Hepatitis C, unmasking deception!

Re-published:

Thinking how to express my deepest gratitude to God for everything he is allowing my husband and I to experience including all the daily blessings, all of the answered and unanswered prayers that made us to seek and put our confidence in Him.  There are no suitable words that I can write to bring back my thanks to Him for the guidance He is giving for our family, in re-polishing our plans and making it happened, in sustaining us in our monetary needs, our health, for our pregnancy, and surrounding us with people that entrusted their stories of faith in God to us.  People who underwent and shared with us their physical pain and past-aches that made them more closer to God knowing that only by His grace and love can sustain them with strength to combat the agony of physical pain, and filled the void in their hearts.  Their stories encourage us to love Him more.

Almost everyone knows that we just got married, but being newly weds does not mean that we are excused from undergoing situation that is worry free.

Haltom Family_hubbyandwifey

With the permission of my husband, I will unmask some happenings in our lives as
a couple that made our love for God increase deeply,  and commitment with each other and to our marriage salted greatly  . Last September 19, my husband supposed to start his preliminary treatment for the Hepatitis C (I will continue the story).

Months before the schedule, we were advised by his primary care nurse physician that he needs to start the treatment as soon as possible for the reason of viruses in his blood increasing to an above normal level.  This added pressure into our relationship, though my husband became honest about this matter the first day we met still I felt worried thinking how serious it might be and the effects of it towards his health.  Joshua remained calmed outside, but his action in being healthy confirmed that he is taking it seriously but with less worries. It was like a doomsday for us the first time we talked with his doctor who had specialization with Infectious Disease.   The doctor was like dropping a bomb every time she discussed the side effects of the medicines to combat the virus.  Well what will you think if you heard these statements:  “The worse side effects might be, depression and fatigue.  Depression that might lead the patient to think, “his  best friend will kill him or worse he will kill his best friend.  I actually thought of these, “Is she just trying to scare usDoesn’t she have any good news to say?” At first, Joshua was hesitant and not bold enough to share this story not even to our closest friends.  There was a fear of receiving judgement that haunted him.  I fully understood him, it was not something to be proud of nor to flaunt with.  This was a consequence of the sin his flesh had indulged when he was still wondering in the wilderness (which is another story).  But the moment he humbled himself and confessed it during our prayer time with the Church and lifted it to God, we were encouraged.  The deception of satan, the accuser was unmasked. It also helped when we started to educate ourselves on how to be prepared for the treatment.  All of our fears were replaced with right and positive attitude for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.-Romans 8:28.  

For the deeper understanding, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of liver disease, and is the leading indication for liver transplantation worldwide.  Identified in 1989, HCV was originally named post-transfusion non-A non-B hepatitis.  By the time the virus was identified, millions of people had already been infected, many of whom had advanced stages of liver disease.  (Cited: An Essential Guide for Nurses And health Care Professionals by Suzanne Sargent. 2009).

Myths and facts about HCV:

  •  The Myth: Hepatitis C virus can be transferred by using the kitchen utensils of person carrying the virus such as cutlery and crockery specifically cutting instruments, spoon, fork, drinking glasses and plates.  Fact:  Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection and is not transmitted on household items where there is no blood-to-blood contact.  However, items that may be possibly contaminated with blood, particularly razors, nail scissors, and toothbrushes is strictly shouldn’t be shared.   (In our case, Joshua have his own nail cutter and our toothbrush are color coded).
  •   The Myth:  The virus can be transmitted through saliva or semen.   Fact:  As I mentioned earlier,  only through blood-to-blood contact the virus can be spread from the body of virus carrier to other body.  The risk of sexual transmission is low but not zero.  In monogamous relationships, couples should be reassured.   But high risk with multiple sexual partners.  Hepatitis C virus cannot be transferred from casual smooching, hugging, sneezing, coughing, or either food or drink sharing.  (In our case, hepatitis C virus test performed to me during the series of pregnancy laboratory exam found to be negative, PRAISING GOD for it).
  • The Myth:   There is a high percentage of transferring the hepatitis c virus from an infected mother to newly born baby.  Fact: The risk of transmission of infection from HCV- infected mother to newborn is low, particularly in women with low levels of virus.
  •  The Myth:   HCV is transmitted through breast-feeding.  Fact: Breast-feeding is not thought to transmit infection as long there is no bleeding from the nipples of infected mother, and the skin is not cracked.

Part of the preparation we did was the self-awareness and knowing the information needed before using INCIVEK, the treatment Joshua was supposed to have.  According to the brochure and study aid provided to us, INCIVEK is a hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A protease inhibitor indicated, in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in adult patients with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are treatment -naive or who have been previously treated with interferon-based treatment, including prior null responders, partial responders, and relapsers.  Joshua’s doctor suggested this medication because on his first diagnosis, result shown he has Hepatitis C-genotype 1.  The first time it was introduced to us, the doctor didn’t mention the possible negative effects towards pregnancy.

But when we did our own study about it and watched the DVD provided to us it was repeatedly mentioned that Ribavirin may cause birth defects and fetal death in female patients and in female partners of male patients.  This became our main concern, not to mention the other side effects we were about to face once Joshua undergo the treatment.  Both of us needs to team up with God for us to be prepared, not to worries and combat the unforeseen effects of undergoing the treatment.My husband became hesitant towards the treatment.  The first option was to start it after the pregnancy, he wanted to be okay physically and not experiencing fatigue (he was advised that the treatment will be as serious as chemotherapy) once our baby is delivered.  I can only imagine as a novice father how he desire to be strong in attending all the needs of our first born child.We know what to do, to treat the possible spread of the virus but what we were not sure about was if we are making the right decision towards it.  As the doctor mentioned, it depends upon how Joshua’s body will respond to the treatment.  The only thing that we are sure about is God will take care of us, he will take care of my husband body and our future.   Even if we equipped ourselves and yes it helps a lot to know what we are facing still its not enough.  Its not by our might nor to our own power, we don’t know what the future has for us but God knows.  To him we entrusted everything. We eliminated the first option, in our prayer we lifted all of our concerns with a thankful hearts to God. One morning we received a call from the physicians office informing us that Joshua’s doctor transferred to other place and the change was he have a new physician regarding hepatitis C.  They asked him if he still wanted to start the treatment and he agreed.

September 19, the day of the treatment.  Silently, I prayed inside our room and my devotion was the verse in Exodus 14:14 says, The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  Then I shared it with my husband.  We met his new doctor, he informed us that he reviewed the test done to my husband and calmly he mentioned that my husband hepatitis C virus is not genotype 1 but genotype 3.  He also explained that INCIVEK in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin is clinically tested for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C with liver damage only.  In Joshua’s case, the new medicines for genotype 3 will come out on December, 2013 and his liver is doing good. Praise God.

He gave us two optionsFirst to start the treatment using INCIVEK but with lower percentage of cure in the type of genotype he has.  The second option was to wait for the new medicines that just right for the hepatitis C-genotype 3.  It was an impromptu decision,  Joshua looked to me, hold my hand and turned to his doctor and said, “We will wait.  When the doctor left the small room, I asked him, “Are you sure we will wait?”  He firmly said, ” Yes”.  Outside I asked him what was the basis of his decision, and he said,” God said, we shall hold our peace”.   We perceived the illness us one of the ugliest thing that could happen to an individual but God don’t.  In his power, he can turn beautiful things out of the dust.   He can turn beautiful things out of the viruses in my husband’s blood.  We will hold our peace.  We will keep our faith to the healing power in Jesus name, we will lift our hands to praise and give thanks to God for what we have and what we are going to be in his presence to our lives.  Your prayers will help us in this.  

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