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Neil

Thanks for sharing that, guess you will be getting lots of news on your Week 24 results. Hope all is well. I suppose that starting with such a high viral load and having the virus go PCR negative is fantastic. The bump up in levels is not too bad, it sounds like the medication is still acting on your liver. I expect it will drop as treatment progresses or after treatment. The dosage of ribavirin you are taking can be hard on the liver, even though it is fighting the virus.

Have you noticed any signs related to the enzyme levels? Was your urine previously very dark and has lightened up a lot, not as dark now? Was it even lighter when your enzyme levels were at their lowest?

When I was on Rebotron I noticed my urine became much lighter, my enzyme levels dropped to normal levels by mid-treatment (12 weeks out of 24). The reason I got tested for the virus a couple years ago was because I asked my regular GP why my urine was getting to be a darker yellow so she decided to check enzyme levels, lo and behold they were elevated (not bad, they were about 50) and the alternate GP decided to follow up with hep tests, he was wise, suggested that I minimize my intake of alcohol while on vacation the next month, that I would get results when I returned. When I got back my regular GP asked me to come visit right away and advised I had hep C. We should have been monitoring my enzymes on a yearly basis, as I was taking oral estrogen tablets which can affect the liver, but my regular GP didn't feel all the tests were necessary as my enzymes were normal until the mid-90s. Might have caught it 6 or 7 years ago if we were monitoring the enzymes.

Also, I was vaccinated for hepA/B 6 years ago, without knowing I had hepC. If they had pretested me for hepC back then I would have known better. Why vaccinate if you already have antibodies to hepA/B? Hep screening should be done prior to vaccinating for hepA/B. If they had prescreened me, this is another reason I would have known a lot earlier.

I could have been in on the first Pegasys trials and would have had less liver damage. It took a year just to get into the GI clinic and to be offered Rebotron which I had to pay for (at least the medicare deductible). To me, it was not an option, I wanted to clear the virus. Thankfully, money is not a problem, and even if it is, there are programs that make the treatment available to those with lower incomes.

It didn't really hit me until I researched hepC and then I got depressed, but I kept active and was not too down as long as I kept busy, kept my mind on other things. I tried Paxil, but I think it is not liver friendly and I got a lot of migraines from it, so weaned myself off of it.

Figure I had hepC since the early 80s, probably got it from a transfusion for surgery. If I would have known I was going to get a transfusion for elective surgery and the risk of hep and hiv I would have gotten my own blood drawn in advance. Thank heaven the bad blood, likely donated by someone in the US needing cash (possibly for drugs?), didn't carry hiv. But it is interesting that I contracted 3A rather than the more prevalent 1A/1B in the US. Maybe it just coincidental that I have Scottish ancestry?

It is better to know than to not know you have any form of hep. How you deal with the knowledge makes all the difference in the world. Knowing means you can take extra precautions in exposing yourself to other viruses, contagions and toxins. It is important to even check medications prescribed by your doctors because even they can have ingredients toxic to your liver (always ask the pharmacist) which your GP may not be aware of.

Like you, I was fortunate to be only a social drinker. And I tried to eat healthy although I did enjoy a lot of sweet and fatty foods, but am more careful now, tending towards fibers, veggies, low fat/sugar, fruits, natural foods, and lean meats. Over the years, I have tried many herbal supplements (I agree with you that they are more of a financial drain than anything) and also tried natural herbal remedies I collected in the wilds for various ailments, all the time without even knowing I had the virus. I am fortunate I did not overindulge in any of them.

I agree that a balanced diet is very important, and lots of water. Bananas, peanuts, popcorn and ice cream are also some of my favorite foods, Neil. I believe that blueberries (even in jam) are excellent for the liver (just make sure you always wash them, recently someone contracted hepA/B from blueberries they picked, likely someone with hep urinated on them?). Other berries are good, too. Another favorite food that seems to help knock down enzyme levels is avocadoes. If you want a healthy whack of vitamins try kale, its even better than broccoli.

I now have stage 1 fibrosis and level 1 inflammation. It will likely take many years for my liver to return to normal.

So I am going to live life to its fullest. I scrimped and saved for so many years for the future, but since the future is now an unknown I have decided to start investing and living for today.

It is possible to have fun without sipping on an alcoholic drink. It will be a decade before I entertain drinking liquer again, if ever.

It is worthwhile listening to what your body is telling you. If you feel you have a problem, keep bringing it to your GP's attention until you find out what is causing the problem.

This is especially important while on treatment.

Enjoying family, friends, coworkers, the outdoors and our pets is what it is all about. Neil, Jeannie and all you other folks who get out there while fighting this dragon embody this spirit.

Hope all goes well, enjoy the weather, whatever it is.

Getting out of the house NOW!


Diana

PS.

Life is full of should'ves, would'ves, and could'ves.

It's not the chances we take, it's the choices we make, that determine our destiny.





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