Generally you would have a liver biopsy which is the most accurate (though not perfect) way of determining your stage (how much if any liver damage you have) and grade (how much inflammation of the liver you have).
Diane's right, a biopsy is the only way to tell how much liver damage you have. You may not need to get one if you haven't had hep c for very long. I haven't been infected with the virus for very long. Ive had it less than two years and have never had one. I don't plan on getting one unless I have too. I just heard a story about how someone had a cracked rib from getting a biopsy. And that you have to be monitored by someone by up to 24 hrs after the procedure, to make sure you're gonna be okay. I don't like the idea of it poking a hole in my liver and the chance of it bleeding...
I've heard other people say that it is a safe procedure, but there is still risk involved.
Ask to get an ultrasound guided biopsy - this should help so that there are no problems. It sounds dreadful but honestly is not - although you can't believe that until it's over then you say "Oh yeah those guys were right". Your liver doesn't actually have any nerves inside of it to feel pain. So basically it's like getting a needle and it's over in two minutes - although you do have to go early in the day and get an IV and that sort of stuff it's just outpatient and then they make you wait four hours just to make sure you are ok.
I.....have had a busy week so far,productive I think. Went to primary Dr. and got alittle help for depression, mood swings what ever the frig I have. Yeah...another pill to take. Thank god for pill organizers. I appear to be alittle forgetful these day's. Had my first blood work done yesterday (since I started treatment) I see my HCV Dr. on friday for the first time since treatment started. Interested in seeing what my report card has to say.Thanks to all of you, I have a list of questions for her. I have never had a liver biopsy have never been jaundiced or any side effects that would have indicated I even had HCV. I had just been monitoting my blood work over the past 34 years. So one of my questions would be when should we consider that unpleasantry.(the biopsy) I appreciate everyones input. It's been extreemly helpful to me. I am thinking about taking a trip to Michigan for a visit with family it's too hot down here in florida can't take the heat. Not sure how the airlines will handle me taking my preloaded pegasy's and all my meds I will have to figure that one out when the time comes to go. I am struggling with my cigarette habit, I set my goal date for Tuesday,everything revolves around tuesdays. Wish me luck on that one. I am honestly ready to quit. I hope everyone has a great day.
Very few of us develop jaundice, or even any side effects that would indicate we’re infected with HCV prior to diagnosis, by the way.
Oh, and the best way to stop smoking of course, is to not put the cigarettes to your mouth :o). I know how simple that sounds; but it worked for me 7 years ago, and I was a three pack a day puffer. Once you finally get ready to stop, it gets a lot easier, I found; that seems to be key. I had quite several times previously, and I appreciate how hard it is.
I'm not sure here... but it seems to me that if you are already on tx you skipped the biopsy step. My doctor wouldn't even consider tx before a biopsy. How long have you been infected?
As to stopping smoking. The HARDEST thing I have ever done in my life!!! And the BEST thing I have ever done for my body. Like Bill says, once you reach the stage where you REALLY want to do it for you, it is doable. I chew LOTS of bubble gum... had to have a mouth full for some reason. I stopped in 1984. It was the first New Year's Resolution that I had ever kept. I had tried many times before because other people said I should. I don't know if the stuff they advertise that is supposed to help quit works. They didn't have that back when I quit.
Well I still smoke, can't help it - it's sit here at work and drink all day, take very hard drugs or smoke so....................Mr. Marlboro will do ;) Yes not great advice but just the truth. Someday........someday.........
The biopsy isn't as bad as you think it will be. Of course your brain is positive it's going to hurt like hell so you spend all morning freaking out, then when it's over you go oh that was it? It's over in two minutes and aside from being uncomfortable - that's about it. it's honestly BORING.
I never had any symptoms or signs - nada zippo zilch but I was already stage 3 when I was diagnosed. I was glad to have the biopsy because when I felt like quitting (and most all of us feel like doing that) it gave me strength to keep on going knowing hoiw advanced I already was.
As for the pens - lots of people in here have traveled with them and been fine. I'm sure someone will address the particulars for you (me I just traveled back and forth to work every day that was about it so I don't know). I do know though that at the end of treatment when I was getting my meds for free from Commitment to Care (my isurance would not pay for the meds for my extension to 72 weeks, they said it was experiemental at the time) they sent me regular old syringes plus vials of saline water and interferon tablets. They didn't have to be refrigerated. All I had to do was take the tablet and drop it into the saline and voila......injectible interferon! So it's a way out of making sure that they are properly refrigerated if you do have to do a lot of traveling. I'd still try to hang onto them to make sure they aren't manhandled but at least you don't have to worry about them freezing in the icebag or getting to warm or whatever...........
You're getting the hang of this now and I am sure you are going to do just FINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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