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Will I still be able to work during treatment?
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Will I still be able to work during treatment?

I've got Hep C; Genotype 3; Viral load 148,000; biopsy showed stage 2 fibrosis.

    Treatment suggested is 24 week of peg (~800 weekly) + Ribo (bid).

     I read about all of the side effects. Will I still be able to work my 8 - 5 desk job?  Will I look like a gaunt chemo-sabi?

     Also where is a list of all of the acronyms you use?  TX = treatment?  Dx=Diagnosis?  what else?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi sorry about your diagnosis but you found the right place to ask questions :)

I have been working since the beginning (44 weeks) and I haVe to go all the way to week 72(lucky me).  

It's NOT always easy at all...it's no fun being on treatment (tx) but most of us find it doable.  Doable IS the word because sometimes you feel way worse than others.  I have a desk job and so that works out GREAT for me.

But when the anemia hits, if it hits hard - it does become quite difficult.  I have missed a total of 3 days in the 44 weeks. Literally I was fainting and just couldn't drive LOL.

But other than that you get sort of used to the general lethargy and I find that once I get up and shower...it helps me a LOT more to be productive than to lay in bed.  It's like when you have a cold and you lay around going "oh I'm sick..." you feel DREADFUL but if you get up and get going...you sort of DO feel better.

Everyone is different but there are a lot of us in here who do work (most of us can't afford NOT to go to work since this disease is VERY VERY difficult to get covered by any disability act that is paid - in fact I haven't heard of anyone getting it).

So...we do what we have to do.

And hey...some people dont have ANY bad problem with sides...so you just might be one of them!

Best of luck,
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Folks~

Been a long time since I was around here – you may remember me as Invictus or St. Georgie Girl – I was more of a lurker than a poster.  Couldn’t remember my password, so here I am again with another name.  

I finished 51 weeks of treatment in April of 2005 – and I am STILL CLEAR.  I was Type 1A with a viral load of 2.5 million.   I did PegIntron with Ribavirin like most folks here, and smashed that Dragon flat the first try.

I wouldn’t kid you and tell you it’s easy, but it is waaaaay do-able.  In fact, I worked 40+ plus hour weeks the entire time and altogether missed maybe ten days in the year of treatment (well – 51 weeks, but I don’t quibble over that one week!).  I built a couple of very good databases and did some other work I‘m still proud of during that time period, so if you are good to yourself you really can still concentrate and function.

If you haven’t started treatment yet (or even if you have) here are my tips:

Buy yourself an inexpensive alarm watch that will beep twice a day to remind you of your pills.  Consistent dosing is important.

Use Nioxin shampoo on your hair.  It’s good stuff – and cheap on eBay or at Wal Mart.  

Take sublingual B-12 religiously every day (I have some theories about the anemia and the mouth sores that tie back to B-12 deficiency – it is, after all, stored in the liver).  Take Biotin daily as well.  TAKE AN ANTIDEPRESSANT!  I started the vitamins and an antidepressant 1 month before I started treatment and I am ever so glad that I did.

Biotene toothpaste really helps, and there’s a gel paste made by Ora-Gel that you can squirt in your mouth every night to keep your mouth moist overnight.  And no kidding about the water:  WATER, WATER, WATER!  Allow a nice large insulated mug full of good cold water to become your closest companion.  However much the doc says drink, drink that and a little more.

I didn’t eat much meat at all while on treatment.  Take it easy on your stomach.  Protonix or Nexium are good aids to use.  Also, take Colace or a similar stool softener every night, especially if you do as I did and use pain meds to take the edge off.

Although I had considerable anemia, I never had to resort to whatever the name of that stuff is people use to fight it.  I figured I was getting stuck enough the way it was, and hesitated to add anything else to the mix.

Don’t worry what anyone thinks if you tell them you have Hep C – THE ONES WHO MATTER WON’T MIND, AND THE ONES WHO MIND DON’T MATTER.  

Take it slow, take it easy, and be good to yourself.  Laugh as much as you can – kick back and ride it out.  The less you give in, the better off you are, so retain as much control over your life as you can and keep things as normal as possible.   At the same time, don’t sweat the small stuff – I’ve come out of this with a much more philosophical outlook on life so if you are lucky, you may find this to be one of the most life-reaffirming, character-building experiences you’ve ever had.

If you are in the Atlanta area and looking for a good doctor, I recommend Dr. Brian Pearlman at Atlanta Medical Center.  The man is a saint, hero, and my knight in shining armor.

If you want to e-mail me when things get tough, my e-mail address is ***@****  I’m not a great advice giver, but I’m an excellent listener!

Good luck and God bless . . .
Maggie

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Avatar_m_tn
On the acronyms, see a previous response I gave jack4u for a start of a list.  Some become apparent as one reads along.

As for working, I do not anyone can give a yes or no answer as tx affects everyone differently.  There are many commonly shared sx's folks have, but often times it seems the level at which they are experienced a differ almost as widely as the type of sx's folks endure.  So while you can read about many experiences folks may be having, right now you can never know how you'll respond until you are into tx.

