Howdy Happy Heppers!
Dang, its been a while since I poked my nose in here...I'm Melinda, -I was one one the 2007-08 "treatment groupies" with 3A, Hep C dx in 2005 (dirty needle stick) and a viral load of 465,000. I did seven months of naturopathic txing (Sho-Saiko-To (dropped my vl to 64,000), nutritional support, liver happiness prep, etc.) before I went into tx. At week #4 I was RVR and have been UND since and now I'm waiting on my 2 year post-tx PCR! During tx I hit 8.5 HGB and 26 for HCT while battling interferon-induced thyroiditis (meds helped control the symptoms). No rescue drugs for the anemia, but the Dr tried to take me off tx at 20 weeks. My thyroid levels had "flipped" to hypothyroid at that point (meaning the thyroiditis was over) so I felt the anemia wasn't going to worsen. (Unbeknownst to him, I halved the riba and kept taking the peg for the next 4 weeks -I wasn't going to take any chances just because a Dr was afraid of a potential lawsuit).
So, to all of you newbies, I offer a few MARVELOUS treatment survival tips and advice that worked well for me...
#1 -Color treat or perm your hair while txing at your own risk -mine fell out faster and DID NOT look better!
#2 For the dry mouth/leather tongue thing at night :Oragel mouth moisturizer gel. -its not expensive, doesn't taste too bad, and because it has a gycerine base, it lasts for hours.
#3 Don't drink just water -drink green tea, fruit juice, popcicles, lemon water (my favorite was ice water with limes in it), d-caf iced coffee, or even hot liquid jello when your tummy is upset and you can't eat).
#4 For dry, itchy skin Aveeno after-bath body oil is very nice. Bath in warm (NOT HOT) water, apply the oil, rinse, and PAT dry...
$5 If your mouth or tongue gets super sore, there is a prescription treatment called "Miracle mouthwash". This is heaven in a bottle for those suffering. -It has nystantin (for thrush/yeast overgrowth) and lidocaine (numbs the soreness, and something else in it)
#6 Get copies of all of your labs and keep them in a binder. Take them to your Dr appts. This way, if you are seeing more than 1 Dr. you have copies just in case they don't. -Additionally, you can track your progress (or digress) and be an advocate for yourself.
#7 Ask questions and argue with your Dr if you think you're being "blown off" -don't just sit and suffer. Drs treat "squeaky wheels"
#8 If you miss a med dose, don't panic. If its riba, missing one dose won't ruin your treatment. It is fat-soluble and stays in your system for weeks. If it's interferon you're late for, take it as soon as you remember. The interferon is "peglated" (meaning the interferon is suspended in PEG -polyethylene glycol) which tries to make it last as long as possible in you body, but after a few days, it poops out (for most about 4 days).
#9 Eat a few tablespoons of ice cream (or something else with a bit of fat in it) with your riba doses. It is easier on your tummy, it is absorbed more evenly, and its a nice way to remind yourself you deserve a teeny bit of pampering! Also, daily vitamin B-complex and folic acid gives your blood building-blocks to fight against anemia.
#10 Pace yourself according to your energy level. Some days you will feel the pigeon, somedays the statue. You may have some you feel like doing house work and grocery-shopping, some days you won't have enough energy to pull your carcass out of bed to pee (but I recommend you do!) A dirty dish will not get any dirtier by sitting on the counter and will be waiting for whenever you do have to energy to address it! Little children are perfectly capable to bringing their turn-out laundry out of their rooms to the washer, and the older ones can sort colors. They make excellent (and willing) minions and are cheap to bribe!
Oh, and last of all...Be alert for IIADD (Interferon-induced attention deficit disorder). You'll notice it when you have an onset of "destinasia" (you go into another room and forget why) or you are busy all day, but can't for the life of you remember what you did...At one point, I actually forgot I was driving while on the freeway! (Not good! -I stopped driving more than a few miles after that until txing was done.) (((((((((((((((HUGZ))))))))))))))) ~MM
P.S. I posted this in Social as well, and thought folks over here would like to see it too. -I had A LOT of questions answered here, and a ton of encouragement when I was txing...Thanks for the support! :) ~MM