Monday, November 19, 2012

Hepatitis C Treatment Update #1

I am currently working on a post about inspiration, but the words are not coming easily today. This happens. So instead, I thought some of you might want a little update on how Treatment is going. I am going to be pretty candid here, because I want to give a full picture of what treatment is like, so some of this might be over share. Just a warning.

For those of you that don’t know, I am on what they call “triple therapy”. This consists of a weekly injection of interferon; Telaprevir which I take three times a day; and Ribavirin which I take two times a day. In short, it is a crap load of medicine.  It has to be taken at very specific times and with certain foods. I take the Interferon on Fridays around 10 PM. Tom has been doing the injecting, and boy am I glad I didn’t marry a sissy. With the Interferon, I usually take Tylenol and Benadryl to prevent a fever and any allergic reaction. I take the Teleprevir at 7:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m.. Teleprevir has to be taken with 15-20 grams (or more) of fat so I try my best to consume lower fat foods for both lunch and dinner. The Ribavirin is taken twice a day at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. with food.

Needless to say, I am eating a crap load of food. As of Friday, I have decided to bring stretch pants back. It's gonna be so hot. Thankfully, it's winter and bulky comfy sweaters are my best friend normally this time of year.

For the first four days of treatment I had no side effects. I actually started to feel like maybe I had this in the bag. Then, on the night before my first day back at work (and two nights before a trip to Traverse City for a work related conference), I developed a rash. It wasn’t any big thing. I took a dose of Benadryl at night, got a prescription for a topical cream and it went away. I was still able to attend the conference.

But since then, the party has really started; and by party I mean that embarrassing one your parents threw you at Chuck E. Cheese when you were certainly too old and definitely too cool. Or your Aunt Marjorie’s retirement party where everyone commented on what a woman you were becoming while your cousins made a game out of snapping your bra. Yeah, that party.

After my second shot of interferon, I experienced a fever as well as some fatigue and muscle weakness. I think these were made worse by C.P. Both Saturday and Sunday, I could not stand for longer than ten minutes without feeling extremely fatigued. By Monday, that had improved and I am noticing that if I force myself to get moving I can get the metal fatigue to clear pretty quickly. However there is a fine line. If I try to do too much, which for me seems to be more than a half an hour of physical activity at a time. I am completely wrecked. My legs shake and my arms burn with the effort of keeping me upright. On Friday I burst into tears mid-sentence while Tom and I were on our way to get my blood drawn, alarmed he asked what was wrong. I said. "I am just so tired." I cried for thirty seconds then sucked it up. Tom made me giggle saying "You can doooooo it." And reminded me that I was tough, I had this, and it was small potatoes compared to everything else I've been through.

When I am not dying of exhaustion, I simply can't sleep. Last night, I got two hours before Tom got up to pee and I was up for the rest of the night. It is frustrating. 
I either have chills, or I am sweating. Sometimes my body can't decided and I do both at once.

Now, because I am a sexy beast, I have added hemorrhoids to my list of side effects. Let me tell you, if you ever need to be humbled, hemorrhoids will help you get there with a quickness. Not only is it embarrassing to admit to, they are painful. The kind of painful that makes you want to punch someone in the face.

I am also irritable, and have developed either a rash or acne all over my face. I have never experienced skin this bad in my entire life. So in short, I'm fat, irritable, emotional, weak, tired, covered in zits and it hurts to poop. It's a good thing I already got the wedding out of the way. I am pretty sure that for better or worse, in sickness and in health covers ugly.

My first blood draw was Friday. I am hoping that my viral loads have dropped and that all these awesomely wonderful side effects mean that my body is kicking some serious Hepatitis C ass.


  1. You can doooo it! Stay strong but not so strong you can't do anymore, ok?

    1. Learning (and accepting) my new limits is hard; but Tom keeps reminding me, and slowly but surely, I am learning and accepting them.