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Gibby's Story
Gibby's Picture Hi Folks,

First off for those who do not know me, I'm Gilbert H Smith, male, 54 years old, a recovering Addict and Alcoholic, clean 8 years this coming May.

I figure I got the virus 35+ years ago and fall under a few risk factors like Transfusions, shot in the Army in School, and IV drug use. Doesn't matter how, I just got it. My Arthritis Doc was concerned that my Liver panels weren't coming down after I quit drinking, he sent me to Specialist to find out why.

That's where I found out about hep-c, tested + for anti-bodies but the doctor didn't think I should be concerned. Well the Arthritis Doc wanted to know more so he sent me on to another specialist. I got an appointment for early '95. Got more blood work, PCR and Liver biopsy and it turns out I'm diagnosed End Stage Liver Disease, Cirrhosis brought on by Hep-c.

You can imagine my reaction: anger, depression, the whole bit and let's not forget fear. Had gotten a 'puter in '94, so came home and started to educate myself on the net. I've made some great contacts online and met many other heppers and their caregivers at various hepfests across the country.

I have learned that I have not been given a death sentence. I've been blessed with good doctors and my first doctor and I and my wife take a full course court assault on HCV.

I started off at 3,000,000 units of interferon daily, but didn't tolerate it well. So I went to every other day and at this time I retired from work and took a disability. And we had started our battle against the dragon. They tried a tips procedure in '96 but it wouldn't work because I had had lung surgery in 1990 and they couldn't place the shunt in my liver because the organs had moved around. So I suffered with pain in my abdomen until it got too unbearable and they finally did another tips a whole new way. In fact they were going to write a paper on it. Anyway this relieved my pain and my portal hypertension and I had varices veins in my esophagus. I was on interferon a total of 42 months. Started responding my second year of treatment. And now I'm in remission one year. But it was too late for the old liver. So I was transplanted on May 18, 1999. I had quite a few complications after surgery, renal failure, breathing problems, infections, etc. etc. Was in the hospital 5 1/2 months. I'm now on the list for a kidney transplant. And recovering slowly but surely. Have some obstacles, but I will get over them. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Please feel free to email me anytime at gsmith@csonline.net

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    Page last updated: March 7, 2003

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