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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

Sunday, May 28, 2006

BBC Play And Helpful Pill


I have received the date for the radio play which incorporates a number of blogs to provide an overall view of the hepc experience.
Transmission (known as TX in broadcasting world!) is at 14.15 on Monday 5th June, until 15.00. It will also be available to hear on-line from the BBC Radio 4 site, for seven days after TX.
There will be a helpline available for those who want to know more.

I have been gradually moving away from people with the virus. Although I cannot escape the virus itself I feel it is important to distance yourself away from living in the virus as opposed to living with the virus.
The virus does not define me. It only limits me in certain ways. I have a healthy regime and as long as I stick to this it is the best I can do to give me as full a life as possible. The virus will try and destroy my liver. That is its reason for existence. My job is to limit its damage and scope for damage as much as I can.

There is lots of healthy eating and living advice around so I won’t give any here.
There is even a Hepc cookbook!!
Well, someone had to write one I suppose.

A pill that looks to be very helpful for those with hepc is Tramadol.
It is an opiate type painkiller but also has serotonin and adrenal boosting qualities.
This means that as well as taking care of the multitude of aches and pains often suffered, it can help with the depression and fatigue that is often reported.
I have noticed a lot of people with hepc are using it.
It may be for you, it may not.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


In a recent casual survey of people with hepc, chronic fatigue was noted in over 40% of cases.
Not surprising really when the body is coping with billions of particles of a virus which is intent on destroying your liver.
When I found myself suffering from chronic fatigue in 1989 I began looking into chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or M.E. as it is sometimes known.

The two best books on this subject are:
“Stressmanship” by Dr. Audrey Livingstone Booth.

“How to Avoid Burnout”, by the Minirth-Meir clinic.

Both are very easy to read and contain no scientific jargon.
Although these are fifteen years old nobody has come out with anything new that has added to them.
Apart from a scientific study that was carried out in the early nineties which investigated the use of cold baths as a cure for CFS. I hardly feel it is worth mentioning this as nobody is likely to actually do it as a cure, but they did find it helped in over 80% of cases.
Barry Sheen, the motor cyclist was one of the treatment candidates. He pronounced it as a cure for his CFS.
Now deceased, Brave Barry found the cold bath treatment more daunting than motor cycle racing.
The treatment consisted of sitting in a cold bath (not more than 16 degrees C.) for up to twenty minutes. Who dreamed this up and how on earth the idea even came to them is beyond me - but it worked. And under laboratory conditions.
One woman became so enthusiastic that as well as the bath in the morning she also took up to three cold showers during the day.
Desperate needs require desperate measures I suppose.

Far easier to take a pill. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to have been one until very recently.

More on this in the next post.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Birthday - 23 Weeks Post TX

Today is my birthday. I am 51. I am also 23 weeks post treatment.
And I feel terrific.
If my nurse lived in Salem she would be burned as a witch.
Everything she predicted would happen has happened.
I was warned clearly from the start that I would not really start feeling better until all the chemicals had left my body and my system had recovered.
She said it would take six months.
This has now happened in the last week or so.
I have even taken up swimming and those muscles which have not been used for so long are beginning to loosen and tone up.
The treatment has redistributed my weight and I look really good. My face is shining and my eyes sparkle.

Its unbelievable and I wouldn’t have believed it was going to be possible if I hadn’t been told and forewarned by my nurse.
The post treatment phase is the most difficult part of TX. You naturally expect to feel better straight away and the time in recovery seems to drag.
But it has an end.
I do think that it may take longer than this if you have abused or burned out your body previously. I do know some who are taking a very long time to recover but when I discover their past it invariably shows they had been burning the candle at both ends for many years prior to TX.
There are also the cases where someone has an underlying medical condition which necessitates them giving up the treatment at an early stage.
Thyroid problems are often the culprit.

The body can only take so much and if you borrow energy from your body stores today you will have to pay it back sometime.
Users of stimulants know this fact all too well.

Not only is my health surging back but exciting things have been happening on the work front.
Right out of the blue the BBC got in touch about ten days ago. They are going to do a Radio 4 drama about the hepc blogging community that formed in early 2005.
The original bloggers met up in London for a brainstorming session with the compiler of the blogs and it is set to be broadcast in a few weeks.
It will be on Radio 4 at two in the afternoon and is called,
“Llama lashes and grumpy old gits”.
I have read the script and it looks set to be a winner.
Truly a landmark for the hepc cause.

As a result of this I have been commissioned to write a book. This has never happened to me before and for a relative unknown (I did two years in journalism) it is unheard of.
All these things coming together has sent my spirits soaring and I feel like I am in a dream.
As one door opens another closes and one door was rudely slammed in my face last week.
A forum I was invited to participate in when it began last year has undergone a lot of controversy. A lot of this was entirely self made and could have been avoided but I have been lumped together with some outspoken people and banned.
Banned without so much as a by your leave, a thank you, or a gold watch.
It couldn’t have come at a better time and frees me from any responsibility I may have felt to help others on treatment.

This blog is enough. It stands as a landmark, a sign post to guide others on the journey. I know it has helped many because of the emails I have received (some from people without hepc) Somehow, now, the 38 weeks spent in virtual isolation, in misery a lot of the time, all seem worthwhile.

At the BBC meeting I met Jonathan Colam my first original hepc blog contact. He looked fantastic, almost like a film star. I make a point of saying this because Jonathan had the virus since he was 11 years old when he was injected with it by a doctor who was treating him for haemophilia. He cleared the virus last year at the age of 35.
Sadly, we did not have time to chat much but he said some very interesting things about his post TX experience that I hope to get his permission to share.
It is an unusual experience to meet someone you have only know through emails and phone calls.
There is a saying that being personally acquainted in the flesh with someone you have only known through their books or letters is often a letdown. This was not the case with Jonathan. I found Jonathan in the flesh far more interesting than having read his blog.
So, truly it is onwards and upwards. It has been a long winter and a late spring but I have a feeling it is going to burst into glorious summer.