it seems like an eternity. And, I failed to mention that you can feel the removal of the piece of your liver; they removed two pieces of mine to test and said they had gotten excellent samples to test. The results showed I was Stage 3 in enflamation (ranging from Stage 0 to 4) which meant my liver was being aggressively attacked, but I was only Stage 1 slightly headed towards Stage 2 as far as actual scarring/scirrosis (sp?). This is why I was so adamant about not waiting until the newer drugs were released in 3 to 5 years after the FDA completed their evaluations of them instead of starting treatment now with just the Pegasus (pegalated Interferon) without the CoPegasys (Ribivarin-sp?), which my liver transplant specialist assured me there was less than a 10% chance of remission unless both medications were used together.

Well, needless to say, I am one of the fortunate few who has beaten the odds and I truly believe with all my heart it is because of Devine intervention as I have so many people praying for my healing that it is absolutely amazing there are so many people who care enough about me to pray for me so dilligently.

Granted I still have a hard time coping with the side effects of the Pegasus, but it sure makes it easier to cope KNOWING it is killing the virus. Even though I have reached remission so quickly I will still have to complete the 52 weeks of injections. Originally when my I.U. count was so high, 20.7 million, I was told I would probably have to go through 2 rounds of treatment, that being 2 years instead of 1; now that I've experienced such good results so quickly I do not know if my doctor will still want me to do the 2nd year of treatment. Now I am just looking forward to improvement of my quality of life which is still lacking in many areas. But as my husband keeps telling me, "baby steps"...

I realize this post has become rather long but I felt this information would be useful to you even though I do not have any good advice as to what to do about getting good, sound care from a physician in your area. Again, I strongly urge you to contact your local Red Cross chapter or even a women's support group for women in crisis. Surely there is SOMEBODY that can give you a good start on where to begin in getting the quality of care your friend deserves.

If I can be of further help in answering any questions you might have about what I have already shared with you, or anything you think I might be able to help at all, please feel free to contact me. I really do have great compassion and empathy for what you and your friend are going through as you try to deal with this sickness.

Best regards and God bless,
Marla





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