Post-Treatment Blues

Post Treatment Blues: What is it and are the feelings justified?

Many people are now getting to the good side of hepatitis c... reaching SVR and being "cured". Our email and phone lines at my foundation are being filled with questions like, “Is it normal to be fatigued and feel nauseated after being cured?". Many people say they feel worse than they did prior to treatment. Fatigue, muscle/joint pain, nausea, headaches, and flu-like symptoms can all happen. Usually, these only last a few weeks or months after treatment.

Feeling badly post-treatment

For myself, after about 6 months post-treatment with solvaldi and ribaviran, I phoned my clinical trial nurse Andrea in a panic. I just had this feeling that I had relapsed. Why on earth would my body be feeling so horrible after curing the hep C virus? To ease my panic and fears, she ordered a viral load test. A few days went by and my results were in - UNDETECTED. I was shocked to say the least. I had mentally prepared her to say “I am sorry, Kim, you have relapsed”, but that was not the case.

My recovery process

I was sleeping on average 8-10 hours night and also needing to take numerous naps throughout my day. I always had a blanket in the dryer to heat up and wrap my hurting joints and muscles. (This, by the way, is the fastest way to eliminate and sooth pain in joints and muscles). When I would eat, I would feel sick and nauseated. I compared it to the flu to my nurse. She explained to me that my treatment was a very potent medication that was designed to stay in the body after taking last dose to continue to do the work. 

She said my body would need 2 to 4 times as long as my treatment to recover from taking these medications. She advised me to do my part by flushing it well daily with water. She told me to continue taking my lactulose and xifaxan to aide in the filtering of toxins from my body and help reduce my brain fog. Her best advise was not to be harsh on myself. My body just fought a battle of a lifetime and needs compassion and understanding while it mends. She told me to get plenty of rest and sleep; It was not going to hurt me by taking a few extra naps a day.

My advice for those recovering from treatment

I took her advice, and about 11 months post-trial, I began to gain more energy and stamina. Remember, our bodies are all different. What worked for me may or may not for you. Be patient with your body and go according to what it is telling you. Don’t force yourself to be at a point your body is not ready to be at.

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