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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

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

TX Aftershock


Just got back from a very enlightening visit to my nurse.
My hypoglycaemia which has been much worse post tx has not showed up on my fasting blood test.
All is normal including cholesterol which is a healthy 4.
So there is nothing visibly wrong apart from borderline hypo thyroid which my GP will monitor every two months.
But as I described my joint and muscle pains, fatigue and the constant need for sugar levels to be kept balanced she is not surprised.
Then the bombshell. That very morning my nurse had just had in one of her first treatment candidates who was celebrating her second year anniversary from clearing the virus. This person reported that they were only just starting to feel well now – two years after clearing the virus. Geno 1 by the way.
“We are still assessing the original completers of treatment and are discovering that the prolonged recovery rate is now the norm” said my nurse.
“You shouldn’t do yourself down just because you are not recovering like you think you should. Even those who clear the virus can often retain symptoms that they had pre treatment for many years after”.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ten Weeks Post TX


Just about to come up to ten weeks detox period after being on 1,200 mg of Ribavirin and 180 micrograms of Interferon for 40 weeks.
So how do I feel and how long does it take to feel better?
For me, and remember everyone is different, the sweats and major flu like symptoms were all over by four weeks. After four weeks I began to feel human again and not have the miserable symptoms of flu. After having the equivalent of the flu for 40 weeks this is a tremendous relief. Shivers and feeling of being cold no matter how warm the ambient temperature is are all things of the past.
Around this time I remember vividly having a bath and feeling that warm glow afterwards that “normal” people get. It was almost a transcendent experience.
A small pleasure that we all take for granted but when denied for 40 weeks it begins to assume its true significance.
Lots of “small” things like that which have been denied due to the illness and the heavy medication come back. It made me ponder how much we take for granted.
Like eating food with a real appetite and not just forcing it down because you have to keep your strength up.
Speaking of “warm glows” the return of a healthy sex drive was something that was a double edged sword. I can always tell how healthy I am by how much I notice the opposite sex. Whenever I have been ill the most significant sign that I am recovered is that I start noticing and looking at women again.
Its irritating. I find this a nuisance and a distraction from the things I really want to get on with. I remember seeing a program where volunteers had a little number clicker which they clicked every time during one day when their thoughts turned to sex.
It was approaching the hundred mark for most people.
Its well known that the sex drive is linked into the creative drive. Is it any wonder in this sex obsessed society that true creativity is at a premium.
Nevertheless, I do find myself enjoying the return of this natural urge and am thankful for these little pleasures of life that still remain free and untaxed.

Mentally I am clearer headed than I have been for years. Its incredible. Whether this is a “rebound” effect of being foggy and having the mental equivalent of wading through treacle I cannot say. Nor can I say exactly when this happened.
Immediately after ending TX I went into another illness crisis with a trapped nerve in the groin. This required some heavy painkillers which of course obscured my detox recovery period.
All I can say is that at 3 months post tx I should be well on my way to “feeling normal”.
I say feeling normal because I still cant do normal things. Fatigue is still a problem and I hit major low energy spots. All I can do about this is rest until its over.
I am still very much in convalescence. But as my nurse told me to expect this before I even started treatment it is not much of a surprise.
Low blood sugar symptoms are a mega problem and I have had tests for this and am awaiting the results. I have to eat every two to three hours or I am in serious trouble.
Classic symptoms of hypoglycaemia, fatigue, confusion, weakness etc are a constant for me and I have to eat regularly to avoid them.
Bearing in mind that I did not clear the virus I can say that the life after TX is going to be better that the one before. But it takes time. In our instant culture that is the last thing most want to hear.


