The Hepalogue

Is This Really Happening?

by The Golden Phaeton on 26/04/2016

You might consider me insane by the end of this post, but never mind … it will possibly be entertaining …

I do have some corroboration for my experiences. When I asked a friend (also on one of the new treatments) if she had noticed anything unusual happening to her body or mind, she considered briefly and told me she’d noticed that her sense of smell had improved. Well, mine has too. I became aware of it a few weeks ago. I put no store in it at the time, but when the unusual olfactory moments began to come thick and fast, I decided it was the treatment. I mean, nothing else has changed in my life.

There’s no doubt that my sense of smell has been blunted. My teenage daughter reminds me of it constantly. However, I’d always associated my dulled senses with methadone (once) and buprenorphine (now). But it seems likely that Hep C may have had some part to play.

And not just with smell. I’m tearing up far more easily these days. Randomly, I find myself lost in spirals of sentimentality. (And, OMG! When Podrick helped Santha in accepting Brienne’s oath!) It’s really quite nice. I feel a lot more human. Perhaps I’ll start to understand some of that other weird shit that people get excited about …

Perhaps I’ll become an emotional being …

There have been other changes too, but their significance remains shrouded. For example, I’m sure my urine is smelling sweeter (of course that could be my improved sense of smell). Also, I’ve found myself idly plotting to stalk Hollywood actresses … It started with Deborah Ann Woll (ex-True Blood, currently Daredevil) … Then there was someone far too young on Fear The Walking Dead … now my smouldering lidless eye is sweeping the world for Jennifer Lawrence …

You know, when you wake up in the morning after a good sleep and stretch? It tends to feel good. For normal people. Earlier this year, during a particularly bad patch, after a particularly wracking, shivery and unpleasant stretch, it occurred to me that it never used to feel this bad; I felt robbed, denied of a basic existential pleasure … But, lo and behold, I’m feeling it again. So, watch out.

I guess all these things are related, in one way or another, to an intensifying of the senses. I’ve even developed a mild phobia. You know the one. Trypophobia. The fear of lots of little holes in close proximity. Urmm. Maybe this image will assist in your understanding …

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I also feel more intelligent; when I talk the words flow instead of foundering in a heap on the tip of my tongue. What’s more, my house – steadily, day by day – is getting cleaner. And not just the larger elements, but the nooks and crannies too. I’m remembering where things are, so I spend less time looking for them. Life is getting streamlined – and it could be more so if it wasn’t for my tendency towards self-sabotage.

I have a friend who cleared the virus a year or so ago. The main change to her life was a daily urge to go out and get wasted. I sympathise with this – not that I’ve been going out terribly much. When the consequences of overdoing it are suddenly so much less, the temptation is well… greater.

Before treatment, a big night could knock me out for a week. Now, not so much. And commingled with heightened senses, the thought (and experience) of taking drugs and alcohol can be dangerously alluring. Indeed, it’s a current priority of mine to keep this unexpected aspect of treatment under control. I want to feel good all the time. And, of course, I have a veteran liver to nurse.

(As opposed to previous regimes, the current medications are said to work regardless of ones intake of recreational substances. This is based, so I’m told, on actual studies.)

 

VITAMIN D

Speaking of things that can effect treatment, I should mention vitamin D. Though none of the information below is known to be absolute truth, I think there is enough evidence to act on it. Vitamin D is cheap and won’t hurt you.

A few years back, when I received a ‘not-detected’ result in a blood test, I began taking vitamin D supplements.  I had read that there was a veritable plague of vitamin D deficiency in sunny Australia… and I locked into that for an explanation. Lack of sun. It made sense.

But perhaps it was related to the virus – because the infected do seem to have lower levels, and evidence suggests that these lower levels make the virus’s job of devastation that little bit easier.

It has been ‘found that a low vitamin D level (is) associated with a poor treatment response and more severe liver fibrosis. Earlier data found that vitamin D may also improve insulin sensitivity and possibly inhibit the virus from replicating. This data from researchers confirms the fact that not only living with chronic Hepatitis C and liver disease is accompanied by a vitamin D deficiency it also shows that by supplementing vitamin D during HCV therapy can improve response rates’.

So, if you want that little extra kick to your treatment (or that little less damage whilst still in thrall to the virus) maybe buy a bottle of Vitamin D. As for myself, I pop them like lollies.

The Golden Phaeton

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