Hepatitis C

Hep C. What a drag. Me, too squeamish even to watch blood taken from my vein, let alone injecting any kind of shit, deliberately abstemious from sex in his twenties while following the mystical path, never so much as shared a toothbrush… So now I have to take a whole bunch of retro-viral drugs starting soon. But what a relief it will be to regain energy-levels, appetite for food, enjoy a few drinks, and no more itching skin..!

Can’t wait to begin.

UPDATE: have now been informed by a member of the NHS that I am entitled to access treatment immediately in the UK rather than waiting for more interviews and scans abroad. I actually began this process in the UK three years ago but my GP / local hospital failed to pick up on the problem despite having a whole series of blood tests. Not until I visited a foreign doctor was the virus discovered. Hep C can lay dormant in the body for decades before any symptoms break out (this condition is known as ‘chronic’).

One final irony: when I met the woman who was to be my wife thirty years ago I went to my GP and asked to be checked out since I knew that a serious relationship was about to ensue (this was the era of HIV, hepatitis and General Ignorance), after asking me questions concerning my lifestyle it was decided that no tests would be required. Now, she will have to take a Hep C blood test to check on her status.

Now, it seems, following further blood tests the Hep C reading was a ‘false positive’!

Finally (March/April) Hepatitis C was conclusively identified and anti-viral drugs prescribed. Currently – end of April – I am halfway through an 8-week course and hopefully will be given the all-clear at the end of the treatment. Hallelujah! It’s taken three years since first presenting with my symptoms of nausea, lethargy and itchy skin to reach this point. Make sure to press your doctor on this if you have similar symptoms. As a result of the delay in identifying the problem, I may now have permanent scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver and esophageal varices caused by the untreated viral infection.

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