Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Bit More Personal..chapter 1

This is a picture from our wedding. At this time Don had Hepatitis C and neither of us knew anything about it. This was over 18 years ago.

Last year Don started to have some symptoms of high blood pressure and I nagged him to death to go to the doctor. He has what we call "White Coat Syndrome" which essentially means that anytime he steps into a doctors office - his already high blood pressure goes even higher. He about gave those poor nurses a heart attack when they saw how high his was! I was right though, he did have HBP. Don does not know this, but when he scheduled his appointment for this, I secretly called the doctors office, gave them a heads up about how long it had been since he had been to the doctor and asked them to give him a COMPLETE physical! (sorry Honey) but so glad I did that. They found a couple of problems - and one of them was the Hepatitis.

There are quite a few types of Hepatitis subdivided as A-F and some are viral and others are blood born. The most difficult to treat is Hep.C. It is blood born and is usually transferred by either a blood transfusion done prior to 1990, IV drug users, or in a few other ways. Anyone who knows my husband, KNOWS there is no way he would ever use IV drugs! He had never had a blood transfusion either. So how in the world did he get Hepatitis C? The most logical explanation is from his Army tattoo. When Don graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Army and as soon as he and some of his buddies got leave, they headed off to a tattoo parlor to get their US Army tattoos. That was about 1978.

So - here we are 30 years later. Why had we not known about this any time earlier? For one thing, Hep. C does not show up in a normal blood screening until it has done enough damage to your liver to cause the liver enzymes to come back abnormal. It is a relatively symptomless disease and can fester in your body for years before anything is noticed. For some people it can be silent for 10 years and others as long as 30. Drinking alcohol is like gasoline to a flame though and as in our case, if those who have it, know they have it, can take better care of their diet and slow the digression.Our specialist said that there could be an epidemic of people, especially people over 40 who are Hep. C positive. Please, if you had a blood transfusion, ever did IV drugs or had a tattoo prior to 1990, get tested for Hepatitis C.

I will post more about Don's diagnosis, condition, & treatments later...

20 comments:

justabeachkat said...

Julie

Although I've known about it for awhile now and have been praying for you both, I'm so glad you've decided to "talk" about it on your blog. Not only will you have more people praying, but you might have others who can help with suggestions, etc. Wonderful photos...especially love the kissing one...so sweet.

I'm here for you.
Hugs!
Kat

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

I am sorry to hear this, Julie and will pray for Don and you!

A friend's mother has this, same Hep-C...she had a blood transfusion in 1968. It was about 30 years later when the Hep-C was diagnosed. She is now in her 70's. And doing okay.

Beautiful photos!

BailiwickDesigns said...

I will be praying for your husband. I hate it when things come back to haunt us like this!

Love your wedding dress - it's very unusual! All of the photos are so sweet.

xo Jill

Kim - said...

Julie, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to send healing thoughts your way. Don't forget to keep yourself healthy and sane too. Thinking of you.

Vintage Linen Treasures said...

Hi Julie,
Please be sure to keep us up to date on how things are going. I will definitely keep Don and you in my prayers. Thank you for posting about it as it will help raise awareness about Hep C.
Hugs and Prayers,
Patricia :o)

PS: You look the same today as you did in your wedding picture! Beautiful! How'd you do that?

Charmingdesigns said...

Oh Julie. I am so glad you came by to tell me...I am soooo soo sorry to hear about this...Prayers are going out to you and Don right now! Wonderful photos!! Laurie

Ginger said...

Hi Julie:
Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about Don's illness. I know a while back you said there was something going on. Glad you decided to talk about it, like Kat said.
I don't know a whole lot about HepC. But I will sure keep you and Don in my prayers and hope that his condition improves.
I love the photos you shared with us. You two are a good looking couple.
Ginger

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Julie...I'm so sorry you've received such news but glad you guys do know about it so Don can get treatment. He's lucky he has a smart wife! You know you both will be in my prayers. Thanks for sharing this information...I'm sure it will help others.
Susan

vivian said...

I'll be praying for you husband. I have a very dear friend who has been living with hep c for many years. They had her on interferon injections for a long time. I havent talked to her in over a year, but assume she is still on them. I think for the most part she is well enough, but I do know it is a serious disease.
LOVE the pictures of you and your husband on your wedding day and the Kiss in the car! so sweet!
HUGS and prayers!!
vivian

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Julie, sorry to read this. I'll definately keep him and you in my prayers. So what do he do, take meds, is there anything he can do?

