Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And so it begins ...

I finally saw Dr. D. yesterday (he's my liver doctor), and we agreed to start treatment for the Hep C.

Whew.  The waiting was starting to really get to me.

I can't say I'm not a bit nervous, but, frankly, I'm happy to be starting.  Because once we get started, the quicker we are to having this behind me.

On the side of "life is ironic," there are four genomes for Hep C, conveniently known as Genome 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Types 1 and 4 are the most common in North America and the most difficult to treat.  Types 2 and 3 are rarer, but respond to treatment easier.  I have Type 3.  Type 3 is easier to treat, but I had to laugh a bit yesterday because the new medication I've been waiting for (Telapravir) is not used to treat Type 3, only Type 1.  So, one of the main reasons that I've been waiting for treatment is moot.  However, I'm glad I waited and did the artistic things I did before starting the treatment.  The wait gave me an opportunity to prepare a bit, not get thrown into anything without arranging my life first, and allowed me to do some amazing projects over the past year.

Of course, the FDA has not gotten their heads out of their asses long enough to release Telapravir for treatment, and I'm not willing to wait anymore anyway.

So, it all works out for the best.

As it stands now, the plan for treatment over the next month is to have an endoscopy done to find out if I have any nodes in my esophagus and stomach that might bleed under treatment.  If so, they treat the nodes before beginning treatment.  If I understand correctly, treatment consists of placing rubber bands around the nodes.  Sounds like fun, huh?  Fortunately, when they do this, they sedate me.  I don't know if that means that they knock me out and wake me when it's over, or if they just put me into a twilight zone.

At about the same time, they want to do a liver biopsy on me to see the extent of the damage to the liver.  I've had this before, and it's not horrible.  Again, I'll be sedated (although I don't remember being sedated the last time, but that was years ago).  They also keep me for four hours afterwards to make sure that I don't bleed.  I guess I'll have to bring my kindle.
The only issue is that I'm not allowed to drive myself home after either of these procedures.  I'm also not allowed to take the bus or a taxi.  So I guess I'm going to have to prevail on the kindness of one of my friends, or a convenient stranger.  Maybe I can find somebody on  hahaha.  Just kidding about that last one.  Michael has expressed his willingness to take a day off work to transport me.

I have an appointment with the doctor on March 7 to follow up on all of this, and then I think we schedule the appointment with a nurse to teach me how to administer the new medications, and I'm off to the races.

I also need to make another appointment with Dr. M to adjust my HIV meds because some of them might be contra-indicative with the Hep C meds.  Anemia, etc. is apparently not fun.

All of this reminds me that I need to have some blood drawn today or tomorrow and have the test results sent over to the doctor.


P.S. -- today is my 43rd birthday!  Woohoo!!!

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