Sunday, October 30, 2005



Can you believe it, another week goes by, just like that? Yes, it is week 17, the holy week of Halloween. We stressed and waited and I telephoned the doctor’s office every day. What was the lab result on the viral load? The previous week Bartley had announced my WBC had dipped to unacceptable levels. In addition to that, my red cell count was also unacceptable. The lab hadn’t finished with the viral numbers, so we waited and checked every day to get the results. If it didn’t hit a target number for treatment progress, it would be pointless to continue treatment given the damage being done to my general health as a by-product. There would be the option of ordering the blood enhancers to recreate some vitality in my chemistry. However, without evidence that 4 months of treatment had produced a targeted result, going further would make little sense. Then Wednesday, Bartley’s receptionist told me by telephone that I would be continuing the medication. Later I spoke with Doctor Bartley. “We are within a target number on treatment and I will order the blood medication right away”. He wasn’t telling me any specific numbers, only that we had reached the target. When you think of your own needs, you aren’t ready to be put into a graph and viewed objectively, but that is exactly how the medical community perceives the progress of your treatment. I understand now that my perspectives have been so narrow and self centered as long as I can remember. I understand now that my perceptions might not be the most accurate criteria. I realize I have more to learn now than ever before.

So, just like that, I went from denial and willingness to abandon the discomfort and negative sides of enduring the treatment, to being grateful to be in a position to continue my quest. Angela explained how significant it is that my virus hasn’t mutated into the stage that makes it resistant to treatment -- that at that point you are saddled with a liver destroying entity and you are on a short fuse to the end. I’m learning much new information and insights along the way. For instance, not many days go by that I don’t hear of someone I know having Hep C. It really is becoming one of the major health issues confronting this generation. All of us who experienced the try-anything standard of the last 30 or 40 years have probably put ourselves at risk and should get checked for the virus. It can be beaten, but it has to be detected and treated as soon as possible. In other words waiting around for when you feel like dealing with it, is not a smart thing. One of my friends who has Hep C has been told that he would probably die from other causes long before his Hepatitis C virus will take his life. I used to think that argument was valid. I no longer believe it. How would anyone know the probability of impact or timeline of a disease that had been unknown until recently? A patronizing piece of advice if you ask me, and certainly an advise that is dangerous. My advice is to find out if you are infected immediately. Then, make the decision to treat your infection before falling into the complacent attitude that there is plenty of time. It is not an easy thing, but it isn’t so terrible either. It’s better than being told you’ve waited too long. Angela says that you will never be stronger than you are right now to take on the treatment. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. But then, life is about choices, isn’t it?

Thanks for hanging in with me on this story. I think the best news and bottom line on the whole trip is that the virus is being eradicated. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to work. It may be a year. It may be less. It’s going to work. Yes it is.