Diagnosed with Hep C in 1989
I have had hep C for over 30 years. My primary doctor suggested I have my condition checked as my symptoms were escalating. I experienced fatigue, brain fog, depression, anxieties and a rapid heartbeat. A liver consultation was scheduled with a nurse practitioner (NP) in San Francisco.
I met with the NP in July 2014. She said that hep C symptoms usually start to escalate significantly in people after the age of 50. As this was happening to me, I sat there thinking, “Someone without hep C understands the symptoms. Wow.”
The NP told me about a hep C treatment that was available called Sovaldi, made by Gilead. However, she said that Gilead was set to release a new treatment using ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (Harvoni) for my particular hep C genotype, which is 1a. Due out in late 2014, this new treatment had a 98 percent success rate with little or no side effects. Since Harvoni wasn’t available, my best choice was to wait.
The NP scheduled extensive blood tests to determine my current condition. The results confirmed that I needed treatment, and I was referred to the doctors who also specialize in liver disease. They prescribed Harvoni for me.
However, getting Harvoni was not going to be that simple. For months, I lived a nightmare of red tape and insurance denials from Blue Shield. After more than nine months, I was thoroughly discouraged. I appealed at least four denials and wrote letters to Congress, the President, Change.org and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as many other health agencies, with no response.
I finally called Gilead’s Support Path, and five days later I received the Harvoni. As sick as I was the past two years, I started feeling incredibly awesome after only three weeks on Harvoni. My strength came back so fast.
I am now done with the pills and believe I no longer have hep C. I watch what I put in my mouth, as we are what we eat.
What three adjectives best describe you?
Tired, frustrated, scared
What is your greatest achievement?
I have accomplished much: work, marriage, raising kids, maintaining a positive attitude even while swimming upstream most of my life because of hep C
What is your greatest regret?
I never knew what living without hep C was like.
What keeps you up at night?
Pounding heart and inflammation
If you could change one thing about living with viral hepatitis, what would it be?
What is the best advice you ever received?
Call the Harvoni Support Path.
What drives you to do what you do?
What is your motto?
Keep a positive mental attitude.
If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?