Close to the Finish Line of Hepatitis C Treatment
I remember my hepatologist’s nurse telling me, "Those last few weeks of treatment can often seem the longest". By this point, you are so ready for treatment to be over and cross the finish line.
In a long-distance race, the runners pace themselves, yet close to the finish line, the body feels like it’s hit the wall and it’s a push to the finish line. Finishing my hepatitis C treatment felt like that to me.
Did my treatment really work?
I had mix emotions. I was looking forward to finishing treatment and getting my life back, yet hepatitis C had lived with me for such a long time, I wanted to make sure it was gone for good before stopping treatment.
I talked with my physician and his nurse about my concerns and they both agreed this is a normal reaction to getting close to the finish line of treatment. You naturally want this to work once and for all. My hepatologist reviewed my blood work results from treatment with me. He explained what a non-detected viral load count meant and how the hepatitis C virus mutates and changes in the body every 6 to 7 hours.
He also explained once you receive an SVR12, (sustained virologic response), meaning 12 weeks after treatment has been completed you have a non-detected viral load count, you have a less than 1% chance of the hepatitis C virus coming back. This gave me encouragement as I finished treatment.
How do you keep focused on the finish line?
When you're getting close to the finish line of hepatitis C treatment, here are some tips:
- Keep up with your blood work results during and after treatment. This helps you stay on target.
- Stay positive. Keep drinking lots of water. Eat healthy nutritious meals.
- Rest and do mild exercise like walking when you can.
- Get your mind on something else. This helps you not concentrate on the duration. Focus on checking off one day at a time and getting to the end of the week.
- Talk to your physician about any concerns you have.
If you’ve experienced treatment side effects, you’re looking forward to relief, but remember, dealing with hepatitis C and treatment didn’t happen over-night and neither is recovery. In recovery, your body is adjusting from treatment. Be patient in the process. Fatigue can often linger into recovery and the last side effect to leave. Take heart, it will get better.
My hepatologist, healthcare team, family, and friends were my cheerleaders as I neared the finished line of treatment. Throwing the last empty box of meds in the trash is glorious. You can do, my friend!
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