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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:59 am 
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A couple of weeks ago I started on a gruelling 6 month course of Interferon & Ribavirin ( http://www.pegasys.com/pegasys/ ), with the aim to cure my Hep C. I'm extremely grateful that, because of my strain, I only have to be on it for 6 months and not 12. I'm one of the "lucky" ones.

I gave myself my 2nd injection of interferon last Thursday, and things have started to get a bit rough. For most people, side-effects come later. But given my pre-existing conditions (bipolar, addiction) and the meds I'm on, some of the side-effects have kicked in relatively early. I've started to get a funky rash around my elbows, knuckles and ankles. I feel quite "ill" around the days of my injection. Most of all, already my mood has taken a turn for the worse.

Today, after seeing the psych, he thought it would be best to put me on anti-depressants. I've had a rocky relationship with these drugs over my life. They're extremely effective, don't get me wrong. My issue is that in the past, there have been so many incidents of going on anti-depressants, then relapsing into addiction within a couple of weeks, especially if I'm on buprenorphine. For some reason I have a freaky liver that metabolises Suboxone really fast when I'm on SSRI/SNRI medications.

So I'm praying (and I'm not even religious!) that I can fight through any increased cravings that might come my way. It's hard given that anti-depressants work so well, and I become so "happy" and incapable of remembering the depressing parts of my life, that I'm only capable of remembering the enjoyable parts of my addiction.

F*&k I hope I don't relapse. I'm gunna try really hard. Hopefully this association was only psychological. I'll keep you guys posted.

T.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:10 am 
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Wow, you're really going through a lot right now. First, I hope your treatment works...that would be terrific. And I hope some of your side effects decrease soon. I know it's not comparable, but I take methotrexate (chemotherapy - not for cancer) and in the beginning I did suffer side effects, but after my body got used to it, I no longer have any. Maybe that will happen for you, too. I hope so.

As for possibly relapsing, think of it this way. You're aware of the risk...this makes you more prepared than you ever were before. That, I believe, increases your odds of NOT relapsing. I believe that you can do this. And use this forum to share how you're doing with us - especially if things get hard for you. Use us as your journal if you need to. You've been here for so many people and I want to stress to you that we are now here FOR YOU!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:45 am 
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Thanks hat.

Yeah I've noticed I've been posting a fair bit on this place lately. I find I post more when I've hit a rough patch. That old 12-step idea of "getting out of your head by helping others" has definitely left a mark on me.

A lot of what people read online leaves the impression that Interferon is a living nightmare. Honestly, I think there's a lot of exaggeration going on for sympathy in some places. It's no walk in the park, but I get the feeling those who are getting chemo for aggressive tumors have it worse physically. So far, aside from the recent mood down turn, I've had a bit of ongoing nausea, a rash around my ankles and elbows and knuckles, bad dandruff, and a weird slightly flu-ey sick feeling, especially 24-48 hours post injection. The psychological side is more worrying. When I normally get depressed, it's a kinda lethargic, don't wanna get outta bed or do anything kinda sadness. This is more like a "what's wrong with my life. How did I get like this. Will it ever get better? " real hopeless introspection that can no doubt lead to bad decisions if it stays untreated.

My fear about relapse has a lot to do with the fact I metabolise the Subox really quickly when I'm on anti-deps. I've talked about it before I know. The things I have going for me I think are that I'm in a much better place in my recovery. I genuinely see the world of addiction as an ugly place that "isn't me" anymore. Also, I'm not on Epilim anymore, a drug that compounded the problem.

So I'm hopeful overall. Not just that, if it turns out I metabolise the Subox too fast, I'm willing to increase my dose. Hell, even if it means my doc needs a special clearance to prescribe over 32mg (which has been talked about). I'm only on 12 at the moment. But when my liver works fast, it works real fast.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:41 am 
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You beat me to the punch. As I was reading your post, I was thinking to myself that you might want to consider raising your dose, but there you were saying the very same thing. I'd also add that if you have to do that, you'd probably want to dose at least twice a day, to keep your bupe levels even (or try to).

It sounds like you're struggling to remain optimistic and are winning that battle. GOOD FOR YOU. I think it's great that you're going this route. You should be proud of yourself. Hang in there and I truly hope this works for you. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Thinking of you.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:31 am 
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Also, don't forget there are various types of AD's: SSRI, SNRI, dopamine enhancers (like Wellbutrin) and even the older tri-cyclics. Ask your doc which type will interfere the least with your Sub metabolism. My brother-in-law is on the same type of regimen for Hep C as you. He has experienced the same things you are reporting, feeling low and flu-like 24-48 hour after. But overall he has tolerated it pretty well and his liver is improving. So, I hope you will have the same result.
Hope you feel better - and keep posting.
Lilly


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:28 am 
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Things have improved a fair bit the last 3 days, well today especially.

3 or 4 days ago I started on Cymbalta. I've been on it before, so my doc and I know it works. Considering my situation, the doc wasn't really willing to try something new, even given my worries about metabolising the Subox.

So far I'm burning through the Subox just fine, which is surprising. But when I think about it, this is the first time I've been on anti-depressants without being on Epilim, which also contributed to the problem. Maybe the rapid metabolism relied on Epilim being in the mix? I'm only on the starting dose of Cymbalta though, so I won't come to any quick conclusions.