I for one am still working full time at a desk job 25 wks into tx.  But I also have not experienced very many of the sx's most folks seem to go through. I do not think the same would hold true for me if I had to perform alot of physical labor.  But then again I'm going through near severe anemic sx's from my tx and am trying to treat a nasty bout of Geno 1A Stage 4 with a high VL that nearly was off the chart when I began tx.

But like nygirl with her dual infection, I too tend to do go for the gusto in most things I do, although I'm beginning to regret some of the wild oats I sowed now that the harvest is coming in <G>.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow!

Thanks all!  What great feedback!

I'm glad  I found you!
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Avatar_n_tn
Good you're starting tx -- I put it off couple years & now wish I didn't.  As far as work, it's hard to say.  Some people have  different sx, it's like a **** shoot.  Don't know what you're going to get dealt until you start.  Some can't work at all or some work full-time, but have to take it easy at night.  Some work less hours and some are able to maintain their regular work schedule.  I've been lucky & haven't had any sides so I've been able to maintain my full-time job (corporate asst.) & part-time job (teaching 7 fitness classes a week) plus take care of 3 kids.   I've been very fortunate.  Hope that you are able to get thru it ok, too.  Best of luck...
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Avatar_n_tn
I was working part time before TX and have con't to work into the 6 wks I've been tx'ing. I don't have a desk job tho and I do do(?) physical labor. I had my doctor write a note explaining about TX and SX (side effects)and now at work I am able to just do as much as I feel like.

So far my sx have been mild to non-exsistant. Some fatigue and occaisionally some flu like symptoms. Later they may hit harder but I only work 4 hours a day and I think I can handle it.

Sitting around the house EVERY SINGLE DAY would be alot worse.

I don't really like working and especially the job that I have--but I also am really bored sitting around the house on my days off. I'm starting to HATE TV.
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Avatar_n_tn
What's up with you post? Is you key board doin that on purpose? I don't even SEE any symbols like that ON MY KEYBOARD,,LOLOLOLOLOL

Does that mean you are quoting a newsgroup? Am I supposed to know what that means??

I feel like I'm reading chianeessee or latin or ufo
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm alittle different from the others  as I have some injury in my brain and general abnormal EKG(is that the brain one). The shots and riba hit me cognitively immediately and quite hard. As I mentioned before, for a while it was like being in a coma, on speed, with a migraine. Not fun but good medical help from my doc and things got easier. Couldn't work with my tough little behavior student but it seems the treatment drugs cleared a lot of my cognitive difficulties. Anyone think that the virus could be responsible for damage as it made it's visit and hung aroung in brain tissue? Believe me Mack, I've never heard of anyone with these sides so I think you can almost count on NOT getting them. I had very few flu-like symptoms but was hit pretty hard with joint muscle and bone pain (especially when Eprex was introduced) No-one is the same but even with my rocky road I would have treated. I was stage3 in 2000, I had symptoms but not bad, just knew it was time. Prepare yourself for everything and make the very best of your days. (sometimes figuring out what day it was was a mjor victory for me) Hey, still made me feel better!! Good Luck, you're one of the lucky  ones I just know it!! Peace to you........Diane ps my first post treatment pcr this Fri. Pretty nevous
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107513_tn?1232290064
I went 48 weeks of tx, and missed only 5 or 6 days the entire year.. A few of those days where just call outs because of naseau, or Dr's appointments, etc..
And I did not have the luxury of a desk job. I have a VERY physical job, standing on my feet for long periods of time, carrying heavy objects, subjected to heat, working with power tools,etc.
How tx will effect you is unknown.. Everyone reacts differently.
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Avatar_n_tn
You will never know how you feel until you start.  I found getting up and getting dressed was half the battle.  Once I got to work I was fine, and better off working.  No time to sit and focus on "this sucks, I feel bad" - I really didn't miss work time except for doctor appointments and maybe a day here or there cause I could!  Good luck to you on treatment!
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow thought it was just me-and it did give me a good laugh.
No disrespect intended Magdelana!
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100019_tn?1335923317
Good Luck to you.  It's not as hard as chemotherapy for cancer tx, but it's still very hard.  As stated people are affected differently.

If I had to do over again A) I probably would not treat and B) I would work it out so that I didn't have to work.

I have a desk job and from about week 16 I had to cut my hours from 8-5 to 8-3.  And sometimes I've left at noon.

There's one other person on here that found they couldn't work at all either.

It's very different for everyone.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there folks...
my name is Guy citizen of Belgium europe. I'm a 42 male - genotype 3a - VL 390 000 and at week 22 of Tx. The end is near wow.