Friday, January 13, 2006



If I could prescribe any painkiller or anaesthetic known to man to help people get through treatment it would be Television. There were days of unmitigated misery on treatment where nothing else could possible have helped or reached me and then I found TV miraculous.
I’m not joking. I could be locked up in my own world of bodily misery and feelings of utter mental blah where I didn’t dare contemplate the smallest thing and I would switch on the TV and it would all disappear. The world would be bearable. Pleasant even.
I would last as long as I could without the necessary calls for food and other natural functions and then rush back to bed or the sofa, pull up the quilt and escape into blissful oblivion.
As a result I have caught up on a lot of movies and even some TV series.

There have been various points in our marriage where we decided not to have TV.
The first five years we did not have one. Then another period of five years in our thirties and then another four years since 2000.
I know what life is like without telly and in fact had just had a stint without it and did not have one at beginning of treatment
My Ma thought it would be good for me to have one so she bought me a TV and video for my TX year. I never got hooked up too the mainline contenting myself to watch movies and TV series on video and DVD.
There were times when it was the only thing that kept me from giving up treatment.
Now that TX is over and I no longer need it I am weaning myself off.
I can now read again, something I found I could not do on tx. I am rediscovering using my own imagination to create scenes and not some producer.
The quality of films surprised me though and there are some very thoughtful movies around. Some martial arts films that are coming out of china are unbelievably spectacular and beautifully shot. Loads of money is being poured into the Chinese film industry and they cannot be dismissed as they once were.

Its no coincidence that I compare TV to drugs or anaesthetic.
In her book called “The Plug in Drug” Marie Winn sets out the results of ten years of studies of the effects of TV on children and the family. It was a damning book about the most powerful tool in the media arsenal, TV, and was completely ignored by every other branch of the media industry.
Dr Winn’s systematic collection of various studies of the effect of TV is horrific reading.
Did you know that they have actually paid communities to do without the TV for a year and monitored the results?
Those communities that took part in the study rarely went back to TV watching.
There is a scientifically measured TV trance that the mind goes into when watching the screen no matter what is on it.
Unlike other studies Dr Winn did not look at program content - what the quality of programs were. This study merely looked at the physiological consequences of THE ACT of watching TV.
That’s how I knew that when feeling at my lowest TV would give me the shot I needed to bear the pain of existence.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Who Am I When I Am Not My Demons?


You see it in the media all the time. The following are actual headlines I have read over the years:
“The demons that drive David Jason”, actor who plays Del Boy in "Only Fools and Horses".
“It’s the demons inside that make me dance” Rudolph Nuryev, Russian ballet Dancer.
“George Best loses his battle against the demons”
“When I am playing I feel the demon force playing through me”. Alex Hurricane Higgins, World snooker champion.

We`ve all got them. So who am I when I am not my demons.
In the treadmill of life that society prepares for us its rare to get a space, some real time out to have a look at things and get a new perspective.
Serious illness is one of those times. It stops us dead in our tracks like no other thing.
Not only stopped but forced to face some unpleasant realities. Not only about illness but about how other people, friends and family react to our illness.
Shocks are inevitable. Previous accepted perceptions are challenged. Things may not be what they appeared.
And so we start to sort out and sift the wheat from the chaff, the false from the true, what is important from the trivial.

I am not going to name my demons here. But there have been plenty.
The last three years culminating in this last year of being ill and chemically incapacitated has forced me to face and banish them all.
Jonathan Colam was the first hepc blogger I came into contact with. He met face to face with his demons on TX. See it here at:

An old psychodrama trick is to look at yourself in the mirror and say what you see.
I now like what I see. There are good things, positive things there.
I hope after your TX experience you will be able to say the same about what you see.

And those that cant see the changes? Or won`t see them because they are viewing me through “time warp goggles” that see me as I used to be.
Well, may they too have the capacity to change so that they can catch up. Meanwhile they can be dead weight that must be jettisoned if I are to move on.

I am astounded as I read blogs and speak with others about their TX experience how many have made dramatic life changes in their relationships.
It is a real effect of the TX journey, and one of the most surprising.
Combination therapy has to be one of the most profound pharmacological experiences of our age.
I am glad I was there to experience it.