Wild Ride

My Story – Precocious Child

I’ve always been active, friendly, inquisitive to do, learn & ready for adventure. Ate well, enjoyed sports, hiking, camping etc.

DOB: February 14

Infected: Early 70’s perhaps

In 1983, I started a new job. It was an exciting job with many possibilities. My first order of business was working in the NATO Seasparrow Missile and Radar Department terminating & installing shipboard cable and connectors. I also was given the responsibility of rolling the different cables to type and length and supplying the rolled up cables to the other EMA’s to install the connectors after terminating the wires. It was physically demanding and I was good at it. Promoted to another Department after completion. Storekeeper & Buyer of electrical/mechanical material. Basically a sit down position.

My point of the above work history was I started experiencing health problems.

Anxiety- Psychiatrist (Xanax) weight loss, short temper, fatigue, frequent urination and intermittent high blood pressure. (Me not the Psych Guy) 🙂

In 1984, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism. I was on Novalog 70/30 Insulin and 1mg Synthroid with Lisinopril 20mg.

Fast forward to early 2003:

My Husband, Greg, had been complaining of fatigue and a Doctor we both saw decided to run a hepatitis C antibody test on him. He was positive. I made an appointment for the test and I was positive. We started out seeking a Gastroenterology clinic. They gave us Colonoscopy exams and I gave a pint of blood due to genetic Hemochromatosis. Greg’s PCR showed 2.5 Million V/L, Geno 1A and I was a tad under 1 Million V/L, Geno 1B.

The Gastroenterologist agreed to continue treating Greg but wanted me to seek more testing and treatment elsewhere. He recommended VCU in Richmond, VA.

Away we went, I had many tests, upper Endoscopy, Scans and of course lots of various Labs. I have Stage 4 cirrhosis, Grade 1 after a liver biopsy.

The Gastro & Hepatologist ordered our Meds. All would be shipped to our door, 3-month supply at a time. We would be doing the standard 48 weeks of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. Greg was taking 1200mg of Riba split and I was on 1000mg split. each riba pill was 200mg.

Once the meds arrived, we stashed the Peg in a mini fridge. We both decided to do the Peg on Friday so September 2004 treatment began. That Saturday & Sunday, we didn’t feel too much different. Monday I went to work but didn’t feel in tip top shape. I made an appointment with H/R to inquire about paperwork needed in case I’d need to go out on intermittent FMLA and also inquired about the Short Term Disability I had. By Wednesday the Riba was starting to seriously affect my stamina. After 4 weeks, I went back to Richmond for tests. I was told to wait for the results. In 2 hours, I was called back to see the PA, Sarah. She said I’m terribly sorry but your hemoglobin count has dropped and we need to stop treatment. I cried almost all the way home. Four weeks of treatment and this wimp couldn’t hack it! In November 2004, Sarah called me at work and left a voice mail that I had dropped 2 logs. Wow! In 4 weeks, dropping 2 logs was miraculous. 10,000 yowzer!

Sarah ordered a medication called Aranesp to be injected once a week or maybe it was bi-monthly (some things are a blur) to stimulate my bone marrow. I took Aranesp for 3 months. Greg was 3 months ahead of me. He had 8 months left of this Treatment. Greg at the final 3 months started Neupogen (low white count) to stimulate his bone marrow (good thing I had the foresight to have that mini fridge).

January 2005:

I began rreatment again with a lower dose of Ribavirin. When my HGB would start to drop, they lowered the Riba. They put me on 400mg of Ribavirin, my final 3months. Gee- I detested that crap. I also was still taking Aranesp and of course had frequent lab draws. Luckily I could have them drawn in Virginia Beach and They sent the results to Richmond. My last 6 months were FMLA for 12 weeks and then I took a 12 week Short Term Disability.

Begun 1st TX, September 2004
2 Log Drop November 2004
Undetected Viral Load February 2005
End of Treatment (EOT) December 16, 2005
Back to Work: January 2, 2006.
WHAT A WILD RIDE!! 52 Freaking Weeks!!

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