When Can I Expect to Feel Normal Again?
Last updated: August 2020
Coming off treatment for hepatitis C can give a feeling of relief; Many feel ready to be done with hep C. I know as soon as I left my clinical trial office on the last day, I walked out of that office with a newfound freedom. I felt like a huge wight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was ready to start my life again.
Life after treatment
As I pulled out of that parking lot, I let out a deep sigh... FINALLY, I was free of this beast that took over my life and robbed me of everyday joy. I was now free to dream of a future, something that I stopped doing as soon as that slip stating I was hepatitis C positive was handed to me.
I suffered a great loss when my mother passed away in 2006 from this very disease. I had a big vendetta against this disease after I lost her. I was not going to let my children witness me lose this fight either. I was forced to do things that no mother with young children should have to do and that was create a will. I had to fill out paperwork as to who would take care of my kids in the event of my death. Many tears were shed, lots of fearful nights and many sleepless lying awake begging God for my life. So, yes, I was beyond happy knowing I beat this dragon (what the hep C communities call hep c).
Long-term side effects
About 3 months after my cure, I was still experiencing symptoms of hep C: Muscle and joint pain, nausea, insomnia, and night sweats. In fact, 6 months into my recovery, I called my research coordinator and told her I fear I relapsed. I explained my body hurts, I feel sick, and I was scared. We scheduled me another visit to double-check my blood work. With great relief, I was still undetected. My nurse then shared that for some time after treatment, a person may have lingering symptoms of treatment and symptoms of hep C. Because my treatment lasted 48 weeks (today, treatment only takes 8-12 weeks!), she shared it could take me up to 6-9 months to feel better. It takes time for the medication to ween from our bodies. She also explained that I could also be living with long-term side effects of hep C as well. Because I did have it since birth, my body was damaged heavily from hep c.
What you should know
Today, I still experience muscle/joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, and insomnia, all of which are side effects of hep C and damaged livers. This is the very reason we recommend you treat your hep C early. The longer you allow this disease to ravage your body, the more lasting side effect you may have. In short, keep expectations low coming off treatment. Eat healthy and drink lots of water to hydrate your body and flush it out. Allow your body time to recover; After all, it just fought a big battle.