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Sugarbear's Story

Sugarbear

First of all, sincere best wishes to all on slaying this terrible dragon.

I was feeling really weird and ill for a couple of months and all the doctor tests came back normal. Also during this time my life insurance premiums were increasing because I was at the end of the term and over forty.

Decided to shop around and found same coverage at half the price I was paying. Nurse came and did the urine and blood collection and I figured that was that. Two weeks later I get a call from my agent saying I better get to the doctor right away! - Wouldn't tell me anything else and it took another three weeks before I found out that they discovered Hep C in my blood.

I freaked because I knew nothing about this thing - pretty scary situation!
Family doctor referred me to a Hepatologist in Ottawa and she is excellent. My mom died in 1986 and this doctor looks so much like her it almost threw me for a loop when I first met her. That's gotta be a good sign right?

The treatments available at the time were only 15% effective so we decided to wait for the Pegetron which was in the process of being approved by Health Canada. Sure enough I got the call that Pegetron was approved and available! I jumped on the opportunity to slay this dragon!

May/2003 I started my first treatment.

My Genotype is 1b and my viral load at start was 682,000 ppm !
I applied for and was approved for Short Term Disability and the meds were covered under my company drug plan. I had to shop around a bit because most of the drug dispensers were charging above what I was covered for. This stressed me out because the cheapest I could find was still needing a $300.00/mth co-payment. Finally I got it at no charge through the Hospital pharmacy!! These are important things to know for patients that face big co-payments. I travelled an hour every month to pick up my meds and finally I found a local pharmacy to provide the meds at the same price. And they even deliver it right to my door now! awesome!

Anyway, this Pegetron is nasty stuff and the side effects are wicked. I'm a pretty stable guy but this stuff made me into a grizzly bear! I'm seven months into now and over half way there. Treatment is 48 weeks.
I'm so lucky to have a loving and supportive family - Sometimes Im not even aware of being nasty or mean!

So many side effects but I always take a step back and remember it's just the drugs ! I am pretty much fed up with the treatment and the side effects and I miss me and my life a lot. But I feel this may be my only chance to slay the Hep C dragon once and for all.

Good news is that at 24 weeks there was no detectable virus in my blood - this is necessary to continue treatment and at this point I have a 70% chance of cure at the end of it. Once I stop treatment, a final blood test is done six months later and if that comes back clean - I'm Hep C Free cured! I really hope this works out because it's certainly been a year of hell battling this dragon.. Just have to stay positive and remember it's the meds playing with my mind and body - only felt like ending it all a few times but my honey stood by me and comforted me through the darkest of times. I just got overwhelmed with so much happening so fast. I have always been a proud man and a good provider.

I have looked back to try and discover the cause of my infection. I had two big surgerys but no blood tranfusions. I had worked at a local hospital in the housekeeping dept and cleaning up blood and needles was common but I don't recall ever being poked by a needle - this was many years ago. In my early teens I used to do some really stupid things. Me and all my closest friends were blood brothers. This means that we used to cut ourselves and rub the wounds together to mix our blood - this was a promise to always look out for each other and be there for each other. No disease floating around back then but still a really dumb practice. Maybe I will never know, but if the treatment works, it doesn't matter anyway.

Thanks for listening to my story and best wishes to all
Special thanks to my Boo for catching me when I fall.


Dave aka Sugarbear

Email Me!!

 

UPDATE!!

I completed Pegatron treatment on April 2/04

The final week I had to battle a dangerous bout with Pneumonia but survived.
Now I'm just resting up and slowly getting my mind back - I plan to return to work on May 1/04 and very much looking forward to it.

During treatment I went for blood work every two weeks and the results always went unknown to me.

I finally found a family doctor and he was asking about my blood counts ect and I had no information to share with him. He asked me to tell the lab to forward a copy to him as well as the specialist. That's what I did and within a few weeks the phone started ringing and the family doctor was totally freaked by the blood results - I got called in so he could review with me and not one count was normal! - It was freaky seeing this on paper - this one too low another one too high!
Since I was still on treatment at the time, we could do nothing about it and this was apparently normal because of the medication - another blood test and another call ! This went on almost every time!

Started taking a multivitamin just for my own sanity as I figured it couldn't hurt.

I'm getting stronger every day despite a few setbacks -
Latest bloodtests are closer to becoming normal and that makes me feel much better.
Now that treatment is done I have to wait six months to take the viral load blood test and hopefully everything is still undetectable !!

Sometimes I'm not even sure I want to know the results but after eleven months of treatment part of me wants to know and another part is worried about getting a negative result.

Anyway Im still thinking positive and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone health and happiness today and always

Thanks

 

 

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    Page last updated: April 21, 2004


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