Recovery from hep C treatment holds important questions and expectations. How long does recovery from hep C treatment take? Will I regain my life beyond recovery?

These are great questions and I’m sure you have many more. One thing is for sure, recovery from hep C treatment is different for each hep C patient but there are common denominators shared by all.

First and foremost there is an expectation that needs to be addressed; when you stop taking treatment medication you do not instantly regain all your energy and treatment side effects disappear overnight.

How Long Does Recovery from Hep C Treatment Take?

An important factor to consider is what treatment medications you took. We are now in a time when more hep C treatment options are available. If you used a combination treatment with interferon and/or ribavirin, your recovery may be different than someone who did not take these. It’s hard to paint all hep C recovery with the same brush when different medications are used. Also, other physical conditions need to be considered.

No matter which medications were used, whether you completed the course of treatment, or had to stop early, your body has been under attack not only from the hepatitis C virus but from treatment. Undergoing treatment is like being in battle. Visually, consider your body as having been under siege, similar to a battleground.

Restoration and rebuilding does not happen overnight. It takes time for all the treatment medications to leave your system; until then you may continue to experience treatment side effects for a while. The healing process takes time, patience and effort. Most hep C patients report seeing treatment side effects subsiding within a few months or longer.Often it takes six months to a year to regain full energy and feel well. Some patients have reported side effects lingering for longer periods of time. This may be due to the type of hep C treatment medications used and the varying stages of liver condition of each individual patient.

Many patients have reported having days of feeling great and wonderful energy and then crash some days later, or starting the day with energy and later in the afternoon or evening having to nap or lay down. This is a normal part of recovery and rebuilding your stamina and endurance. It’s common for patients to feel a sense of frustration or depression with recovery. Don’t allow emotions to sweep over your progress. You are going to get better and regain your life.

Your immune system has been compromised with treatment. Often there is a reduction in your red and white blood cell count. I your counts are low; it takes time to regain normal levels. Until then, it is best to take precautions, such as avoid people who are sick. Hold off on air travel immediately after treatment until you have had blood work and your physician lets you know it’s safe. Often fatigue lingers. Energy, endurance and stamina take time to rebuild. Rest is necessary for recovery but moderate exercise is also important.

Personally, it took me 5 months post hep C treatment to see a big change.  Each week I saw improvement and progress but there were days when I took three steps forward and two backward. But I was still moving forward each week.

Beyond Hep C Recovery?

There is no magic timeline for hep C patients to move beyond recovery. Small achievable goals to work toward each week make a big difference in setting up your own recovery program. Focus on what you have gained, not what you have lost.  A good attitude will help you progress in recovery. Get rid of stinkin thinkin.

Recovery is temporary, and you will get beyond it. I am now two years post treatment and I enjoy full activities. I have more energy than ever before, but it did not happen overnight. Remember don’t overwhelm yourself. Do a little at a time. By an inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard. Recovery will come!
Have you done hep C Treatment ? What was your recovery like?

This entry was originally published on Life Beyond Hepatitis C June 3, 2014. It is reprinted with permission.