SweetAnnee said...

I had no idea it could be silent for so long. Thanks for sharing..and for letting us know
we may need to be tested.

I'll be praying and let us know how
Don is doing..

fondly, Deena

SweetAnnee said...

You guys look so sweet
in both PiCs

fondly, Deena

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Julie,
I haven't been here for a long time. I noticed your comment at Theresa's and thought I'd come over and let you know my thoughts and prayers are with you and Don. I won't make it so long next time... I want to see what the prognosis is for your husband and will keep you in my thoughts.
~Tracie

The Urban Chic said...

Julie, I'm so sad to hear about Don, but will keep him and you in my prayers. They never have tested me for C, but I do have hepatitis B from a blood transfusion. I get my liver blood work done in 2 weeks because of the meds, so I will be sure to ask the doctor about that. Mine was in 1971 the night before my daughter was born and luckily it didn't have time to affect her. Did you ever live with 3 other stewardess in Metairie in the 80s. There were 4 girls and one of them was Julie and you could pass for her twin. Prayers for all of you and I will stay tuned for more news. Love and Hugs, Pat
ps.rest is the best medicine for hepatitis and diet is very important. It took me over 6 months to recover.

pedalpower said...

Goodness Julie, I'm sorry to hear this...but I'm so glad you found out and hopefully the doctors will be able to help Don recover. You are an awesome wife for doing a little sneaking and arranging a complete physical! I'll definitely keep you both in my prayers.

Susan said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for letting us know so we can keep you and Don in our prayers. I hope that he'll be doing OK. Your pictures were so cute and romantic.
Hugs, Susan

PS How are the sheep and your gorgeous horse?

Desperate Diva said...

Hi Julie,
Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm not in the know about this at all. You and your family will be in my prayers for a speedy recovery.
Biggest Hugs,
Dianne

restyled home said...

Julie, I am so sorry to hear of this. I hope they will be able to treat and manage the disease in a way that will enable your husband to live a full, and active life.

You make a beautiful couple...

((Hugs))
Linda

Deb said...

Julie, I am sorry to read about your husband. Thank you for stopping by this morning and letting me know. I will keep your family in my thoughts & prayers. Your photos are wonderful!

LivingTheLife said...

Julie,
I know EXACTLY what you guys are going through and feeling. About 7 years ago my precious husband was diagnosed with Hepatitis C 3-a....YES...there are many, many categories...and his had laid dormant for almost 30 years...when he was 17 his pancreas ruptured due to heridetary pancreatitis...he nearly died and had they not given him several blood transfusions he would have...But b/c at the time there wasn't any testing done on blood nor did anyone in the medical world even know of Hepatitis C existing at that time...all was thought to be ok for him. We found his when he went in for a routine blood test and his liver enzymes were slightly elevated...they said, it could be anything from taking too much advil prior to the test, a glass of wine or two...or nothing...we were all shocked to learn it was b/c of Hep. C. He had the liver bioposy...we waited about 6 months b/c at the time the virus was still dormant but showing anitbodies that proved there was indeed the virus. After 6 months we had further test run and decided to do the interferon drug treatment...which consisted of several pills a day and shots on the weekend. I won't lie to you, it was tough, he lost lots of weight, was very weak at times and had some other side effects such as food not tasting good, dry skin...and all that...but it was the BEST treatment for him at the time...(I've heard they have even better and less intrusive treatments now) He went through treatment for 6 months...we held close to our faith and one another and to this day...he is free of Hep. C...they still run test and the medical society doesn't use the word "healed" too often...but by all intent he is healed...and feeling very good. As crazy as this sounds we both will tell you in was a tough time...but it was also a special time in our marriage...it made us stronger as a couple, it made us rely on our faith more, we finally learned to let others help when we needed it and it brought us to another level in our marriage I would have never thought possible. I don't wish this on anyone...but we look back and know and have seen God's blessings in it all.

I will certainly keep you both in my prayers...pray for wisdom for the doctors and you guys for any decisions you may have to make...and please know I am here to listen or answer any questions in case you need some outside support.

God's continued blessings on both of you...and praise the Lord you had that doctor run more test...it really is an illness that is silent to many.

Blesings...
Teresa