William D.

The pain was constant. Day after day, week after week, it seemed to go on endlessly. I started to deal with the pain by sleeping a lot. I had been infected for many years, and at first my body managed to cope. I slowly broke down bit by bit. It’s a slow and almost unnoticeable process. The virus began to win. My body had done as much as it could do. It sneaks up on you very slowly. Maybe that’s why we seem to accept our condition, or maybe it’s the brain fog and the confusion that overtakes us. I am not sure.

My doctor had sent me to a liver specialist, and I was under his care for a couple of years, until my situation got much worse. I was sleeping 16 or more hours a day, and was so confused I couldn’t concentrate. As with all chronic illnesses, the depression was setting in.

So I was set on a course of medication. It was to include interferon and ribavirin with another drug that was available, and the course was 48 weeks. Brutal! Terrible! The cure was worse than the illness. When I finished, my viral count was about 20. It had been in the millions before that. I was weak, unable to walk, and I must say, somewhat out of my mind. Those were some of the worst days I remember.

The virus came back with a vengeance! But I was too weak to even think about treatment, and it took me and my body over nine months to recover. So then the doctors thought that I should go back on the treatment with a new drug that showed promise plus, of course, interferon.

I had to take Ativan to inject myself with the Pegetron, because everything in my existence cried out against it, so I was in very bad shape. The interferon was the worst. After about 30 weeks…and don’t quote me here, because I chose not to remember these traumatic days…  started to black out. Regularly. It was strange… like the floor came up and hit me. My medication was stopped immediately, and I returned to the constant pain and confusion of chronic hepatitis C.

Things went along unchanged for a time, until one day, cirrhosis was diagnosed, and from that point, it got much worse. I couldn’t stand. I could hardly walk. Every muscle, even every joint in my body, ached massively. Like I said, the pain was constant.

At my appointment in the early days of January 2015, I was told that the situation was very bad, and it was indicated I should prepare myself. I had genotype 1b, which had no cure at the time. Then on the 15th of January, a new drug was announced. It was called sofosbuvir. Immediately the specialist set me up for a prescription. I had been on disability, unable to function for a number of years, and money was scarce. I managed to get some loans and gifts from friends and relatives, but not nearly enough to cover the over $140,000 that it would take. The provincial health care had turned me down flat. I went to the drug company, but when they found I didn’t have that amount, they stopped answering my calls and emails. I was destitute.

Then a new drug was approved shortly after. It was called Viekira Pak, by AbbVie, and the specialist recommended I try this. I thought I was never going to get treatment. These were tremendously expensive drugs. AbbVie called me. They were amazing. There was actually someone dedicated to help people like me, and they got it done! I received my course of treatment, and within a month, the virus was undetectable! THE CONSTANT PAIN WENT AWAY. I HAD ENERGY AGAIN. IT WAS AWESOME.

I have been virus free for nine months now–UNDETECTABLE for nine months! I am feeling great.

I have been given a new life to live, and every day is the best day.