Thursday, October 20, 2011

With patience and persistance, you will perservere! 20 months post diagnoses

I was diagnosed with HIV on March 3rd, 2010, and one month later with follow up labs was told I had also contracted Hepatitis C; it was genotype 1a which is the most common, but the least curable strain. I was told I had a 15 percent chance at curing it, but since I caught it early my chances of curing it could be as high as 80 percent.
The hepatitis C diagnosis was completely unexpected, and was harder to digest than being told I had HIV.  
Though I had dabbled in recreational drugs, I never was an IV drug user.  As I said in previous blog entries the only thing I knew about hepatitis C was that Pamela Anderson had it and that it was a disease amongst IV drug users. I was completely floored over the diagnosis. My Doctor at Callen Lorde in NYC refereed me to Mt Sinai Hospital as a study was being conducted regarding sexual transmission of Hepatitis C.
I learned of this diagnosis the day before entering rehab at the Pride Institute in Minnesota, and was told about the treatment of interferon and ribavirin I would have to begin after my thirty day stay at Pride.  I remember crying on the plane ride from NYC to Minnesota, and I broke down several times in rehab over the Hepatitis C diagnosis. I was now considered ‘co-infected’ and I was scared.  I was told I’d have to give myself shots of a low dose of chemotherapy (interferon) and that the medicine was going to make me VERY sick.  
I had an AMAZING experience at the Pride Institute; while there for thirty days it gave me time to digest my new diagnoses, reflect on my addiction issues, and prepare myself mentally to start my course of Hepatitis C treatment.  I remember flying back from Minnesota to NYC, but this time I didn’t cry; I was going to fight this battle head on and do WHATEVER I needed to do to rid Hep C from my system.
The day after I landed I met with my Doctor at Mt Sinai and began treatment.  Every two weeks for six months I took a train from Albany to NYC to see my doctor for follow up labs.  Since I was in a study nearly twenty tubes of blood was taken every two weeks.  The initial expectation of eleven months of treatment was reduced to six months as I had a very good response to the medicine and by week four I had a nearly undetectable hep c viral load.  
I began giving myself the shots the second week, and like clockwork once a week I would inject the interferon.  The worst part of the treatment was the ribavirin pills, I think it was just the fact I had to take 6 ‘more’ pills every day.  The biggest side effects I had from treatment were fatigue and a heightened level of anxiety, and about 20 pounds of weight loss. I never had a fever, or body aches, never even had a headache. In fact I was prescribed 500mg of Naproxen to combat the possible flu like symptoms, but I never used a single pill. Treatment was NOT as bad as people talked about, but it certainly was not a walk in the park.  So, 6 months post treatment I was still undetectable, cured!
 A cure of hepatitis c is measured by an undetectable viral load 6 months AFTER stopping treatment.  At three months post treatment I was still undetectable, AND at six months post treatment.  I had beaten the odds and was cured!
I remember my last shot; it was nearly a year ago, a month before Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday). As my appetite began to return I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. It was a nice thanksgiving with my family, and I gorged! I quickly gained back the 20 pounds, plus some.  
Another achievement will be this march; it will be two years since I went to rehab, and I can say I have rid the addiction of crystal meth! It’s been one heck of a ride these past 20 months, but with a lot of persistence and patience YOU WILL persevere.  Hang in there, and until next time, be well!

Kevin Maloney





2 comments:

  1. kevin u sound like a very sweet caring type of guy I truly deserved to be love and defintaly deserved to be aorund someoone thwat will love u and respect u . i know some of the things that ur having to go threw myself dealing with things as well but i myself wants to find someone that will love me for me and not just use me like garabage . i am a very loving and caring man i hope i can find the right guy for me. trust me i know what ur going threw man and i would like to help if u will let me. look kevin if u wld like to email me u can email me at very_happy_day28@yahoo.com

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  2. Kevin i doo have to say that i complelty know wht ur dealing with I just want love and a guy to love me for me iV had moments to but i want to find it IT was my dream and the guy that i did love had it and know im scared beacuse i know i will have to it and have to be alone i think everyone deserves to be loved i was not loved at all. all i got out of him was shame faces. nad it hurts trust me. and after i gave him heart love letters and roses he wld come and blow up like a kid and then i cld see thoussands of tears roll down his face when he wld leave and i would just cry i gave everything to that man and i just got used thats all i got and know i would like to move on and get to know u kevin. there r a few songs that i listen to like the song tommorrow by chris young why does it hurt so bad . he has yet to care for ever it just got all the bad stuff and just makje me love him this whole time. its so wrong kevin. and know i have to found somoene with hiv nice hun. and my favorite song is dont u wanna stay here alittle while. i truly deserved to be loved to i do hope to hear from ya kevin :-) -c

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