Sunday, January 25, 2009
Haggard & Hollow-Eyed Injection 72
My "chocolate lovers delight" cake. My celebration cake!
I considered this treatment for Hepatitis C as a “tour of duty” that I had to endure and see to the end. It became a quest and while it knocked the stuffing out of me and has taken over total control of my life I pushed through it. I won’t receive a medal, certificate of achievement, or 15 minutes of fame in the news or on the television, but I will know that I persevered to complete it. What an achievement and I know I did my best.
Sunday, January 25, 2009 I injected the last needle of interferon. It's a miracle that I made it without being hauled off the treatment.
I hope you don't think I'm a drama queen regarding this, but it was a fight from my first diagnosis on December 18, 2006. I fought, lied, cheated and withheld information from the nurse practitioner (and my doc) as soon it became glaringly clear that she would haul me off treatment for the most stupid reason.
I had to suffer six more months extra of penance (from a 48 week treatment to a 72 week treatment) when things didn't go according to the clinic’s protocol and I made it. The bar was set pretty high here. It was pure anger and determination that kept me going along with the fact that I investigated the virus and had help from a Hep C forum located in England and in United States. The nurse knew that I wasn't going to "lie down and show my belly.”
I would negotiate everything with her to stay on full dose of the treatment or worse ...getting my script shut down. I was threatened with these options constantly. I would struggle into her office haggard and hollow-eyed, grey pasty skin and my tufted out thin hair and she would eye me trying to figure out how to sabotage my journey. She became the enemy. She became someone who could kill my chances of completing treatment if things weren’t perfect. She knew it was brutal and I wasn't going to give in...I signed up for it and I pushed to keep going.
I withheld information and side effects from her and my husband and I know that if I had of dialed 911 the night of the propane "poisoning" the local hospital would have not allowed me to continue and the nurse in the city would have let that happen. I would have been hauled off in a heartbeat. The list of sides that I suffered was relentless. I suffered continuous ache in my liver area and it's because of the strain on the liver dealing with such horrible chemicals. I had two lung x-rays once at the beginning of treatment and once when I complained about the side ache. It was all clear for chest problems.
I constantly battled fatigue, dizziness and brain fog. These were sides from treatment and mainly because my red blood cells were pushed so low I could hardly function.
I did report my eye problems and they sent me to an eye doc in the city and he determined it was migraine flashes and not bleeding retinas (caused by the tx) I managed to overcome hurtle after hurtle and learned to "sit down, shut up, hang on and go for the ride." My vision isn't the same as it was and I am hopeful that it will improve once I am clear of the chemicals. I’m tired of having all the blinds closed and running around the house with sunglasses on all day. My husband told me recently it was like living with a rock star. The vision will eventually right itself, I hope. It will take time.
I have had chest pains which I was supposed to report, but knowing that I would be hauled off treatment. When I experienced this pain I didn’t tell a soul. My red blood cells were so suppressed that the lungs and heart were sucking for oxygen. I just lay on the couch those days to see if I could get through it. I knew that the "heart ache" I was experiencing was a warning sign and the nurse would have hauled me off the treatment. ...and the extreme exhaustion and fatigue was always there.
I had the ultimate hypochondriac’s wish list of side effects. BRUTAL I want my life back and it will come with time.