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Shelly and Bob's Story
Shelly and Bob

Hi, My name is Michele Ball better known as Shelly. I am 43 years old and married to a great guy named Bob. We have been together for 18 years and married for 15 of them. We have raised 3 great kids, and now we have 3 great grandkids too. We live in Rushford NY, but are from Niagara Falls originally. We moved out to the country 5 years ago. About 6 years ago we had a bump in the road and separated for about 3 months. I was trying to get our marriage back together but Bob was having a 40 something thing going on. Mid life PMS. Anyway that was the beginning of my story. One day I got a phone call, it was from Bob, he very solemnly stuttered out that he needed to talk to me about something important. As I was silent to let him talk he stumbled out the words that he had been to the doctor cause he was tired all the time, and was told that he had Hepatitis C. I was thinking that he was crazy because he wasn't yellow. All I knew was Hepatitis meant that people turn yellow. He went on to tell me that I had to also get checked for it, me and the girl he had been seeing. I was stunned. All I remember saying was I was not sick and felt normal. Come to find out I kept telling Bob that he should just quit whining about always being tired. he always said that I didn't understand that he felt different. The problem was I did understand and just thought that it was middle age and was very normal. Well I squabbled a bit but I did go and got a call 2 days later with Dr Wang on the other end of the phone saying he had my tests. I was also positive. I went numb, said thank you and hung up. Bob was already to see a gastro as Dr Wang suggested. Had blood work done, had a biopsy and then we went to see the gastro. I still never spoke about me also having it. I WASN'T SICK...... Anyway, he said that there was no liver damage and looked good. He explained that all that was out there was a drug you can take with a shot that is supposed to help get rid of the virus, but only 40% clear it, and out of that 15-20% will get it back. That there was nothing we could do but try to be healthy, and watch for liver damage. Oh and very little alcohol. Drinking occasionally wouldn't hurt but not on a daily basis . I spoke up and said, no he cant drink, he has a problem with that. Well, Dr Wang went away to a better practice. We moved to Rushford and Bob was traveling to Germany for a month at a time. It was a real bad time for us in 1996. I never really spoke about the hep any more. Just lived my life and inside just kept thinking I was gonna die young and what do I do about Jason? He was handicapped and I had to be here for him. One day my mom decided to buy us our first PC. I had never even touched one before. My son Philip showed me how to use Yahoo and play spades on line. Then I ventured out on my own and began clicking around. I was going to find a club for mothers of handicapped kids to talk to and maybe find something Jay could communicate on. This would be great for him. I ended up in the H's in support groups for handicapped. Guess what I saw. Yes, a hepatitis C club, aBigSams HepC club. Sounded good. Maybe I could find out just a wee bit more about this thing I had been ignoring for 4 years. I had a yahoo ID already so I clicked the join thing and I was in. OK what next? I had never posted and didn't know what to say. I cant remember what I posted but I began getting to know these people that kept telling me it was a family and welcome but sorry that I had to be there. I got to know some and made my first friend, Kathy. We were the same age, and had a lot in common. I had a riot with her. We became friends right away. I made an apt with a gastro for me and Bob. We had blood work and then he had me do a biopsy. Man I was scared. At the time Kathy's daughter Aubrey was having one too. Mine was on a Tuesday and hers was a Thursday. I told her we were partners, and I would come home and tell her how bad it wasn't. It went real well for the both of us. Next time we saw the doc I began to cry. The man actually threw me out of his office. He said he would not treat me because I was too weak to handle meds anyway and would never make it. Everyone told me it was normal to be scared and he was not a good doc. We tried another and he was OK. He didn't buy into the fact that hepC had sides but he would be good enough for meds. Well I decided I would go first and went on combo. I was a 3A, no liver damage, healthy active young white female, I should do this on my head. I wasn't gonna get sick. I was strong. Well I went to my first heppofest and met everyone I already loved. 2 days after that I started combo. Man did I get a wake up call. I was sick. I hurt and wanted to die the first night. I was on 2 weeks and Bob fell off the roof and broke his back. I really didn't need all that emotion when I was sick on meds. I did it though, but did loose it a few times. We made it through one of the worst winters in many years with the help of our niece Jenelle that lived with us. The riba was real hard on my blood. I was real sick from dangerously low Hemoglobin, red, and white cells. They lowered the riba a few times and I was doing better. After 3 months I was already undetectable. I was gonna do it and win. I knew it. After I was on for 6 1/2 months I got a call that I could stop the meds that I was still clear. I hugged everybody in the house. I am off the crap. I beat it. The dragon was dead. I still felt like well you know, but I went for my first PCR after being off combo. When I got the news back I was detectable again. What, how did that happen. I was a 3A, and had every advantage. OK how did I manage to screw this up? I know I was always Lucy but this was unreal. He only did a qualitative and I wanted #'s My primary did that since the gastro refused. I was back to the same as before combo with a higher ALT than before. OK now on with life. I found a new gastro, actually it was the first one Bob saw in Niagara Falls. He said if I wanted to do Peg combo he would get me in a study for a year but that we need to think about it. I want my hair back and not to be on meds for my daughters wedding next June. Then at the heppofest a few weeks ago I saw that box. That damn pink and blue box. That was it. No way.....I am not worried about getting rid of the dragon right now. Not that bad. I have a life to start living again. I love everyone at Sam's. If all I get out if this Hep was the fact I have met more people that mean so much to me than I ever imagined then It was all worth it. I am gonna learn to live in harmony with this damn dragon. And help others win the battle I couldn't. Well that's it and the rest is to be seen.

Thank You, Bob and Shelly Ball

 

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    Page last updated: March 7, 2003


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