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Hi again,

Good for you on the hep b and especially hep A immuizations!... these are very impt. for us. Although in general i am anti-alarmist about hep c, there is no doubt that getting another hep on top of it is bad news. very bad. so get those shots!!

this is killing me, but you force me to state that I am 56. i did not discover this thing when young, but rather two and a half years ago or so.

from what i've been able to reconstruct of my life history, it seems likeliest that i contracted it 30 plus years ago (by the way, I have had hep B, too, so now i show the antibodies to both. oh, and of course i took my own advice and got the vaccine for hep A, so all three must show up in my blood now...no one will EVER let me donate blood again, that's for sure.)

to further reassure you: yes, you can be experiencing important stages of liver damage without having any symptoms--this does happen sometimes, but no this does NOT translate into: you will have cirrhosis or be near to transplant time and still have no inklings or hints. Yes, every individual case is unique, and yes this is a variable disease, but by the time of cirrhosis, there have usually been hints of illness. then, by the time the cirrhosis is so bad that someone is discussing transplant (!), there are a LOT of symptoms.--that person is ill, and knows it. so, once again, this does not seem to be you, and you can relax a bit.

The liver enzymes are not a certain signal, but in general low is better than high. Without reason to suspect otherwise, if you feel well, and your numbers are low-ish (and they are), the assumption you should be working on is that you are one of the lucky majority, not one of the few who are in shorter-term trouble or may be soon.


keep reading--the vaccine thing was a good catch--you're obviously picking up useful stuff.

oh, and thanks for reasuring me (and your youngest) that you ain't taking off for Cali and leaving any kids behind! Whew.

In the words of bob Marley, "EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE ALLRIGHT."


ciao Val.....


SEAN
Hello again Val,

I think you're getting the picture. Thanbey's info is the best of anyone's in the field i've found. [no, i'm not part of her hcop organization, although I've sent 'em a contribution; and no, i've never met her, she lives on the west coast, i on the (much preferred) east coast.]

To answer the questions you addressed to me: I haven't treated BECAUSE I DON'T NEED TREATMENT. I'm betting you won't, either.
so, it's optional, in other words. if i decided to treat, and IF it turned out to be successful, i would maybe reduce my future worries, maybe not have to worry about transmission to loved ones, maybe get to knock off a whole bottle of delicious red wine with dinner if i feel like it (sigh....), but these are OPTIONAL considerations.

and, I'm still weighing my options. I might just do it when Roche's Pegasys comes on the market. If it ever comes on the market.

if a second biopsy for me shows more rapid fibrosis progression--more on this, below--or if my liver enzyme numbers suddenly shoot through the roof, or if any symptoms really start to show up, that would maybe change the balance of the decision for me, too. don't know--don't have any of these problems at the moment.

ookay, as to fibrosis/ cirrhosis/ etc. There are generally accepted to be four stages of fibrosis (not counting zero--normal) I am at stage 1, for example--after my decades of infection. MOST HEP C'ers DO NOT PROGRESS PAST STAGE ONE. (sometimes called "mild" fibrosis).

somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of us go on to stage two within 20 years.( sometimes called "moderate" fibrosis--these are obviously not exact terms). for these individuals, the indications seem to be that fibrosis will continue to advance--slow, fast, with drink, without, faster after age 50....who knows, so many variables???
Definitely seems like we can slow it down a lot by avoiding booze and taking other sensible steps.

stage three is no longer moderate, and stage FOUR is cirrhosis. It is a long way off for the huge majority of us. In fact, please remember that the numbers show that the majority of us do NOT progress past mild or moderate AT ALL. nevermind get all the way to cirrhosis.

then once at cirrhosis, thanbey's info is so valuable--even cirrhosis is not a death sentence, not by a long shot.

Again, Val, hep C is treated as a serious disease because UNdetected, UNtaken care of with life-style changes and so on, it is then quite serious for SOME--a minority--of those who get it. if at that point it is also UNtreated, then some of this minority may get very sick indeed. Even if its a minority, it is a large enough group to mean you can't just shrug it off. but that does not change the fact that for most of us, we just will not probably ever be hurt by it.

It is NOT a serious disease because it is fatal or nearly so for a huge portion of us--say like HIV was before the recent treatment advances. These are both viral, both blood-borne diseases, but they don't really have much else in common. please remember that. jeez, influenza is an incurable virus, too, and occassionally fatal. so? big deal.

Please remember, when you go on tuesday, to take a pad and pencil with you--a tape or disc recorder would be fine if the doc won't mind. line up all your questions in advance, and warn the doc that you're really gonna need some quality time with him or her.

Keep the faith, Val. You are gonna be allright. remember t's mantra: I am not dead, I am alive.....actually, from your writing you seem very alive. good for ya.

sean

if i'm right, how am i gonna collect on my bet? this internet thing still has a long way to go......





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