I am a single 35yr old woman, no kids. I'm also a Respiratory Therapist, I no longer work in a hospital setting, but I think that is where I got HepC, I found out from the American Red Cross letter I got thru the US mail. I was never so shocked and hurt, that I could have such a thing! I was just diagnosed in June 2010, had a biopsy in Aug 2010, it showed that I had some fibrosis, but no cirrhosis. That was the first and only good news, I have Geno type 1a. I'm told thru my gastro MD that this is the tricker of the Geno types to have. Greaaatt...Just my luck! I don't know how long or if this has been in my body for a while, I also have a tatoo. I can't rack my brain trying to figure out were or why for that matter, it is only making me more depressed, I take 100mg twice daily of Zoloft for depression, this is something I was already taking, they just uped my dosage. I'm still pretty depressed. I wasn't able to start treatment due to having back surgery in Nov 2010, I have recovered from that remarkably! I healed very well and that pain is behind me. I was supposed to begin treatment in Jan2011 but I wasn't emotionally ready yet, and don't know if I ever will be. I went to the MD Jan 3, 2011 and she told me she didn't think I was ready, I cried alot while I was there, but, I always do. This is such a bad dream for me, I was diagnosed when I was 28yrs old with post-menopause, I no longer have periods, therefore I'm unable to bare children, This to me was devistating! I thought that was my bad hand I was dealt.... LIFE! It has many ups and downs.... I did by chance hear about a new medicine they are going to begin giving Geno type 1 patients along with Peginterferon, and Ribavirin. It is supposed to help type "1" people respond better to treatment. The new medicine is "Telaprevir"... It has not been approved by the FDA yet, it is told to me that it should be by June or July this year 2011. My MD told me that I can wait till this medicine comes out to begin my treatment of a gruling 48weeks (11 months) of treament. I'm scared to death to start this, I know that it is a MUST... that it has to be done, but that doesn't make it easier for me to wrap my mind around. I have a great support system with a great boyfriend that was with me when I found out that I had tested positive, My mother is also wonderful. But, I know that I am the ONE that has to ultimately go thru this process and suffer. I really do have a question, I found myself "venting!!" I'm sorry!!! I feel so tired that I could just sleep my life away, I have really noticed it alot worse this week mainly. I don't have anymore symptoms that I have noticed. My legs feel like rubber, and it is not just a depression sleepiness, I just don't have any energy, I had blood work done again in Dec 2010, and it said that my liver enzymes were normal this time, they were elevated the last time. I have had to really MAKE myself get up and do thigs this week, peeling myself off of the couch is a great feat. I haven't old anyone other than you guys, I don't want to sound like I'm a hyperchondriac... did anyone in thir early stages notice fatigue more than anything else, and it very noticable to myself.
Okay I will try to answer some of your questions based on my own experience and knowledge.
First you need to head together about this. Don't worry how you got HCV. It doesn't matter. Most people don't know how or when they got it. Focus on managing and curing yourself of the virus. That is what matters. I know the depression is one of the toughest illness out there. I suffered from major depression for many decades. Believe me it is harder than treatment and more difficult than having advanced cirrhosis. You say you are taking Zoloft but are still depressed! Why? You should be able to find a anti-depressant that relieves your depression totally. It took me many many tries with different anti-depressants to find one the worked for me but I did with the help of my psychiatrist. You need to find a Psychiatrist who can help you to manage your depression. Life is tough enough without the weight of depression weighing on you. You say " I feel so tired that I could just sleep my life away, I have really noticed it alot worse this week mainly....I just don't have any energy" is this the symptoms of the type of depression you suffer from? It is call "atypical depression" although it is not atypical at all and is very common. You mention crying a lot. This is a common symptoms of depression. So again I think these symptoms are from your depression not hep c. For most people symptoms of hep c only occur when a person has advanced (decompensated) cirrhosis. When the liver is unable to perform all of its functions. At that point extreme fatigue is one of the main symptoms along with physical changes to the body. You say you have liver fibrosis but not cirrhosis so you have time before reaching the stage of liver disease.
There is no reason to be scared to death about treatment. Yes at first it is very frightening to know the you have a virus that is damaging your liver. And treatment can be no picnic. You have the advance of being a young woman which increases your chance of success. If you can survive depression in my book you can survive just about anything. Remember HCV is curable. With the new meds the chances of cure will almost double from the current treatment now available. There has never been a better time to treat your hepatitis C!!! It takes time for all of us to absorb the information and come to terms with having a serious disease such as HCV. But you already have taken on depression, back surgery, and realized your can't give birth to a baby yourself. No small feet. That didn't kill you, did it? No. You are tougher then you know. The depression is coloring your view of yourself. You have a lot going for you and you can beat this thing.
You have a great support system. That is key. You are very lucky to have caring people in your life. They will help you get through this. One day at a time.
Please find a psychiatrist that will help you overcoming your depression. Treatment can cause depression especially in persons with a history of depression so you need to be able to manage your depression before starting treatment. Once you have your depression under control you must work with a doctor to help you get through the 24 weeks or more likely 48 weeks of treatment. Yes it can be challenging to say the least. But many many people have done it and many of them are part of this community and will be happy to help you in any way they can.
