Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fixx You (Worship Song)

Wanted to share this amazing song originally by Coldplay, but adapted as a modern contemporary worship song by a group called The Worship Mob. Can't help to praise Him today, for treatment, for life here, and life everlasting. I want to dwell in the house of my eternal Father forever. Amen.

Day 9, Feeling Fine

Wow, it's officially day 9 and pill #9 of my Sovaldi treatment, and things couldn't be more better. I did notice one small thing yesterday, I took Sovaldi on an empty stomach and I had an achy tummy for about 45 minutes an hour later. Next time, small snack with my pill to prevent a tummy ache.

It's been a cold day today here in Clermont, Florida with cold rains, dreary overcast skies and just ickyness. Hey Florida!!? I didn't sign up for this being in the "Sunshine State" and all. But I guess it could be a lot worse, I could be in Atlanta, GA right now. Those poor people having to spend over 36 hours in traffic, freezing cold and no supplies, medication or assistance until now. It's amazing to see the humanity and good nature in man sometimes when strangers open their homes to stranded passengers, schools don't close their doors for the homeless and businesses stay open and extend a welcoming hand to those in need. The moral of today folks, when you think you've got it bad, someone (somewhere) has the battle a little tougher. It's day 9, and I'm feeling fine. Hey, that rhymes! Anywho, love ya, and see ya tomorrow.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 7, Chugging Along

I woke up this morning feeling a little lethargic, not sure if it's from activities yesterday at church, or my medication. I spent most of the morning/afternoon resting on the couch and letting my body recover from whatever the lethargy was from. I am feeling great, nothing major to report in terms of side effects that are consistent and noticeable. Less than an hour away from dropping pill #7, and I'm super excited to see labs in 3 weeks.

I have been seeing people's lab work come in through a private support group I joined online, and people are undetected with HCV at week 4 on Sovaldi. That's astounding news! On a side note, I have noticed that my acne and this dry skin face thing I've had for a few years is slowly starting to go away. Could the acne be from having HCV, and the meds working to clear it out of my system? Even though I don't physically feel it's working, I see small little signs here and there that point to a light at the end of the tunnel.

Love and Blessings!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 5, Time to Thrive

Man, almost one full week in the bag of Sovaldi and Ribavirin, and I'm doing amazing. Had some minor joint pain today, but that was not related to treatment, rather my hemophilia. This cold weather is murder on my joints and muscles with having hemophilia. But, at 5 days in, nothing yet to report. When I make it to week one, this therapy should be smooth sailing from here on out. Really excited to get labs in a week to monitor my progress. Taking a blog break this weekend, be back on Monday! Have a great weekend you all, and God bless! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day Four

I didn't post yesterday because nothing too significant or any change has taken place over the past 24 hours, but wanted to give you guys a quick update this morning before heading out for the day. Yesterday was a great day, the wife is off work for 3 days in a row, so we spent yesterday doing some needed chores, one of which was grocery shopping; fun! The only real problem I'm having right now is an issue that I've been having long before I started treatment, and that's with my allergies. Living in Florida, where one day it's in the 70's, and nights it's down to the mid 30's wreaks havoc on my sinuses, especially when we run the heat. Something about heat that dries me up, flares up my sinuses and causes me to have a runny nose and sneezing. It's manageable of course, but a nuisance nonetheless.

Today is going to be fun. We live in Orlando and plan to visit a theme park today just to be out and have a little fun today. So far, no side effects or anything out of the ordinary to share, so I appear to be tolerating the new drug therapy very well. Thanks for your continued prayer, support and reading.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Doctor Called Today

It is really awesome when the doctor that is treating you, gives you a personal phone call to check in on how the couple days of therapy are going. She was delighted to hear that the medication isn't showing any signs of "major" side effects in the first 48 hours, but the next week, as the drug becomes accustomed to my system, will indicate any significant issues (if any). I get a basic CBC lab drawn on February 3rd, and follow up with my doctor on February 11th to monitor progress. My doctor told me at week 4, she will have me do labs again to get a viral load assay drawn to see how the new drug is reacting to the virus. With God by my side every step, a little luck and confidence, I feel the labs will be positive. Just for the record, day two, and I feel great! Not even a headache, chills, diarrhea or flu like symptoms. Could this therapy really be this good?! Time will tell...

