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Hi! I’m new to the forums and thought I’d introduce myself as well as ask a couple questions all in one post 😀

I’m a 36 year old Single Mom and I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2013. My genotype is 2b but I admittedly know little as to what that means in regards to symptoms, treatments and prognosis.

I live in Philadelphia, PA which is home to a few nationally renowned hospitals—one of which specializes in Hep C treatment—Jefferson University Hospital. I have my first appointment on May 1, 2018 to discuss my treatment options.

I was diagnosed by my GP who also tested for my genotype and routine liver functioning/viral loads etc. When I was first diagnosed in ‘13, my labs did not indicate I needed immediate treatment and I was told newer, more “successful” treatments would be FDA approved so I might be better off waiting until then.....and so I waited and waited. More like spent years in denial while secretly hoping this “reminder of my past” would miraculously go away on its own. Now, 5 years later I’m ready to take the steps to rid my body of this virus, hopefully once and for all.

I have a history of mental illness, specifically an Eating Disorder and PTSD which left me unable to work and I’m currently on SSI/SSDI. I mention this because my depression (also dx bipolar but who knows?) has been VERY difficult to treat, especially when compounded by Complex PTSD. I take some medications that are for off labeled use in order to treat my depression which lately has become resistant to those medications as well.

(My GP has also diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but I am not sold on either diagnosis, especially the former.)

I have many new physical symptoms that have alarmed my (new) doctors as they do not know of my Hep C diagnosis. The GP who diagnosed me with hepatitis C says these symptoms could be due to an autoimmune disorder, as the others are suggesting or they could be the result of my Hep C.

This recent increase in symptoms is one major reason I am seeking treatment now. (To either arrest these symptoms or know for sure that something else is likely going on). The 2nd reason is because I am planning on finishing my masters degree in Spring 2019 and the application process needs to be completed in the next couple months.

I had to drop out of my graduate studies when I unknowingly dated & married a Narcissistic Sociopath who is now my ex husband. After years of mental, physical, sexual & emotional abuse as well as other torturous things he put me through, I was again diagnosed with PTSD.
only recently have I felt well enough to continue my graduate school studies which will hopefully lead to a fulfilling career in Social Work (w/an emphasis in Domestic Violence Treatment) as Id graduate with an MSW + a state certification in DV.....and a career that will also financially support both me and my young daughter.

I have read a lot of conflicting information regarding Hep C treatment so id greatly appreciate anyone who can answer these whether anecdotally or with research QUESTIONS:

- What Treatments are available, specifically for Genotype 2B?
- Any Significant Side Effects?
- Average Length of Tx?
- Any medications used to help alleviate these side effects?

- does it seem feasible for me to complete Hepatitis C treatment in time to start graduate school in January of 2019 and/or can I undergo treatment while taking advanced degree coursework?

- Depression? Fatigue? Issues??

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my post and for any advice and/or information you provide...

Current & Recent Meds:
- Adderall IR 60mgs (30mg x2 day)
- Lyrica 150mgs (I take off and on)
- Prozac 60mgs (recently stopped taking)
- Klonopin 4mgs or Valium 20 mgs per day
- Antipsychotic meds to augment SSRI (recently stopped taking)
- Lithium 300-600mgs (stopped taking 2 months ago)
- Ambien- 15mgs at night (PRN)

  1. Hi Zara,
    I am also new to this forum and to hep c. I am on one of the new medications Mavyret. So far it's been 10 days on this med and the only side effect I'm noticing is headaches. Sounds like you've been through a lot and survived. They say after 4 weeks the new meds take the hep c away. Idk how long I've had hep c ,most prob 20+ years. It's great ur going back to finish school. I am also on other prescriptions and their not interacting badly with the Mavyret. Im on Morphine, xanex, levothroxin, and Soma. The people on this forum are knowledgeable and helpful.

    1. First off, you're a testament to the term persistence. You're heading to this with a solid outline, so I'll help fill in the gaps I can, but it's important to note that because of the complex med list you have it's hard for me to say specifically which treatments will or won't be available. Typically they're listed when the drug is released by the FDA, but that interactions list tends to change with the general public, so a doctor would have better answers. But I can tell you which drugs are available and medicare will likely approve for Genotype 2B: Mavyret and/or Epclusa.