I was very tired and had the "flu" more times than I can count before I was diagnosed. It has taken me a little (longish) while to feel better but I am and the virus is gone so it was worth the inconvenience of treating.
hi...are you saying that for the last 10 years the sx i have are not from hep c because i don't have cirrhosis yet??? i'm only 2/2/..58.......the fatigue....the lost of strength ...the brain fog...the nasty stuff that won't go away is from depression or something else???i wonder how come when my alts ..asts..are over 200 i feel worse...or how come when i got my vl down to 18000 along with my liver enzymes in the normal range did i feel a lot better...btw i had no idea of the results of the blood work until after i was feeling better...and working in fumes or new carpets, thats not so great seems to make me feel sicker then everyone else..is this not related to hep c??...i eat healthy..exercised my whole life...am always the right weight...have never been diagnosis with depression...i also think a lot of folks jump too quickly to drugs for depression when sometimes it could be something as simple as being lazy,lack of exercise...although i do think i'll be on something while i tx because it will be tough to get enough exercise and maybe not too smart to push myself....anyway thanks for your posts i do read a lot of them and have gotten some good info in the past..this one just got to me.....billy
Thank you so much for your comments and the info you provided. I'm fairly new to this community and have been reading various posts for the past few days and am feeling overwhelmed and frankly terrified of the treatment that is yet to come. Your positive thoughts are appreciated.
I worry about not only how this is going to affect the quality of my life, but also the reactions of other people, the distress of having to inform a dentist (new to the city here so don't have a new one yet!) and of course the cost. I think I understand from these posts that shots are once weekly and I am guessing I will need to contact my insurance company once I know what treatment I am going to need, to find out what is covered by insurance and what isn't ... and then what to do about the parts not covered by insurance. The fear of feeling sick ... being sick ... doesn't sit well with me at all and I admire the courage and stamina of all of you who contribute to these posts so that we can get "real life" testimonies.
Billy, thanks for your feedback. What I was trying to say is that the vast majority of persons infected with HCV are asymptomatic. Not everyone, the the vast majority. One obvious example of this is that the most persons with HCV are unaware that they are infected with the virus as they continue to feel “well”. It is only when these persons happened to have an antibody test for hepatitis that they find out that they are infected.
Am I correct that you are saying that your biopsy in stage 2? And you are 58 years old? My age. Am I saying that your “the fatigue....the lost of strength ...the brain fog...the nasty stuff” is from either major depression. No. The post I was commenting on was from a woman who stated that she has a history of depression (most persons with depression have recurrent episodes over time) and is taking an anti-depressant but is still depressed in her opinion. I am not your doctor, the only one who can ascertain your true health status, and I am not implying that the woman’s health has anything to do with your health? I was only giving my opinion based on the facts she presented and my personal knowledge of both major depression and advanced cirrhosis.
I am happy that you have never experience clinical depression. But I must take issue with you about one thing that you say. You say that depression “could be something as simple as being lazy, lack of exercise”. I am sure you are not the only one that thinks this, it is a myth based on misinformation and our society's stigma against persons with metal health problems. It is about as true as the myth that everyone with HCV at one time was a lying in the gutter junkie who probably doesn’t deserve health-care resources for treatment. As you have never suffered from clinical depression perhaps there is no need to know better, but I can assure you that depression is no "it's all in their head, they're lazy, snap out of it illness" as I have personal experience with cancer, ESLD and depression. And I can assure you that more people kill themselves due to the suffering caused by depression that ESLD or cancer. For us with ESLD we do everything in our power to live and to live everyday as best we can despite our suffering from liver disease. Everyday is precious. We don’t know how many more days we might have. When a person is suffering from serious depression, life seems meaningless; there is nothing but psychic unbearable pain and hopelessness. We feel we rather be dead. I am one of the lucky ones as I no longer have depressive episodes. Believe me I would rather have a possibly fatal disease such as liver disease then to know that I had to go through years of depression again.
That your AST and ALT has been over 200 is an issue. These readings are very high and indicate quick liver damage. This is no small matter and I agree with your concern. Note that for some people AST and ALT can change quickly from low to very high levels. But this should be known by you if you are one of those persons. Also AST and ALT may be high from other causes, such as severe muscle breakdown. Again I appreciate your concern no matter what the cause. Surely your doctor should be able to diagnose the cause of such test results and the reason you are experiencing the symptoms that you experience. If not find someone who can.
As you know many chemicals are toxic to the liver can cause liver damage. That you are “working in fumes or new carpets” is something you my want to be careful around.
As for why you feel ill. I can’t say. I am sorry that you are suffering in any way. My only recommendation is that if I was experiencing what you are I would find a doctor or doctors to disgnose the cause of the symptoms I am experiencing.
sounds like you are a very strong lady. I've in wk 7 of 47 and every time I get a new sx I freak totally out, and sooner or later I find my way back to these posts whose practical advice beats the heck out of my nurses' answers!
when I feel like you describe it is usually depression, for me.
I agree about your need to try another antidepressant. They are all different chemically. I've tried 4 different ones before I found the one that works best for me, and the difference is amazing. I dealt with a lot of tears in the process, and believe me, you don't need to even think about starting treatment until you get this under control.
One other thing that stands out on your post is your very early menopause. Have you recently had your hormone levels checked? If they are all out of whack you will feel very teary and tired. That can be easily corrected.
I agree with the other advice members have given you too.
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