One Hard Core CURE
One Hard Core CURE
by Johnny Delirious
They took the core sample out and immediately sent it to the laboratory for further testing with a more detailed examination. This was not a geological survey looking for evidence of crude oil in the region or an ice core sample to study the atmospheric content changes over hundreds of years, this core sample was from my liver!
My name is Johnny Delirious and I authorized the Doctor who was head of gastroenterology at the University Hospital to perform my liver biopsy. My reasoning: “a closer look was in order.” When the laboratory submitted their findings, the reality of my liver condition was 96% scar tissue. That meant that my body was operating and surviving on only 4% liver tissue. No wonder I was tired all the time and I did not have an appetite. A yellow death camp prisoner vision was all I was.
The doctor, her assistant and I reviewed the lab report together and the assistant told me I would be lucky to be alive in 8 months. The Doctor said she did not know how I am surviving right now with only 4% liver function. They both said I had 8 months to live and that I better get on the liver transplant list right away. They recommended interferon and some other drugs; what they referred to as “the cocktail”. The cost was astronomical! I had no insurance.
For me their recommendations were equally as grim as the prognosis itself. I asked them to please give me the research material that supported the “drug cocktail” and the liver transplant. They looked at each other and sort of hesitated; then I said, “Well this is the University Medical Center, right”, they said, “yes”, well I want to read all the research you can provide about these two courses of action.” I believe they were stunned that I would question their recommendations; however I was polite but firm and determined to read up on anything that supports this particular treatment therapy.
A week or so later, after I went to several other doctors seeking different opinions but they all gave me the same conclusions, I came back by to pick up some stacks of copied material with fliers all about Hepatitis C, liver transplants and interferon combination drug cocktails. I read everything; dove in and studied the reference material with the vigor of a wild hungry dog finally getting his long awaited meal. The doctor told me to return in a week so we could get started.
What I found in the research was not very encouraging. The cost of drug therapy treatment was outrageously high and it could last up to 6 to 10 months and the side effects are “likened to the flu on the better days.” Wow, what is it like on the not so good days? This was my big question about the drug therapy. Shoot, I already felt bad and I certainly did not want to feel worst.
The liver transplant information and statistics were even more grim; at best most liver transplant recipients only lived four or five years, if their body does not reject the new organ. There were a few cases that lived 6 or more years, but none made it passed 7 years.
There is also a regiment of several anti-rejection drugs and regular clinical monitoring during this period. Gosh, all that plus the three drug cocktail combination on the best days I would feel like I had the flu?
I do not have to say what you already know; the cost of this treatment and transplant is way out of sight; more than a $500,000. After reading all of this I felt that it was the wrong way to go. Check that, I thought it was totally ridiculous and jokingly I thought “I would be better off going to see Dr. Mingela”.
When I returned to the Gastroenterology Center or the GE as they called it, I met with the treatment team; that was my doctor, her assistant and an intern. As soon as I walked in they started talking right away telling me things like: “Well you have the most common blood type O+, and so the wait for a liver with that blood type is much longer it could be about 10 or 12 months since there are so many recipients like you. Of course y