I am a 57-year-old white American male infected with Hepatitis C. I am involved in a controlled medical research study by Roche Pharmaceuticals of an experimental Polymerase Inhibitor (RO5024048 also known as RG7128) drug therapy for the virus. This document is the story of my illness and the experience of treatment. My lovely and pretty damn wonderful wife will be contributing her take on the experience as well.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Coming Back To Life

I finished my course of treatment for Hepatitis C on June 30, 2011. The last 6 weeks were particularly tough with bouts of nausea, some dizziness, decreasing red blood cell counts, consistent exhaustion and increasing mental fog. Eighteen months of interferon and Ribavirin apparently do a number on us humans. The good side is that at the end of the treatment cycle, the viral load was undetectable with negative viral activity. Now we wait for 6 months until January of 2012 for the follow-up test to determine if I have stayed negative and thus qualify for having a true Sustained Viral Response or SVR. It brings to mind the song from the Mel Brooks movie “The Twelve Chairs” with the chorus:

“Hope for the best, expect the worst
Some drink champagne, some die of thirst,
No way of knowing which way you’re going,
Hope for the best, expect the worst.”

By the way, did you know that Mel Brooks wrote the music and lyrics for the songs in his movies.

So we are hoping for the best over the next six months (though the thought that the next test occurs in 2012, the year of the end of the world certainly tempers the enthusiasm).

We return to the subject of the post after that small digression. On about the 8th or 9th of July, I was lying on the sofa catching up on the episodes of “Mob Wives” I had missed, when I thought about unloading the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen counters. For months, this sort of urge was met with the thought that it could be put off until later that night or tomorrow or to some indefinite time in the future. But on this occasion, I arose from the sofa, walked to the kitchen and actually unloaded the dishwasher and wiped down the counters. It was the first sign that some mental and physical energy was returning. Over the next few days, I began to do a bit more. It was a great feeling to experience energy as opposed to lethargy. It genuinely felt like I was rising from the depths back to life. It’s going to be a long, slow struggle back to normalcy by all accounts, but as the old saying goes, “every journey begins with a single loading of the dishwasher.”

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