Of the many preparations I am currently undergoing for my upcoming third attempt to rid my body of the deadly Hepatitis C Virus, the hardest thing has been…, well, everything!
Change diet to low fat, low sugar, low salt, high fiber and all at Weight Watchers Points Plus daily value of 36 or less. (Something others facing interferon treatment should know that you physician may not know or tell you is that my second attempt at treatment failed because of a fatty liver and being obese. I was completely down for the count within 3 short weeks due to severity of side effects. This was mostly due to being over weight.
Regular exercise: Join a gym or be disciplined enough to work in some type of effective program at home. (More about expansion on these bullet points later on).
Stop smoking: you will not even be considered for a liver transplant if you are or have been smoking within the prior year!
For myself, (this is a preference but I think a major help in tolerating side effects), and many of you who have pain from treatment, (flu-like symptoms, aching joints, muscles and mouth pain), A good pain management program which includes, Narcotic Pain Medicines! They are the only thing that works and eases the suffering much like a cancer patient, hepatitis C in later stages as mine, (stage 4 of 4), there is much pain and my workouts would have remained a fantasy without my pain meds. Yes I will probably have to be weaned off them if I am cured after the treatment but the upside, (saving my life by staying on the treatment for the whole coarse), definitely out weighs the downside. Besides, most people who take even Oxycontin as directed do not become addicted. It’s when you start to mess with the doses, i.e., cut the pills in half for more time release at once, taking more than prescribed, etc. that you get into trouble.
I know this sounds extreme. This is my 3rd time around. This first treatment worked using the methods I mentioned above, but the first round, (back in 2006), was 6 months. Had it been for 1 year, I would have been cured the first time.
Unfortunately, I have what’s called “genotype 3” a sub category of Hepatitis C that although it has a higher response rate, the new drugs being touted do not work on this genotype. So it’s good ol’ Peg interferon Alpha 2A for me unless they come up with a new drug before Feb. 2012.
This is my first post in this new blog/forum. The intent is to help others avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into head first and to hopefully encourage each other through the hell of interferon treatment. Most people aren’t fortunate enough not to have side effects form interferon. But hey, if you’re out there and you’re so inclined, please feel free to post a comment.