Protons, Electrons, and Hepatitis C
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Hello folks, I have to admit, this is a pretty down day for me. The gravity of having a life threatening illness sometimes gets the best of me. I am not looking for sympathy, but it is nice to know that I am not the only one. I want to write today about a fact that I learned all too late for me, but it may be just in time for someone out there who happens to read this in search for answers to the Hepatitis C dilemma. I was over weight when I was re-diagnosed with Hepatitis C, genotype 3, in 2000. Although my GI doctor frowned about my obesity, (ironically, he is now obese!), I do not remember him saying anything more than cautioning about the usual consequences and said, "... you are in stage 1with minimal scarring to the liver. You'll probably die of something else altogether". In 2006, he did a liver biopsy and still stage 1. In 2009 the bomb was dropped, stage 2-3 and still no instructions about my weight. (I'm getting to the point, thanks for your patience). In January of this year 2011, I was referred to an end stage hepatoligist, (a liver specialist), in my city once a month. But I was drawn to this other doctor in Oakland, about 40 miles away. He said,”Joe, it's the end of you. Fat drives the progression of the disease and you are now stage 4 of 4. You have no doubt a fatty liver and that is why your 2nd treatment attempt failed.
Stunned, I left the office and drove home in a daze. How could this be? Why didn't anyone tell me? I will lose this weight! I knocked off 50 of the 60 lbs. I needed to lose in 6 months with diet change and exercise. Weight Watchers is a good method because you can eat whatever you want and still hold yourself accountable.
When I returned to the doctor in Oakland, he was astonished. "You look so much younger! This is huge!"
So the bottom line is now that I have lost the weight and am in the best shape ever, I have a good chance of treatment being effective, but I still have only around a 50%-60% cure rate because of the prior attempts and no new drugs that work on genotype 3 as their are for other genotypes of Hepatitis C.
I have a resting pulse rate of a runner, but it may be all but academic. My hope is that I can save someone else like I could have been saved by knowing this information. Yes, it may have progressed anyway, but I know in my heart of hearts, it was the fat that made me have to bail in the 3rd week of my 2nd treatment attempt. There is a passage in the bible that says, "Without knowledge, my people perish". I'll get the chapter and verse and add it in later but I must post this now!