Morning of Day Two Therapy

I went to bed last night at a decent hour, and woke up with a full 8 hours of rest. I ended up eating some healthy food last night for dinner at my favorite place in the entire world, Chipotle Mexican Grill. I could more than likely eat there every day of my life if I could afford it. But getting back on topic. Having taken two full doses of Ribavirin from last night and this morning, to be honest, I don't feel anything different in my body. No headache, nausea, cramping... Just my typical every morning sniffs and sneezes from my allergies, which is totally non-related to therapy. I read that with a meal, particularly a fatty meal, the absorption rate of Ribavirin from non-meal to meal ranges 45-75% in the body. So I made myself some buttered toast this morning, and ate some yogurt (not all of it), and had some sweet tea to top if all off with. It's a little hard to eat a large meal of the morning for me, it always has been. It generally takes my brain, stomach and digestive tract about an hour or two upon waking up to really want food, so forcing myself to eat toast this morning was kinda Blah. I'm not, and have never been, a morning breakfast kind of guy. I love breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausage, grits, but it's hard to eat all that right when I wake up. Things have to settle, I have to wake up, get active, get going you know? On a normal day, my first meal of is generally lunch around Noon.

I'll try to post a follow up blog tonight after two full days of being on Sovaldi + Ribavirin. So far, it's like I'm not even taking anything. Time will tell though. God has got this whole process in His mighty hands, and in Him I draw strength and courage. We serve a mighty, conquering King. I love my boss.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So Far, So Good

Two hours into therapy, no major side effects to document on Sovaldi itself. I had eaten a small granola bar upon taking the pill to help with absorption and possible upset stomach. Tonight I will take the other pill Ribavirin, which I'm expected to have very mild reactions to (if any) based on my 2006 treatment of the same pill. The astounding thing about this new therapy is the removal of Interferon, a weekly injected drug that reeks havoc and is extremely toxic on the body. So far, so good!

Sovaldi is making headlines across America, and here is just one news clip from in which they give a great review of the new drug.

It Has Arrived

It finally arrived today around 11:45AM via FedEx. I've formed a regimen plan for taking the medication that surrounds my other regimens so they don't overlap. I will start Sovaldi today at 5PM during dinner with the misses, and then follow up with 400mg of Ribavirin tonight at 10PM. So my daily dosage is like this; Ribavirin 400mg at 10AM and 10PM, 12 hours part. Sovaldi is to be taken every day from 5-6PM after dinner for better absorption into the blood stream.

There is a sense of anxiety going in (my legs won't stop the wobble tick thing), but I'm definitely not worried or nervous at all. Taking a new powerful drug like this always comes with risks, but with a 92% chance of being cured, I'm willing to deal with those risks, if any, as they come; one by one. I will hopefully be able to write a follow-up post tonight to update you all on any side effects I may or may not have. Keep me in your prayers, and more importantly know that we serve one amazing God that is capable of miracles, you're reading the blog of one.

A Glimpse From My Past

So this picture is from 1990, and sometime around early Autumn as best as I could remember, before Halloween. I was staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Lexington, Kentucky and this is roughly when they first diagnosed me with having HepC (HCV). I had received some low platelet counts for a while, and was finally tested and found that I had Hep Non-A Non-B. There was no C at the time. But they knew it was the new form of Hepatitis. I spent a short bit at this place, surrounded by some pretty sick kids, but at the time, I didn't realize nor understand all that was going on. Things like this became the norm for me, so I just accepted it for what it was and lived my life with Nintendo, He-Man toys and Ninja Turtles.

