The Right Doctor, and a Bad Situation Reversed

I’m 57, I found out when my usual blood donation was rejected by the Red Cross in January 1990. They had just begun screening, so I have no idea when or how I acquired it. I was never ill because of it. The best guess is that I acquired it in the ’80s by sharing a cocaine straw.

My doctor in 1990 had no clue what Hep-C was. She had to research it and then had me come back to talk about it. Information, at least what she had was very thin. Basically, stop drinking and hang in there. I was an active alcoholic at the time and continued to drink heavily off and on until a few years ago. During a 10 year sober stint, I tried Ribavirin/Interferon for 3 months and it reduced my load to 5% but it immediately shot back up. The doctor at the time suggested repeating for 6 months, but only offered a 50/50 chance or success. I declined because of the side-effects.

Fast-forward to this year, this summer, I had a sudden onset of diabetes that put me in the hospital for 3 days. That and other things caused my insurance to hit the maximum out-of-pocket. So, I told my primary care physician to order and treat everything I had been putting off for decades. She referred me to another doctor that had partnered with a pharmacist and the two worked almost exclusively on Hep-C and getting insurance approval. My insurance approved Harvoni 3 weeks ago, and I am 2 weeks in with no side-effects.

So, I am here to tell you that you may need to find a doctor that knows how to work the system, the right tests, and how the different insurance companies work. I thought I was going to the grave with Hep-C because of the cost. It turns out that, because I maxed my out-of-pocket, it’s free. Find the right doctor, get creative. You don’t need big money, you need the right people working for you.

~Phil

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