I just got back from my appointment with the Dr. D (the liver specialist).
-- The liver biopsy showed signs of significant damage, almost cirrhosis, but not quite. He recommended starting treatment. Not to be snarky, but I told him a month ago we should treat, and that I'd like to get started NOW.
-- He mentioned a new medication that was coming out, but when I reminded him that he had told me that medication was not used to treat the Hep C genome that I had, he said that we should start with the old-fashioned treatment.
-- This clears the way to start a 24 week course of treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavarin. (Something about Alpha 2 vs. Alpha 1 ... I didn't know what that meant). This all could be MUCH worse. For instance, if I had genome 1, rather than genome 3, I'd have to do a year's course of it. Ouch.
-- His office will handle the pre-authorization process with my insurance.
-- They will call me to set up another appointment with Dr. D in 8 weeks.
-- About a week and a half before my next appointment with Dr. D, I need to have more blood drawn.
-- As soon as I jump through all the hoops and get the meds, I need to make an appointment with a nurse practitioner at UCLA so she (or he) can show me how to administer the meds, and give me pointers on coping with side-effects, etc.
-- Since AZT is part of my HIV regimen and shouldn't be taken with the Hep C meds I'm going on, I need to make an appointment with Dr. M, (the HIV specialist) to shift my HIV meds around.
Basically it looks like I could be rocking and rolling in 2 weeks to a month.