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Hi Avalon,

Just want to give you a bit of history as your story sounds a lot like my husbands. It's my husband that has HCV but I'm the one researching as he's not "computer friendly" when it comes to this sort of thing.

My husband is 45. Contracted the dragon from dirty needle about 20+ years ago, had symptoms for a few months. Went away and as young as he was---that was it. He knew he wasn't to donate blood but no other advice was given to him.

We got married about 7 years after he contracted the disease and I begged him to get a check up when he wasn't feeling well. He finally went and they diagnoised an ulcer. No other advice was given about the HepC. He did go to a friend of friends doctor and they misdiagnoised and said it wasn't something else.....remember the "burying my head in the sand" thing you mentioned?....exactly what my husband did. He's not an alcholic but can drink like a fish when partying.

First of last year (2002) he was sick had to go to the doc so I asked doc to give him a physical being as he hadn't had one in 3 years! Doc knew of his HepC and asked him about it since his blood work came back so high. He was concerned asked him to stop drinking, come back and retest in 1 week. He was high again but slightly lower. This woke my husband up to the drinking. They ran 1 other test, came back as needing a specialist. WHAT A WAKE UP CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My husband is a Genotype2. Easiest to treat by way of better success rate. Biopsy (pure hell)was 1-2. Doc gave us worst case scenerios and we were flabbergasted!!!!!We went like gang-busters educating ourselves on HepC. Mind you they know more now than 20 years ago. Foremost in our minds----we have 3 children and want to see them grow up with 2 parents. Heck, he wants to see them get married and have his grandchildren!!!!!! I of course being married to the man for 18 years want another 18 more...teeheee!

Not that I'm an expert and it's just my opinion but to answer some of your questions......

The reason we decided to go ahead with treatment----We asked the SAME THING.."why do treatment if it's taken 22 years to progress to a borderline 2?" Well, we found out through him and his mentor in San Francisco (liver foundation top notcher) that it's a big controversy right now about:
If you have HepC for let's say 30 years (been drinking, partyin' livin' life) and it's only taken you to a borderline stage 2, then why wouldn't it take you another 30 years (not partyin', stop drinking, etc.,) to get to a borderline stage 3 and at that point a 45 yr old patient would be about 75ish and only a few more good years to go anyways. BUT--------

there's some studies done (again hearing from doctor's mentor, not sure if it's fact studies) that say "yes, it's taken 30 years to get to this point and you're doing great BUT now it's going to PERHAPS progress quite quickly now for about the next 5-8 years!"
We DID NOT like those odds. Now we're looking at age 53ish. Heck, still lots of good years left.

Also doctor says the older you get (just like anything else) the tougher it is on your body, possibly harder to treat with symptoms being more severe. Hmmmmmmmm?

Next case scenerio....let's say decide not to treat. HepC progresses liver failure. If you are able to receive a liver transplant, can your body TAKE the transplant better at 75ish than the treatment at 45?????Hmmmmmmm?

Bottom line for us is....if this treatment can take the dragon away with 6 months of hell then it's worth it to put another 10 years of life back on. He did decide we would wait until after the holidays to treat.

Husband is in the same boat as you with work. He's the plant manager and has about 40+ employees under him. His boss is an A$$ and won't be understanding when he has to take off. Boss did get wind in December that he may have to take disability after February and work has been pure hell for hubby the last couple months---we think his boss is trying to make him quit so he won't have to pay for disability and/or unemployement. He's even hinted "I may have to fire you" With our bills being BIG, he is more stressed over that than anything. I worry that the worrying will affect his treatment----so I hear ya girlfriend---work sucks!

Doctor did say he could discontinue treatment whenever he chose to and symptoms will go away. Perhaps try at another time or take chances with the dragon in your body. That was reassuring...along with the fact that getting on these boards and listening to some people say they have little or no symptoms has really lifted our spirits on the fact that he may NOT have to take time off of work. Someone on here said that they take injections on Friday nights and feeling better by Sunday. Maybe that's an option for you to consider also.

We go for our appointment tomorrow (Friday) and my stomach is in knots. I have a 2 page paper with questions about the treatment-----disability, how hard to get on it; How much is treatment; What other medications to take; What foods to avoid; Etc, Etc., He's going to be sick to death of us by the time we're done. We're going to push for the Pegasys, as I hear there is less side affects and seems like a great success rate.

Sorry to long winded. Don't know if it's OK to give my email but if it is I'd be more than happy to give it to you. I plan on making a diary once my husband starts---it will be for friends and family--then as final draws to a close I plan to put it on the internet to help other HepC patients.

Take Care,
Susan





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