I did quite a bit of research after two unsuccessful attempts at
interferon combination treatment. The first time I
took it,using Pegintron and Ribarivin, the side effects were so
severe they ended me up in the emergency room, a week in the hospital,
and in isolation because my immune system was so compromised.
The second try was with Pegasys and ribavirin about a year later.
Within 5 days of my first injection, I had a severe allergic reaction
(turned the color of a boiled lobster, had a swollen face, squinty
eyes, and fat little fingers that looked like they were ready to
pop.) My doctor concluded that I have an allergy to interferon and
can no longer use it.
I asked him what alternatives there were and was told, none at
this time. I was told to wait and hope for a better treatment. In
the meantime, my ALT had risen to about 90 and so he ordered a liver
biopsy. It came back with cirrhosis as the diagnosis. I asked for
an honest prognosis of life expectancy and was told 5-7 years.
I am currently a very happy 53 year old woman with a loving husband,
one grown married son with a year and a half old grandson, and a
very difficult and mixed up 14 year old daughter. An early death
or the the depression and exhaustion I was living with was completely
unacceptable. I began to seriously consider suicide to prevent all
the pain my loved ones would experience as I continued to deteriorate.
That is when my husband found a local Hepatitis C support group,
found the Hepatitis magazine, and dragged me to a health food store
where the owner insisted I buy and read your
book. I did and I now have hope.
But when I called to place my order, I happened to ask if the medications
I have been taking for some time to deal with my lifelong bipolar
disorder were causing any trouble to my liver. My prescribing psychiatrist
had recently answered the same question negatively, but your staff
seemed to think this might be a serious enough concern to bring
to your attention. I currently take;
Gabapentin (generic for Neurontin) 600 mg 3x per day
FluoxetineHCL (generic for Prozac) 10 mg 2x each morning
Temazepam (generic for Restoril) 15 mg 1x each night
Diazepam (generic for Valium) 5 mg 2x per day or as needed for anxiety.
I also take a daily multi vitamin and mineral supplement which
is the Costco equivalent of Centrum Silver without iron.
Nothing is more important to my family and me than curing my Hepatitis
C and repairing my liver, but I am concerned about going cold turkey
off these other medications, if in fact they are harming my liver.
My husband says we can deal with the bipolar without medication
if we must, but I know from long experience that I may be subject
to extremes between depression and manic states which are usually
not harmful to anyone except my credit card balances. (I'm not talking
mild depression here--my most nearly successful attempt at suicide
landed me in ICU in a coma for three days. That was over 20 years
ago, but it was also before I was diagnosed and treated for the
bipolar. Since then, my mental state is difficult to gauge because
of the Hep C, the interferon treatments, and the fear of suffering
and death I experience daily.
I want to get rid of this death sentence, but I don't want my family
to suffer any more than necessary in the process.
I haven't had a viral load test done in quite a while, but I have
one scheduled for tomorrow.
My most recent blood work (from last week) showed ALT at 78 and
AST at 155. My doctor was concerned because my white blood cell
count is low at 2.2 bil.