for Veterans and the Public
David, Army Veteran - Hepatitis C for Patients
Long before I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, I felt something was wrong but my doctor couldn't find anything. When I joined the VA, they asked if they could test me for a bunch of things including hep C. When I found out I was positive, I thought that was why I was feeling that way.
The first treatment I had was very hard. It was with the older drugs. The injections ... it got to the point where my hand would be shaking so bad that I couldn't do it. I had to have someone else give me the injection. It was awful. The treatment did cure me for a while but the hepatitis C came right back.
Keeping Hope for New Treatments
Dr. Morgan at the VA was telling me there is a new treatment on the horizon. So I kept hope. When I'd start to get depressed, it gave me hope. Now the second treatment, I don't even recall having any side effects. I was expecting them but there was nothing, it was very minimal. I thought maybe I was on the placebo because I was part of a study. Sometime after the treatment was finished I found out it was the real drug. I had more energy right away and I could do more things. It was very moving when I found out my hepatitis C was cured. You feel indebted to the person that saved your life. I do feel the VA saved my life.
Impact of the Hepatitis C Cure
I felt depressed before and the weight of that burden is now lifted off of my shoulders. I can ride my bike again, go backpacking. It is a great feeling.
When they told me a new drug was coming out, I was a little bit leery because of my past experience. I didn't ever want to do the interferon again. It was so painful. My advice to other Veterans feeling this way is: Don't worry about it, you will be fine. It was totally painless for me. Don't be afraid, go for it. Do it. You won't be sorry.