I do not think there is any way any of us could answer your question. But we may be able to shed a little light on the subject.
First, just so you know, there are many of us on the forum who are in our 60s, so you will have company. I am 66, just for the record.
The thing with side effects is that they vary from person to person and they also vary in intensity and severity. Some people seem to get a lot of side effects, or severe side effects, and others have almost no side effects. Probably many of us, or maybe most of us, fall somewhere in between. We may get a couple of the more troublesome side effects and a bunch of minor side effects.
"Major," to me, means severe anemia, severe neutropenia, nausea and vomiting, moderate or severe rash and/or itching, retinal problems, severe depression, and some of the rare but severe side effects. Also, if a person gets the severe rectal problem of crapping shards of glass, that is really quite severe and painful. However, it can usually be controlled and prevented with remedies.
"Minor," to me, means fatigue (including severe fatigue), minor headaches, body aches, joint discomfort, muscle weakness, brain fog, no energy, no motivation, malaise, and some others.
I guess I sort of divide them up. Severe side effects can be a potential game changer. If they are not treated and controlled immediately, a person may have to stop treatment. Minor side effects, even though they are annoying and tiring, won't make people stop treatment. People can deal with the minor side effects. You just change your priorities and expectations while on treatment.
There are treatments/prescription meds which will generally alleviate nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, rash and/or itching, anemia, neutropenia. The rest of the symptoms, those in the minor category, we just put up with.
For me, the key was controlling the side effects. If your treating team is knowledgeable about side effects, they can and will order the appropriate meds to counteract them. If, on the other hand, they have no clue or don't think we get side effects, then you ave to be assertive and demand relief.
I don't know how much age plays into side effects. Technically, I suppose maybe it is more difficult if one is older, but so many of us are in our 60s and we are doing treatment, tolerating treatment, dealing with the side effects, and are finishing treatment. I still think the key is recognizing and treating the side effects immediately (rash, nausea, depression, anemia, etc.). If they are not treated, they can snowball rapidly.
So, to answer your question, no one knows which or how many side effects they will get until they treat. One thing, if I were you, I would try to get under control is your anemia. I don't know how anemic you are, but almost everyone on treatment experiences a several point drop in Hemoglobin, some more so than others. For some of us we dropped from 16 to 11 and then stabilized or 15 to 10 or 11 and then stabilized. Some had severe anemia and are on Procrit or getting blood transfusions. So I would think one would not want to go into Hep C treatment with a stating Hemoglobin of 10 or even 11. Perhaps you can get your Hemoglobin up before treatment.
It helps if you live with someone, but many of us live alone and we are managing.
While there is no guarantee, most likely you would tolerate treatment and hopefully attain a cure.
By the way, this forum is great for both support and for knowledge.
Thank You for this beautifully written piece.
Agrees with Cheppie beautifully written you little darling :)
Wow. I wish my doctor had presented things this way. I wouldn't have been so blindsided by every new side effect.
thank you so very much. I weigh 106lbs and am 5'4" have had a heart attack and am taking statins. I am seeing a Hep C specialist in Pittsburgh on the 5th. About 150 miles from my home. Am married and husband can look after me. Any suggestions to ask doctor.
I'm not pooh but I made a list of questions for newbies to ask the doctor.
One thing I can add, is being thin, it might be a good idea to gain weight prior to beginning treatment. That was my doctor's advice, and I'm glad I took it.
At 100lbs, I gained 5, which I lost again during tx.
It is always preferable to have a hepatologist, a liver specialist and not simply a GI to help you with treatment. A GP is not trained in liver issues and should be the one to refer you to the specialist.
Questions for the doctor:
How experienced are you in dealing with Hep C ?
Do I need a biopsy before treatment?
How often will I be doing labs during treatment?
What is your protocol for dealing with low wbc or rbc?
What about other side effects?
How often will I be seeing you during treatment?
Who do I contact in an emergency ?
Will I be able to have copies of all my labs and tests ?
Will you be available via phone or email to answer my questions ?