I am still clear of the virus. I just did another blood test (for what would have been my 12 week status) and will have results next week. My doctor is optimistic.
I feel so great! I have my life back! It doesn’t take me all week to figure out how I will get to the market one block away and carry home some apple juice. I can walk to the farmers market and cook again and go back to my non-fat/non-dairy diet, which makes me feel so much healthier. I am convinced that once my liver healed, after that the drugs were just making me very sick and not doing much of anything else. We will have to wait and see. I will get a new blood test every month for 6 mths, per my doctor, to make sure the virus hasn’t returned.
The side effects I had AFTER quitting treatment were horrible. The fever got worse and was still constant for about 2 weeks after. My period had ended the week before I stopped. 4 days after I stopped, I felt awful and my legs were so swollen they looked like they might explode out of their own skin. I laid on the sofa all day, and at midnight I stood up and blood just started pouring out of me, with clots that were so large it looked like my liver and kidneys were being expelled through my vagina. I was horrified.
The next day I went to the GYN and she did biopsy and ultrasound, and we discovered that a fibroid I had had for years that had pretty consistently been 5 cm had grown to 9cm in the 10 weeks I was on interferon, which increases estrogen production, FYI. I have always been estrogen dominant, a great source of worry since my mother had breast cancer, and I am now on a nutritional plan to try and shrink that fibroid again. I am having another ultrasound in 2 weeks. This episode makes me feel even more correct in choosing to stop treatment. I think it was creating new disease and problems in my body that was so healthy prior to treatment.
I had no symptoms of Hep C at all before starting treatment, and my doctor said my liver disease was mild. When we discussed stopping treatment, he said he had another patient who only did 4 weeks on the regular intef/riba and she has been clear for 8 yrs now. So it is possible.
I received a comment from a Hep C support group called Daily Strength http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Hepatitis_C/forum/13021559-womans-tx-blog-very (FYI to them, I worked 3 days a week the whole time I was doing the treatment, and spent the other 4 days in bed). They talk about the theory that the reason we are kept on the treatment for so long is because the drug companies want the money. I agree this could be the case. I had a friend who died of breast/liver cancer this year and the day before she died she looked me in the eyes and said “The only regret I have is doing chemo.” I could never get that outta my head.