Great forum with lots of great people so I come lurking once in a while. Little comment on the tips given to newbies which I don't really appreciate. Everbodys talking about take this and this and that... most important thing to do is to listen to your body and your mind. the less medications to take the better so far as I know... There is also a story going around that eating really fat food would be great for the medications to take. I think that is a little mistaken. The new PegInterferon 2b is coupled to fat to stay longer into our system. With the Riba I don't think it's necessary to take with greasy stuff like we take them daily. Eat healthy whcih is great to do every day of your entire life even when the little creature is flushed out of your system - ovewight is a bad guide for Tx and Sx... I worked the whole period of Tx. First two months were difficult but less then expected. It's good to read experiences from other people. Just don't take them as scientific. Everybody's background and constitution is different so...

Fresh food - fresh vegetables and tons of water and fresh juices are magnificent
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Love your country.  I spent many weeks,over two years, in Brussels for business. Beautiful and enjoyable place.  You wrote 'Eat healthy whcih is great to do every day of your entire life even when the little creature is flushed out of your system - ovewight is a bad guide for Tx and Sx... ' Words to live by.  Good luck with the last few weeks of treatment.  Have you been virus-clear for a while?  I also am geno 3, but relapsed after treatment.
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Guy,
Those results have the right direction, enzymes and hemoglobin down, to be expected.  But, did the doc do a viral load test since you began, or just the blood stuff.  You are right to deal with what you are doing now and take the next steps later.  I assume thay your treatment is 24 weeks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks FLGuy for the appreciation for my humble tiny country... I do feel very honoured by your words!!!

Have you been virus-clear for a while? I had bloodtest done every 4 weeks of the first three months of Tx. Like my values were pretty ok - no risk of anemia or other complications - my hepaDoc didn't find it necessary to keep me going. the only values I know are my AST and ALT values taken once before Tx and three times during - as mentioned before.

Overview values:

Chronological from 12 07 05 > 01 03 06 > 29 03 06 / {] values out of range

ALT

{60} > 29 > 17  

Hemo

16.8 > 15.4 > {12.9} values out of range but acceptable.

So I haven't seen my doc since end March 06... don't know yet what the situation is now a days but I do feel so much better. No Sx so far or not in a way to spread the word. I will be very pleased to finish this part... what comes later is something not to care about now. Small steps and hopefully leading me to THE climax AKA SVR. If I ever relaps I know wha to do... go for another therapy like I'm not afraid of it anymore. My hope goes to clearing right away of course ;-]

Keep it up and have an excellent day the all of you,

Guy
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks FLGuy for the appreciation for Belgium... I do feel very honoured by your words!!!

Have you been virus-clear for a while? I had bloodtest done every 4 weeks of the first three months of Tx. Like my values were pretty ok - no risk of anemia or other complications - my hepaDoc didn't find it necessary to keep me going. the only values I know are my AST and ALT values taken once before Tx and three times during - as mentioned before.

Overview values:

Chronological from 12 07 05 > 01 03 06 > 29 03 06 / {] values out of range

ALT

{60} > 29 > 17  

Hemo

16.8 > 15.4 > {12.9} values out of range but acceptable.

So I haven't seen my doc since end March 06... don't know yet what the situation is now a days but I do feel so much better. No Sx so far or not in a way to spread the word. I will be very pleased to finish this part... what comes later is something not to care about now. Small steps and hopefully leading me to THE climax AKA SVR. If I ever relaps I know wha to do... go for another therapy like I'm not afraid of it anymore. My hope goes to clearing right away of course ;-]

Keep it up and have an excellent day the all of you,

Guy









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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there FLGuy, hi there OverseasMedHelpFolks,

it's not common in europe/belgium to check the VL during therpay for 2's and 3's. Like there is an average SVR of about 80 procent my doc says it makes no sense + the assurance company restricts that expensive test. So I'll have to wait until January 07 to know if I make part of the SVRHappyCompanyLtd. the fact my enzymes went to normal values is a sign the Tx is working. SVR is of course an other story I don't really care about for the moment. I had zero signs of illness before Tx - discovered 'the THING' by accident. A bloodtest to check my body like I was 40 and had a rather difficult divorce to deal with which means overstressed for a while/a year. Whatever two more shots to go - 3 more weeks to swallow the RibaCandy. I have one more bloodtest at the end - August 4th coming up. My holdiays start together with the end of Tx on the 4th as well. ChillOutZone AND PegInterferon/Riba free. Ready to go fly...

Did you face problems before Tx FLGuy ? Did you notice somehow your relaps?

Have a nice day FLGuy... read ya!!!

G
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96938_tn?1189803458
Nothing better than to be at the end of this tx. And, just in time for holiday.  One of my trips there was a couple of weeks in August.  I wondered where everyone went. Your are lucky to have discovered it and lucky to be a '2'.  The success rate may even be a little higher. I had hcv for about 30-33 years, so there was some cumulative effect before tx. Not debilitating, but a faster wear and tear on many health aspects. I'm a geno 3, relapsed and will do more treatment in a few months.  Until then, and as you say, ChillOutZone - words to live by.  One tip, when you are done with tx assume that you have cleard the virus.  Convincing yourself of that will make the wait to January much easier and less stressful.
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