How I Defeated Hepatitis C

This text is written in the Community, retains the style and spelling of the author.

My name is Maria, I am 33 years old. I am a freelancer who sms, and I am also learning a new hobby – making natural handmade soap. The disease I beat is hepatitis C.

How I was diagnosed

I had no symptoms. They discovered the virus during my first pregnancy, when I did routine tests at the antenatal clinic. I was 23 years old. At first I did not believe it, I thought it was some kind of mistake. I honestly believed that only injecting drug users could have such a disease, not me.

The investigation has begun. I did another more detailed blood test at the diagnostic center to double check the result. Positive. He then underwent a blood test for the amount of virus and then to determine the virus genotype. It turned out that I have a small viral load, I do not remember the exact amount and genotype 1.

I went to an infectious disease specialist, who was referred to me at the antenatal clinic. He was admitted to a private clinic near his home. An elderly man, an experienced doctor. It gave me confidence.

My doctor told me that the viral load is still weak, the virus is latent. But everything can change at any time, because it is not known how the body will behave during pregnancy. He also said that genotype 1 is practically incurable.

At the time of 2012, there was antiviral treatment with interferon, in my case they estimated the amount at about 1,000,000 rubles, the duration of treatment was one year. However, there were negligible few positive cases for the treatment of hepatitis with genotype 1, plus a high probability of recurrence. Antiviral therapy, or AVT, was 30% effective for my genotype, successful treatment occurred with only 3 genotypes – 70% effective, with 2 – 50% effective.

I was scared. A time of treatment, with serious side effects: depression, reduced immunity, hair loss and not the fact that it will work. Plus, we were a new family, we didn’t have that million. In addition, everything worsened the condition of the pregnancy because AVT could not be performed during pregnancy. I had to wait for the birth.

I asked the doctor what would happen if he was not treated. He told me abruptly: “Then you will die in 5 years. Decided”.

I looked at all the forums where people with similar diagnoses shared their situations. I realized that in my case, the chances of a cure were extremely slim. The average life expectancy with untreated hepatitis C genotype 1 was 10 years. People usually died of either cirrhosis or liver cancer. It was unbearably scary for me to realize all this.

How did loved ones react to the illness?

I cried, discussed the situation with my family, but none of my relatives were able to provide material support. We decided to wait for the birth and then decide.

Unfortunately, due to stress in the 5th week of pregnancy, the fetus died in the womb. I was diagnosed with a lost pregnancy, I went to the hospital, I had surgery. After that, I fell into complete depression. And I decided not to be treated as much as I could.

There was no money, no desire for life. In addition, the resentment against her husband and parents grew, that in such a situation no one even tried to do anything to help. It was possible to raise money from all the relatives little by little, to drop a call to people close to them. Support was only in words. I myself was morally incapable of doing all this and asking. In time, the discussions stopped completely, I just lived with the disease for a few more months.

There was little money intended for the wedding – 200,000 rubles. That still was not enough for treatment, so I decided to take my half and go on a trip. I had an idea that if in a few years I die, at least now I want to live as I want. I flew to Thailand for 2 months, my husband and I broke up.

How I found help in another country

In Thailand, I met a man from another country, my future husband. Immediately, even at the stage of acquaintance, I told him everything about the diagnosis. To my surprise, this did not scare him, but instead, he decided to help me and offered to move with him.

I returned home and then went to another country. We found another doctor who noted the unprofessionalism of the first. I passed the exams again, I underwent liver fibroids. It was clean, had no fibrosis, much less cirrhosis. The doctor said that I have a latent form, that the virus is inactive and that the risk of infecting someone in my case is zero. In addition, by getting tested every six months, you can live for a very, very long time if the virus does not manifest in any way.

I was not recommended PVT with interferon. They only recommended the American Sofosbuvir worth $ 60,000 at that time – 2013. But the doctor said that while you can wait and save money. According to the doctor, I can continue to live a normal life, the main thing is to check the condition of the virus.

In 2014 I gave birth to the eldest daughter, in 2016 the youngest. Both are healthy. I had a test every six months, the virus was inactive until 2018. All this time I was being monitored by the same second doctor. In the next test in 2018, the analysis showed increased virus activity. The doctor said that only one analogue of American Sofosbuvir appeared in India, but much cheaper. The treatment lasts 3 months, without side effects, 100% effective even in my case with genotype 1. The cost is 40,000 rubles.

I made the decision to get treatment. For 3 months he took 1 capsule of Sofosbuvir a day, followed a diet: alcohol, fried and fatty foods are not allowed. And the disease won. One and a half years later, I was removed from the register, the diagnosis was removed. I no longer have this virus. I am incredibly happy, I have two children, I am healthy, all is well.

How illness changed my outlook on life

You should never blindly trust a doctor, you should listen to different specialists. You do not need to bury yourself and despair, medicine is rapidly changing for the better. And what was practically impossible 5-10 years ago is common practice today. While I was raising money for treatment, a medicine appeared. I’m lucky, I think.

I am very grateful to the doctor, who understood me and listened to me humanely, who did not sow panic in me, but gave me hope and, rather, even confidence for a positive result. My morale was in the black largely due to the attitude of the doctor. I am grateful to my second husband, who immediately supported and extended his hand to him, saying that we can handle everything. He did not leave me alone with his trouble. I am even grateful for that trip to Thailand, which happened thanks to my despair and depression. I’m glad I really started living then.

A lot has changed in my views, I want to live life to the fullest, I lead an active lifestyle, I am constantly trying something, I have many trips to different cities behind me. I’m not afraid to lose my job, to change my usual way of life, to let people go. I easily change situations, arrange new events and always choose myself. The main thing is that I feel comfortable and happy.

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