Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great News for Hepatitis C Patients (Well, for Some of Them)

Along with other people infected with the Hepatitis C virus, I was elated when the FDA approved two new medications - telaprevir and boceprevir - both of which have proven much more effective in achieving sustained virologic response (SVR) than the current course of treatment. For people like me who have genotype 1 Hep C, the hardest to treat, the news is especially good.

Yet I just learned that treatment with one of these new medicaations may not be in my immediate future, if at all. Turns out that immunosuppressants have a negative interaction with the drugs, so liver transplant patients with Hep C can't tolerate them; at least, not for now.

Well, this just sucks. For five years we've waited for these drugs to reach the market, hoping that this would clear my Hep C and give me a chance to be realistically hopefully, and seriously consider the future, make plans, expect to be around for a good long time, enjoy some grandchildren.

But right now, the future just seems dark.

Photo by nikstyles

Saturday, May 14, 2011

There's a What?! in My Ear?

Back in January I had an ear infection. It seemed silly to have this childhood illness at 51. But I've had chronic problems with my left ear since the age of two (I call it my "Achilles Ear"), so I shrugged my shoulders, saw an ENT, took the prescribed antibiotics and ear drops and assumed all was fine.

Two months later the infection was back. This time I called my primary care doctor, who phoned in an antibiotic and ear drops. Again, it cleared up.

Yet two weeks ago, the ear infection appeared for the third time. Obviously, this is a problem that needs more attention. Back to the ENT, who did a culture. Yesterday the nurse called and said the doctor wants me to use the ear drops only. Oh, and she also said that I have a staph infection.

Whoa there! Staph? That's not good. I realize staph is found on our bodies and one study I found showed that 15 percent of ear infections are caused by staph. But I'm immunosuppressed, which makes me a tad bit worried. I can't find anything online that explains what happens to people like me who have staph infections.

Tomorrow I'll talk to the ENT's nurse again, to learn what type of staph was found. Then I'll call my transplant center and, hopefully, find out what this means and what must be done to resolve the problem so it doesn't recur.

Photo by Robert S. Donovan,