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  • By Zara9407

    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 Hep 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 HepC 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 symptomology 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 Hep 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)

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  • By Lorwal

    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.

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  • By Rick Nash Moderator

    @zara9407

    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: https://hepatitisc.net/living/20-questions-for-your-doctor-about-treatment/

    -Rick Nash Six Time Treatment Dragon Slayer and Transplant Recipient

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