      Both of which should be easily approved given (I had was disabled with medicare as well on my last treatment, sometimes you can get a bit of guff from 'em, but these are the two most prescribed so it has a lower likelihood of being denied by Medicare.) Also on that note, if you haven't familiarized yourself with SS Ticket To Work, it could help pay for your schooling. I should say we're following similar passions as I'm going for my Masters in Public Health. It takes an admirable courage to transform that struggle into strength, you're quite the champion!

      Depending upon your level of cirrhosis it could be 8 weeks to 12 weeks, and the side effects are typically minimal, most people can resume work on treatment, so going to school might be a little more challenging, but not impossible. But if you haven't started classes, then that time frame could "easily" be done during the summer, note it can take a month or two to get started depending on how quickly Insurance decides to act.

      On Epclusa and Maryvet, typically speaking between week 2-4, or 2-6 (depending on liver damage and duration of treatment) is when most patients find themselves with their first Undetected, or Zero Viral Load. The first two weeks or so of treatment are usually the most intense, regardless of treatment.

      I walked into my fifth treatment with Harvoni(very similar to Epclusa) with depression, and in some ways the treatment helped, and in others it made things a little harder. It's impossible for me to say how it will affect your PTSD, but note that it affects people differently, and your doc should better have an idea how it would.

      Fatigue, headaches, light sensitivity, are all common side effects, but vary in intensity not only during the treatment, but also from person to person.

      As for symptoms with advanced liver disease fatigue is chief among them, starting early on, it progresses with damage; brain fog and itchiness are also common.

      I hope this helps! If you have more questions, don't be a stranger.
      You may also want to look over Carleen's fantastic 20 questions:

      -Rick Nash Six Time Treatment Dragon Slayer and Transplant Recipient

      1. Is il easy to get epclusa approved through Medicare part d because I was told to get a Medicare part d because that's the easiest way to get approved for hep C treatment and they said soon as it takes effect the part d January 2nd that it should only take a week to get the medicine approved? I sure hope so I want to get this done and over with to start feeling better in my life
        Thank you

    2. I am new to this site and thankful for it cuz I'm learning a lot. I have a lot of symptoms and being diagnosed over 40 years ago and not having much info on symptoms of hepatitis C I have been sick for years especially the last couple of years with so many symptoms.I'm starting to realize that I think that most of my symptoms are coming from the effects of hep C like the fibromyalgia symptoms, skin, kidney, lung, and spleen. it's hard to get information on whether it is from hep C or not but I believe it is mostly. I hope this helps you and bless you.I have been told numerous different things as far as getting help paying for the hep C treatment, however I was told recently to get a part d Medicare and then it would easily be paid for so I hope and pray this is true.

      1. Hi all, just started Mavyret 3 weeks ago. I'm excited as well as Surprised. I didn't find the cure it found me. I have a great primary physician, who put me on my way to the cure and recovery. For years since the 80s I lived in silence about this disease and I was resigned to dying from Hep c. I've stopped trying to figure out how I got it. The 80s was a time of fun and risky behaviour's. I engaged in all of it. HIV, escaped me by the grace of God. I thought, well, I have the two of the lesser evils. Crazy thinking huh ? Now, at 64 yrs young, I say " if I knew then what I know now ". Shoulda would haves could have. Just a long forgotten past. I'm more concerned for my grandkids. Kids today have a false sense of security. I've heard them say, who cares there's medicine for it. It reminds me of how immortal I thought I was. So yeah, I want to send a loud message about how easy it is to catch diseases you can't give back. Thanks for being there. I'll let you all know how I'm doing.

        1. Hey I'm glad your on your way to slaying your dragon! and it's great that we don't have to resign ourselves to the death sentence anymore. As far as the how, I always like to say "it does matter how you got it, what matters is you're here." Also that attitude among kids is not what I've experienced in working with youth and in Hep C Advocacy, but certainly what a child might say in the comfort of their own home is a different reflection of their behavior. Mostly I've encountered blanket ignorance of Hep C, or association with drug use, on one hand it's great they know there's a cure, but very disturbing that they would brush it off so readily. Your energy is great and I look forward to reading the happy new-beginning to your story- Rick Nash (Moderator)

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