.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


A Hepc blog, genotype 1, from discovery of virus, till (hopefully) the successful outcome. Also logging the mental, emotional and spiritual journey that this will entail. The entire contents of this blog are copyrighted by Paul Wilcox and Paul Wilcox reserves all rights granted by law to be associated with this blog.

Location: United Kingdom

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Oncoming Train


Hey, you know that light at the end of the tunnel? It really was the headlight of an oncoming train. I had a PCR test at 36 weeks. This is a test for the presence of the virus. This wasn’t necessary and is not usual protocols. But I wanted one to encourage me that all was well. I fully expected it to come back negative for the presence of the virus.
It didn’t. Virus still detectable. At this late stage a result like this is really the kiss of death to any further continuance of this course of treatment.
Over a very emotional weekend with lots of phone calls and emails seeking advice I finally went to see my nurse to talk it over with her. I have known her now for 15 months and we have been through some intense times together. I put a lot of faith and trust in her judgement.
I know she wants the best for me. In a specialist/patient relationship you cannot really ask for more. This alongside advice from treatment veterans helped me to come to a conclusion on the matter. Although Martin and others would have liked me to wait for the results of a viral load test outstanding I have nevertheless decided to discontinue treatment in favour of a new treatment in the future.
I have already been offered Schering Plough which is a different type of interferon and I am on a list of “guinea pigs” for future polymerase inhibitor treatments. For the moment though I have to rest, clear my system of this current treatment and give my body a break of a couple of years before it is ready for another battle.
I certainly am in need of some Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Body, mind and spirit have been on the front line for an extended period and need a break. Hoping to get away for a 4 day break very soon.
I still have a lot to say about treatment and getting through it. Also, now I will be reporting on post treatment recovery.

Have had mountains of well wishes and encouragement from fellow travelers and also from veterans who have journeyed before.
I am grateful to you all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Welcome To New Readers

Hi, my name is Paul and I am in week 37 of 48 weeks of combination therapy. Welcome to those of you I have just met.
I hope you find this online diary useful. I have tried to give an honest account of the journey through combo therapy.

Blogs are read from bottom to top with the latest entry appearing at the top.
To view this blog from the beginning use the archives on the left beginning at February.
To get list of Blogs by others on combo use this link:

The treatment journey is a fascinating one and everyone has their own story.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel


The light at the end of the tunnel is a sign of an oncoming train. That’s supposed to be a joke but on Tx you can never tell. I do feel confident, less stressed, less mad and looking forward to a successful and fruitful life after treatment ends.
The reduction in the ribavirin is largely responsible for this.
However, having reduced the ribavirin I am able to separate out the effects of the combo. Combination therapy is called that because it is a combination of two drugs which work together to produce the desired effect. In this case it is interferon and ribavirin.
Interferon on its own is ineffective (10% success rate, I think)
Ribavirin on its own is useless and won`t be of any help.
In combination however the rate of success rises dramatically to 65+% in Geno 1 and 80+% in Geno 2 and 3.

I blamed everything on the ribavirin because it is so powerful a rush. Within 20 minutes my heart rate rises dramatically while a small cosh is applied to the back of my head.
Let me tell you how powerful it is. Before my reduction on riba my resting heart rate was 86. One little pink pill, 200mg less, and it is down to 72. Before tx it was 65 – 70.
So ribavirin does tend to get the blame for everything but the interferon is a real body ravager.
After 38 weeks of injecting that stuff I feel my body getting tired and worn out. I`m aware that I could get infections very easily and now that winter is approaching I find myself being more cautious. If you read my post “Louis Pasteur never shook hands”, http://paulwilcox.blogspot.com/2005/02/louis-pasteur-never-shook-hands.html I outline the dangers of infection. I have in fact trained myself never to shake hands and avoid rubbing my face and eyes and picking my nose. Of course, I never picked my nose anyway, having been brought up in the North of England where gentility is instilled at birth.
Interferon is subtle. You don`t think it is doing much but it is responsible for all the aches and pains, flu like symptoms and all the malaise that goes with that. Most powerful of all is the effect it has on your bloods and the ability to carry oxygen around the body. A flight of stairs can leave you totally whacked and panting painfully for breath. 5 minutes later you are back to normal.
You adjust of course and live life at a slower pace. I have seen 80 year olds fitter than me as I am at the moment.
But I am only 50 and when this is all over I will feel a very healthy 50.
Not straight away though. I was reading the blog of a friend who has just finished 48 weeks of treatment. Finishing treatment is in itself an achievement but he has also been tremendously active in helping others through treatment and promoting awareness.
I notice he wrote this on his blog recently:

“Today I am realising I must have had some notion in the back of my mind that once I stopped taking the medications I would feel better quickly, perhaps even instantly. I say that because my head knows this won’t be the case, but I do feel distinctly disappointed to feel much the same 48 hours later without medication as I did before”.
http://www.ronmetcalfe.com/blog/ Wednseday 12 October.

I have this same notion. And it is dangerous. All evidence to the contrary I somehow believe I will be different from everybody else and will instantly recover and be 21 years old again. Well, I will never be 21 again. So thinking like that can only lead to disillusion. It is the same thinking I had pre treatment. While preparing for the worst I secretly thought I would be one of the ones who had an easy time and would breeze through treatment. Needless to say I was totally wrong. We seem to live most of our lives in some sort of self delusion other. It keeps us going. Some people like to call it being hopeful. But what basis is there for this hope? Why should life go easier for me than anyone else.
Its interesting. When I was kid I looked upon my grandparents as fusspots because they were always saying be careful and warning you of danger. They saw the world as a place full of hidden dangers and pitfalls. To me as a child I saw it as a safe place full of fun. This led me to playing on the sea cliffs near my home and nearly falling hundreds of feet to certain death on a number of occasions.

My body has been put under stress and will need to recover. Those extra heartbeats, 840 an hour, 20,000 a day have taken a toll. Whilst living as a geriatric my body has been working overtime.
Light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, but still a way to go yet.