I am starting another round of Hep C treatment tomorrow.
I was unsure about recording the ordeal again in this blog - wondering whether I could be bothered to write down the ordeal all over again let alone expect others to read it. However, I do know that many friends and family who will want to know wants going on (God bless you) and this saves me repeating the same info over and over again. So I will keep a record, but it will be less graphic than last time, just the basic facts as to what's going on.
Let me start here by explaining why am I doing it when I said, after the last time, never again. First off is - the fact that according to tests done at the beginning of the year, the sclerosis in my liver has taken quite a nose dive. Second - there is a new drug: Boceprevir (also known as Victrelis) which improves the chances of success for patients who did not 'respond' satisfactorily first time by stopping the virus multiplying. (I am amongst the first 10 patients to be given it in the UK) Thirdly - the treatment protocol has changed, for the better.
The new treatment therefore will go like this.
Phase One: For the first four weeks I will be on Interferon and Ribaveron just as before. In that time I need to get what's called a one log drop which basically means if you begin will 7,000,000 viral load you've got to achieve a drop to 7,000. If you do not get to that then they stop treatment because they know its not going to work. As I did not achieve a one log drop in 4 weeks last time I think the chances of success are minimal for me and the whole treatment could be over by the beginning of October. Of course that's my head speaking, my heart say why not success this time, anything is possible.
Phase Two: If you get through phase one they put you on the new drug Boceprevir for four weeks. At the end of this time you are expected to have achieved a viral load of zero. If not, again they will stop treatment because they know it will not work in the long run.
Phase Three: If I am lucky enough to pass the eight weeks with a zero load then treatment on all three drugs will continue for around another 28 weeks making a total of 36 weeks treatment, though it could be more.
The good new is that is past results indicate that if you get to phase three there is a whopping 80% chance of success. Which I think is the grim realities of being on treatment. Who knows this time next year I may be a man transformed.
I'll let you know how I get on.