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Hi Avalon,

Honey I have not told a soul at work and I really don't want too. I know I will have to tell my boss when I begin treatment, just in case I have to take time off for illness and also its recommended that you do to protect yourself from getting fired for missing work. The Family Medical Leave Act will protect you from this but your employer must be notified (paperwork must be files)and its confidential so they risk repercussions if they tell others. You don't even have to be that specific but you might as well to cover your bases. I have considered just telling them I have a liver disease and need to take weekly chemo treatments for 6mths. But then you know they'll ask what kind and you have to be good a evasive answers or cold stares! I've checked into this and I have an article I'll find tonight that covers your rights as an employee.

The good news for you is that your insurance will probably cover treatment if you use PPO doctors. Pegasys is considered a "non formulary" drug on my prescription plan with Cigna but my out of pocket copay per month will only be $35.00. I was shocked it was so low. The PegIntron is covered at 100% but I want to use Pegasys. Ribaviron is also covered at 100%.

Check with your gastro to find out if they know of any local support groups or try the hospital; they usually have all kinds of support groups. Our group is new (started in October) and we are just getting started. It really was one women and a nurse practioner who treats HCV who got it started. They contacted all the area gastros and let them know when the first meeting was (after they found a place of course) then they invited the Roche and Schering reps to attend. Word is slowly getting out. We meet once a month for about 2 hours and try to get a speaker. Last month we had a psychologist talking about depression and treatment meds. We have all kinds of stages of HCV in there.

Sorry so long winded, I hope I answered your questions. My descision to treat is really based on the fact that I am a 2b (highest response rate to treatment), I fairly young (42), I only have to treat for 6 months, I still feel pretty good most of the time, and I have minimal liver fibrosis. I guess I am afraid of being the "one" that goes into liver failure later on and I feel like I am waiting for the "other shoe to drop", so to speak. I just don't want to live the rest of my life with this "thing" always on my mind. I figured I'd take a shot (ha) at getting rid of it. I haven't exactly lived my life as an angel and I feel blessed for having gotten this far with minimal damage. I didn't come to this decision overnight. I was diagnosed over 2 years ago and have changed my lifestyle (I drank quite a bit up until then). My ALT/AST's have come down and my viral load has stayed the same. Its <1,000,000 or >600,000. What ever that means???

Gosh....I hope I didn't leave anything out :)

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Jemah (edited 02-19-2003).]

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