I reflect on this because of the upcoming treatment therapy on Sovaldi and the miraculous cure that very well could follow afterwards. Life is not about caving yourself into a walled fortress and dealing with these types of issues on your own. First, that's not how God wants us to live, and second it's just not healthy thinking. That's why, for the first time in my life, I'm taking this initiative to document this therapy; good, bad, graphic or jubilant. Looking back, I was just barely 11 years old at the time, it astonishes me to this day the road I've traveled, the doctor's offices I've visited, and the testimony that God has already paved for me through my life. Even if I didn't get this chance of treatment, or this treatment fails big time and I have adverse reactions, my story and testimony are valid, already there and evident that God is doing amazing things through everyday people.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Final Countdown

Tomorrow is it. Less than 24 hours from now, I'll be starting the therapy that has been so long and patiently sought. It's been almost 10 years ago since I last treated on the toxic therapy that is both hard on body and mind, but I stand today firm and bold in my faith, and trust that God will deliver me from this infirmity. It's unclear when I contracted Hepatitis C, some say in the mid 80's, while others say far longer than that, closer to age 2 or 3. Even though mild to moderate damage has been done throughout my 34 years to the liver from having the virus, I have taken extreme precautions to abstain from smoking, drinking and drugs that are recreational and harmful to my body over the coarse of my life. That's probably a darn good reason why I'm doing so well today; that and God of course.

The last time I treated with Ribavirin and Interferon, I had side effects from weight loss, mild rash, general lethargy, but amazingly my appetite remained whole. This time around, over 9 years later, there will be no injections of Interferon, as progress in science has lead to new treatments and advances of non-injection therapies. I am amazed at how quickly Sovaldi was approved by the FDA on December 6th, and even more astonished how soon I was told I was a prime candidate for the new drug. With over a 90% cure rate, I stand the odds that will more than likely cure me of this wretched disease once and for all, and I can go on living life without that dark ominous cloud hanging over my conscience; even though I know the good Lord above has my back no matter what outcome His will leads me to. I'm healed either way. :-D

My wife is an RN, so there will be some precaution going into therapy, and we've taken some mild steps to protect me in case my immunity becomes weakened from therapy, as this happened last time I treated as well. My white blood cell count dropped to as low as 1.8, which is very low during the last go-around with treatment. Alexandra will be removing her work scrubs prior to entering our home, as they contain all sorts of contaminants, microbes and germs from the patients she cares for in the hospital. We'll also be making some adjustments for intimacy, as this therapy could cause extreme birth defects and deformities. This is my life, it's real, it's uncensored and honest.

The last time I treated, I lacked confidence, I lacked a wife, I lacked a church family, I lacked friends to pray for me and I lacked a support system. This time, all factors are in place, and my wife ultimately is my biggest support system of them all. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her by my side. God's hand has been all over my life, and this therapy is just another step to validate who He truly is. I feel in my soul, I'm healed already, just have to endure 24 weeks to get there. God will use this testimony to help a lot of people, and through that, I can bring my God all the glory he deserves.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2 Days And Counting

Just two days away from swallowing the first pill of my 24 week therapy. I'm walking into this therapy with a sense of boldness and confidence I never had before. I previously treated my liver in 2006, and despite the unsuccessful treatment of Interferon and Ribavirin, the introduction of the new tablet Sovaldi is a literal Godsend for me. The whole ordeal has been a year in the making, as I spent the majority of 2013 bouncing from doctor to doctor, being denied treatment, referred here, referred there, and finally in October, the answer came in a random phone call from a doctor who previously denied my case, but referred me to an ARNP at Doctor Phillips Hospital in Orlando. The timing of finding this treatment, the new Sovaldi tablet getting approved by the FDA on December 6th, to submitting the paperwork in mid December and ultimately getting accepted for treatment on January 16th. Now, on January 21st, I will endure a 24 week long therapy of adverse side-effects, repetitive doctor visits, lab work and evaluation. But at the end of the therapy, I stand a 92% chance of being cured all together of the disease that could ultimately claim my liver. There is no fear going in, only day by day. There is no regrets, and definitely I am walking in a sense of confidence with my faith I've never had before. God's will, this is just the beginning of my Lord using my story to gain others to Him. It's for His glory, not mine that I write these words and post this blog.