The SNRI meds - Cymbalta, Effexor, Pristiq - usually work pretty fast for me. After 3 or 4 days, after a couple of messy days which feel like being on bad speed. Today things were looking up, and it's really surprising how a more positive attitude makes the interferon much easier to handle. I did a whole day @ school without any worries, the day after my injection. Hopefully this will keep up.

Thanks guys.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:07 am 
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Well, this is a glimpse into my future, I guess. I am also HepC positive, and unfortunately, I have the worst genotype which means if/when I do get on Pegasys, I'll be taking it for a year. I'm definitely not looking forward to it and hope I never have to do it, but you never know. I had a liver biopsy in 2009 and they said that I appear to have the liver of a 20 year old (fortunately, I've never been a big drinker) so there was no reason for me to start treatment. They said come back in 5 years for another biopsy, or sooner if I started to have any HepC symptoms, which I have not (knocking on wood as I type this)

I hope everything works for you and that you achieve SVR, tearj3rker


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:59 am 
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Good news! Got my 4 week viral load blood test back, and my viral load is ZERO = negative. Getting such a result at 4 weeks is a very good sign, technically EVR (early virological response), which means my chances of SVR (sustained " response) are much greater. All I gotta do now is let the treatment do a final sweep.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:15 am 
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YAY YOU! Congrats...I'm so glad the treatment is working. And thanks for letting us know.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:11 am 
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This treatment is absolutely shocking! And has very nearly cost me my relationship at least twice. Thank God some sanity prevailed. Hopefully in a few years interferon will be a thing of the past.

My life had to be stripped back to bare basics. I deferred my studies, I'm only really talking to my friends on the phone / email. My days consist of basic self care, cooking, taking pills for treatment, pills for treatment side-effects, more pills to treat the side-effects of the pills to treat the side-effects. BAH.

The psychological side-effects I've found to be the real killer. The insomnia, mood swings, rage, depression, mania. My partner is really struggling in adapting to all the different "me's" that have turned up recently. I've been put on a near toxic dose of lithium to basically "shut down" my brain as much as possible. There's also all the infections, the psoriasis (I've had to shave my head), the metabolism issues, the fever.

So to anyone who's still using, or considering using IV drugs, please be careful. Don't catch Hep C! I managed to go over a decade of using without contracting it, but as long as you use it's just a matter of time IMO. So please, if you don't have it already, stop using! Stick on the Suboxone. Drugs = pain. If you do have hep, then don't fear tx too much. It's still worth the potential decades of added life, and the quality of life. Plus there's some non-interferon treatments on the horizon. Keep your ears to the ground!

:shock: :shock:

:lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:14 am 
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On Tuesday I found out my HCV is detected again, so the treatment didn't work. Put my life on hold for 6 months and went through that for nothing. I'm a bit spun.. gutted is more the word. I was starting to get suspicious something was wrong last week when I started getting liver pains again.

What can you do?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:31 am 
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HUGE dissappointment. So sorry.. Ya know, I am not sure what kind of diet you keep, but I know the suppliment Milk Thistle is used to help liver issues, specifically HepC. Kombucha tea (its a fermented mushroom) is highly reccommended for liver illness too. I am sure you have looked at every possible thing to help yourself, but I thought these 2 things were worth mentioning. Keep your head up. It may not feel like it right now, but you CAN & will, get thru this. I am rooting for you


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 Post subject: @ tearjerker...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:55 am 
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Hey Tj--

Sorry to hear about this. (I have Hep C, too.)

I really hope things work out for you.

-ex-



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:53 am 
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I am so sorry Tear! I can't imagine how you must be feeling, disappointed, confused, sad, angry. Is there any other options you have to beat this disease? Don't give up, I know you must feel completely defeated right now but you have to hold onto hope.

I know you suffered the past 6 months and feel it was pointless. If nothing else you will not be wondering "what if" for the rest of your life. We will be here for whatever you need and don't let this take away all of the progress you have made in life. It's times like these we need to find our strength and fight with everything we've got.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Hey T,

Man, I'm sorry to hear that your treatment didn't work. I don't know what else to say right now.....I'm just sorry Bud.

Don't give up, man.....don't ever give up!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Thanks y'all...

As it often is, things come always at once. Lastnight my sister / bro-in-law had her first baby (Amelia - 5pd 5oz). We went in to see them. It was amazing the whole thing. She's really beautiful. An Australia Day baby!

My mother will be coming out of hospital with her new metal hip next week. I offered to move back there for a few days to help out until she can take care of herself. So I'm kinda putting on a brave face and trying to push through. Other people clearly have bigger stuff going on. I originally told my mother / sister / bro-in-law about the Hep as they're in the medical world and knew they'd be more understanding, but I don't think I'll tell them about the relapse. Keep it to my girlfriend, and you guys I spose. They don't need to know.

All the while my bipolar's been rapid cycling like a bitch since I got back from Port Douglas and off the anti-depressants, so things are far from stable at my end... and people can kinda tell from my face that something ain't right. Esp when the Hep returning meant turning down alcohol on Australia Day. It was shameful! What does it mean to be Australian if you can't get hammered and punch-on on Oz day?


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