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Should I go through with treatments for HCV or not?
Nov 6, 2002

Hi Doctors, My names' Karen & I'm 49... almost 50. A couple months ago, my doctor did a series of blood tests, to find out why my Liver count was still high after having my Gall Bladder removed last October 2, 2001. When that op was done, the surgeon said that my liver had "a good deal" of cirrhosis. I don't drink, do drugs & am faithfully married to a super guy.I've had 2 blood tranfusions in my life. #1-1979 during a Partial Gastrectomy to remove an ulcer & 1996 after a traumatic car accident which tore a hole in my descending thoracic aorta. God has blessed me with a good but much slower life & now...with these tests my new dr. did, it shows I have Hepatitis C Geno Type 1. The Gastro Enterologist said she wants to do a Liver biopsy, but NOT unless I agree ahead of time to go through with the combo treatment of Pegintron shots & Rebetrol tablets. I am diabetic & would have to be constantly monitored. The Side effects, I've read, mimic Chemo Therapy. Hair loss, physical & mental disfunctions, depression, weight loss, anemia, constant vomitting & the lists goes on & on. But....she also said that since I am Geno type 1, I was the LEAST likely to get anything good from these treatments! She said it was sort of 50 / 50 whether or not I could be cured. My husband said he wants a second & third opinion. Please help me! All these new developements in my usually healthy self are really freaking me out!!! I am so scared. I have the sweetest little 12 year old son that I wanted to spend many great years to come with. Now I don't know what to think any more! I also heard that no one usually survives longer than a year or so from a liver transplant. Is this true??? PLEASE help calm my fears...Karen

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Dear Karen It sounds like you have a lot to live for! While you may have cirrhosis, the first round of treatment can indeed cure you about 50% of the time. You almost certainly got the HCV from the first transfusion in 1979. The side effects are no walk in the park but they are not like chemotherapy. Many people can work while they take peg and only have about 2 bad days per week. The whole idea of doing a biopsy is to see if you really need treatment. Pressuring you to make a decision before is not fair. However I would certainly go for treatment if the surgeon was correct. A biopsy is helpful as well. Good luck, you can do it if you choose to! DTD

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