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cleo, that is true, the biopsy isn't totally accurate, because some parts of your liver can be worse than others, but by looking at the liver with an ultrasound first, they can determine a good place to get a sample from, and then by looking at the cells under a microscope they can determine the extent of damage quite accurately. Supposedly there is no correlation between how long you've had the disease, or how high your viral load is and what your liver condition might be, so they really have to do a biopsy....not everyone will be recommended to have treatment, because treatment in itself is brutally hard on the body. If for example, they determine you were infected 20 years ago and have no liver damage, or just minimal, they may recommend waiting on treatment, and monitor you closely until you do need tx. Some people have strong immune systems that suppress the disease, and some people have even cleared the disease on their own, but it's a small percentage. There are many new drugs in testing that promise an easier cure, so i think that is partly why they have some people wait.

Another reason the biopsy is useful is to monitor progression of the disease. My first one showed mild scarring....five years later I got really sick, and a 2nd biopsy was done....My liver had progressed to stage 2 grade 2 disease, and that told me at that rate of progression I would be dead in another 5 years if i didn't do tx, and i was already so sick I couldn't take it any more. I truly thought I was dieing, prepared my will, cleaned out my house, sold investment properties, all to make it easier for my family when i croaked...Welll here I am, still kicking and feeling pretty good again.

And yes, treatment does cause severe depression in most. Most doctors insist you get on an anti depressant before you begin treatment. I refused, after trying 3-4 different ssri types that made me feel horrid, even after giving them an adjustment period. I was very strong emotionally, but these meds made me crumble....a sad commercial on TV could make me break down and sob....but that's just one of many many side effects. TX is very difficult for most....Kind of like the worst flu of your life. I use to crawl into bed fully clothed with the electric blanket on high every day, and Advil & immodium AD were my best friends!

Some genotypes require 48 weeks of tx while others only require 24 weeks. I THINK 2b is only (lol only) 24 weeks.

The one thing I would recommend is finding a Dr. who has treated MANY people for hep c, and about the best way to do that is to ask for some referrals from your local hospital. A good GI Dr. will know how to treat the many side effects that come along with treatment, and give you a better success rate.

As far as the liver regenerating, in a healthy non hep infected liver it will regenerate itself quickly. They now do living transplants of the liver, where they take 1/2 of a healthy donors liver, and that liver will grow back to normal in about a month or two. A person with hep c damage will not regenerate itself much if at all i was told. I would actually like to have another liver biopsy now, 5 years after tx. to see if there has been any improvement. I can say most of the symptoms I was having before tx are gone or very minimal now. and my liver function tests have come back prefect ever since tx.

mano





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