So it seemed I had probably contracted Hep C back in 1974! After driving myself nuts trying to figure out how I got it I was kind of relieved to accept that it was a consequence of my crazy teenage life that had come back to haunt me. The next step was how would I, could I, get rid of the virus?
Again reading the various resources on Google there was a general concensis which suggested that about 20% of people could kill off the virus with their own immune system, however there were some caveats: the chances of one’s immune system doing the job were much higher if one was:
- In good general health
So I failed on three of the four and, as you might guess, my immune system did not kill off the virus. So my other option was a treatment involving the powerful anti viral drug Interferon, used in the treatment of HIV, combined with a cocktail of other drugs. One injection of Interferon each week for about 9 months and a handful of tablets every day plus a nightmare list of side effects. Add to that about a 60% chance of the treatment being successful.
So I looked at natural therapy treatments but found nothing convincing. The reading I did suggested that natural therapy approaches could help to manage the disease but I could not find any proof (outside the 20% mentioned above) that natural therapies for Hep C would get rid of the virus.
My last treatment option was to try to manage the disease until a better treatment options became available, and there was chatter on the Internet about new Hep C drugs that might be coming soon.
It was not a difficult choice for me. I have never been too keen on the use of pharmaceuticals for treating illnesses, though they certainly have their place. I guess the terrifying list of side effects from the Interferon treatment was the decider and research showed that a high portion of people quit the Interferon treatment before completion of the treatment because the side effects were so bad.
Managing Hep C
So I chose to manage the Hepatitis virus rather than suffer the side effects with only a 60% chance of a successful cure. I would wait it out until a better drug therapy became available.
To manage the Hepatitis C virus meant giving my liver the least amount of work to do, that is I was going to take the pressure off my liver. So I gave up all alcohol, cut back on red meat (red meat gives the liver a lot of work), cut my coffee consumption from three or four cups of coffee per day down to about a half a cup a day and generally tidied up my diet. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Within a few weeks of making these changes I noticed improvements and after a couple of months my liver enzymes dropped back down into ranges that were only four or five times higher than normal. Also the level of fatigue I experienced was reduced, though I still needed a snooze most days.
In the mean time, I had been given a few more blood tests and discovered that I had Hepatitis C genotype 2. This was interesting because it is the rarer type of Hep C (about 5% of all infections) and (apparently) genotype 2 is easier to treat.
This entry was originally published on My Hep C Diary. Reprinted with permission.