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How can I manage the pain and fatigue without killing off my liver?
Dear Dr. Chung,
I understand you can't completely help via email but I have been HCV positive for 2 years (?), I have upper moderate disease per my biopsy with fibrosis.
I did 6 month of Interferon and rebetol, I relapsed. I started with an elevated liver enzyme in 1987 after going to school for Medical Assisting when gloves were not really pushed on us yet and there were a ton of blood accidents. Ok So here is my questions. I have severe joint problems, especially with my left hip, but with most of my joints wrists, fingers, excessive diarrhea, and at the end of my day, after chasing 3 kids and a job I'm dead physically. Everything hurts, and I'm exhausted. I have waves of nausea all day and a pain that wont leave my right side, ever. I do not have health insurance now. If I did what kind of treatments could be available for me. How can I manage the pain and fatigue without killing off my liver? Are these symptoms of HCV or not related? And without insurance where in Phoenix can I get care in case I get so sick I need a transplant? Also do uninsured people ever receive transplants? HELP I have 3 kids I don't want to die and I'm scared. I don't even know what fibrosis means, is that cirrhosis?
  Dr Chung Writes-  
You might consider trying to get into a clinical trial looking at combination PEG ribavirin treatment. usually these trials provide study drug and monitoring costs. contact Roche or Schering to determine where the nearest such trial might be taking place in your area. most transplant programs, including ours require some form of insurance. the idea, of course, is to get the treatment so that never becomes necessary.
from Jules Levin: drug companies have Patient Assistance Programs which can provide a source of free drug for those without resources to pay for them. Schering Plough has a program but currently has limited drug supply. It's expected that the Roche pegylated interferon called Pegasys will be available in the Fall of 2002. And Roche should be making a Patient Assistance Program available.
  Dr. Chung      
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