Sunday, March 25, 2012

0 Weeks of Treatment: The Starting Line

It's Sunday morning. Day 1 of this 24-48 week journey. And I'm anxious, excited, uncertain, relieved, nervous, glad it's here, etc...! Doctor said treatment will likely take 36-48 weeks, based on my initial blood work. It's a lifestyle changer. Needless to say, this newly turned 37-year-old has been anxious for weeks. I am just glad to get this party started! With supportive friends and family, and a husband and 3 kids in the know, here I go!

7:30 am - Time to digest enough fat (20 grams) for the Incivek (telaprevir) to metabolize. What a tedious pharmaceutical! But I am certainly grateful for it. Without its FDA approval last May, the odds of defeating this virus would be 25% at best (earlier research shows 2-8%). Now my chances are 60-88%! I like those odds.

8:00 am - Time to pop my first of three sets of Incivek. One dose down. Two more to go, all requiring 20 grams of fat, followed by Incivek 30 minutes later. I also take my first of two sets of ribavirin too.

So far so good! I feel fine! Well, as fine as to be expected for a person carrying the Hep C virus. I believe I underestimated its effects on me over the years. Perhaps I did this because there was nothing I could do about it. I never felt I got enough rest but I figured it was because I had young children. Or I was out of shape. Or I was over-stressed. I'm sure those were factors in my fatigue but it always seemed like others around me had more energy. So I overcompensated. I pushed through. With the help of my friends: caffeine, comfort foods, and regular exercise, my self-will and faith (ultimately) have carried me and kept me surviving.

10:00 pm - Time to take my last dose of Incivek for the day, my second dose of ribavirin for the day, and my FIRST weekly shot of Peginterferon (Pegasys). YIKES! I've never given myself a shot before! The nurse did a wonderful job preparing Bertrand and I at the training appointment. But I'm still anxious! ... I did it! I gave the shot myself! And it didn't hurt! Yahoo!

Now...time to wait for the side effects. Will I get the flu-like symptoms? Ugh. The anticipation. It could take as soon as 4 hours to find out or as long as a day. And what about the other symptoms? Will I start feeling the effects right away? The doctors and nurses say yes. My supportive family and friends say "NO." They are praying with us for the side effects to be minimal or non-existent. I'm grateful for the support.

I feel a sense of relief. At least the wait is over. Treatment has begun. Good night.

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