Today, besides marking a day seventy three years ago that will live in infamy, also celebrates a milestone begun June 15th of this year. This is my first day post-Sovaldi in the 168-day treatment regimen. I’ll receive my pest infestation report from my Hep minder Tobi next week as to whether the bugs are gone. Another test in March 2015 will confirm it one last time. I expect they’ll do another in a year just for shits and grins.
Do not be dismayed at the picture. The eighteen tablets in the foreground, worth an additional $18,000 dollars, are surplus. The six bottles of 28 tablets each, represent $168,000.
My fellow Veteran Mark, who was forced to drop out of this prophyalxis in his fourth month, graciously gave me his unused portion after brain fog caused me to eat two doses one morning. This would have technically left me one short of the magic daily dose. For that, words cannot thank him enough.
Fellow Vet Randy of Colorado, also fell prey to the same fog and it caused him to slip up and forget to eat it on four occasions over a two-week period. Sadly, the error provoked a relapse in his disease process. The truth be told, Sovaldi in conjunction with Ribavirin is not very effective on Genotype 1A. In both instances, the Sovaldi did reduce the viral load to zero for a while but a sustained virologic response (SVR) did not continue. The rapid return indicates to many that Sovaldi, by itself, is most effective on Genotypes 2 and 3. I have Genotype 3A so I am hoping my cure “takes”.
With the advent of Harvoni, a mixture of Sovaldi and Ledipasvir, the hope is finally realized for a drug that is 99% effective against 1A and 1B-unarguably the hardest to eradicate. The upside is remarkable-it doesn’t cause blindness, Diabetes Mellitus or thyroid cancer. Our good friend WGM, of whom I have written numerous times, just began his Harvoni treatment in Texas. Next up are Mark and Randy again. There seems to be some foot dragging on the insurer’s part over whether they will grant retreatment to Mark. I feel certain he’ll get it either via Medicare or the VA. Being 100% P&T now, he’s in Group 1 medically. With the addition of being Stage 4 and sick as a dog, he’s in the red on the VA’s triage meter.
As an aside, the VA doesn’t trust us. Randy reported they made him drive 45 miles (one way) every two weeks for a new prescription of 14 pills. My prescription was for every 28 days-only marginally better. What did these folks think we were going to do with it? Go down to Needle Park in Tacoma and sell it to junkies for a 1000% markup? We will not venture into VA logic today.
Having a new potential lease on life is a strange feeling. Gone are the forebodings of never getting to see grandchildren as yet unborn. Gone, too, are the preparations for the bucket list, the writing of a bulletproof will that would prevent a slow agonizing, prolonged death at the hands of some idiotic doctor hell-bent on trying to keep me away from the bright light.
I think that bright light analogy deserves an explanation. Operation number two had a hiccup on May 2nd, 2009. My heart wasn’t up to the septal infarct. It seems when you fill the abdomen up with feces for eight days, strange things occur beside looking like Octomom. As most know, when you start to do the chicken they hit you with that two-handed taser in the OR. That son of a bitch makes the ones the police use look like piezoelectric BBQ igniters. The bright light is the one over the table where they’re cutting on you that you see when your eyes pop open a millisecond after the 35,000 VAC jolt. I don’t care how much Propofol or Versed you have in you. Your eyes are going to bug clean out of your noggin. The jelly on the paddles is to keep your skin from being burnt by the high voltage. I think they ought to issue Vuarnet sunglasses under these operating room conditions.
With the introduction of Harvoni, any of you folks still holding stock in Interferon or Ribavirin pharmaceutical companies would be advised to dump it and take a loss. It’s rumored they’ll be combining both with rat poison soon because rodents are attracted to it.