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A crying woman is comforted by a doctor who gestures toward a bright spot on the horizon.

A Brighter Future in the Treatment of Hepatitis C

We have come a long way in terms of treatments for hep C. It was late 2011 when I started Interferon and Ribavirin. I took Ribavirin twice a day (I don’t recall the number, but it was a handful), morning and at night. I scheduled my “shot” nights to be on Fridays so that way I would have the weekend to get through the toughest part of the side effectsMy kids were both very anxious in helping me with my treatments. We all watched the then videos about the harshness of interferon and we all knew what to expect. My son would be in charge of cleaning the area of my tummy where Megan was to administer the shot of interferon. Giving them each a duty gave them a sense of power that they were healing momma. It only took a few hours before the sudden cold and shivering took hold. By then, I was about to sleep and was able to sleep off most of my side effects.

My treatment struggles

Getting the news about 12 weeks into my treatment that my viral load was not descending down, I was devasted; More eager to keep going, knowing I could beat this, I begged my liver doctor to keep me on the horrible regime. After all, loosing hair, extreme fatigue, muscle/joint pain, and the horrible migraines was worth it to me to fight to live. But, as I sat in his office, pleading my case and begging to keep going with tears rolling down my face, my doctor said, “Kim, I could keep you on this regime for 2 years and you will never cure. Your body is not responding to this treatment and to be honest, it will kill you. Your body will get so weak and torn down by interferon that eventually, it will kill you”.

Waiting for better options

Sitting there, so confused and just wanting to be given that chance to prove to him, I finally accepted my fate.  This was March of 2012. I endured so much within that 12 weeks of this treatment that all I could think of now was “Why, for what?”. My thoughts got dark, my positive outlook clouded. My doctor then said, “Kim, I understand your fight and your drive to beat this. I get it, and nobody blames you for fighting so hard. You have two beautiful children to fight for and that is why right now I am asking you to look me in the eye”. I slowly gazed up, wiping the tears from my eyes. “I promise you, Kim, that you WILL beat this disease, but you need to trust me”, he said.  What I did not realize at that moment in Dr. E’s office was that this leading hepatologist knew of “things” coming down the pipeline for those fighting hepatitis C. He was actively involved in the new treatments that will have a higher success rate of curing the disease- We are talking 98% cure rates.

Finally, a cure

I look back now at that conversation in his office and him saying for me to trust him. Fast forwarding to 2013 and going on the trial that will give me my wish… MY CURE. The leading hepatologist on that clinical trial was my very own doctor. I failed to get on 3 prior clinical trials Gilead was performing for one reason or another, but when I swallowed that first pill of Solvaldi and Ribavirin, I knew in my heart my cure had come. All the pain, disappointments of failed treatment, failed trial approval… it was all worth it.

Today, Sovaldi is considered the grandpa of the medications treating hepatitis C. I am grateful and so blessed to be on that trial and now with all these newer one pill once a day regimen it has changed the world for those fighting hep C. No longer the harsh side effects mean more are coming forward to be treated. This is wonderful news to hepatitis C advocates.

Not without a FIGHT!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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