HCV Positive

This blog is a journal recording my personal experiences with Hepatitis C.

Location: United Kingdom

I have hepatitis c, genotype 1b and started 48 weeks combination treatment, pegylated interferon alpha 2b and ribavirin in August 05. Unfortunately due to intolerance, treatment was withdrawn after only 2 weeks. I am not sure at present what the future holds.

Monday, March 13, 2006


The sweet smell of incense meanders along on the balmy, early evening air, the exotic fragrance tugging on the senses, the tangled, grey beards of smoke spiralling upwards making the approach of the huge, and surprisingly dozy mosquitos a little more difficult. The mosquitos are so big you can sometimes feel them land sneakily on the back of your arm or leg, these guys don't carry malaria but even so we spray any exposed bit of flesh with an aggressive sounding preparation called 'Off!', 15% DEET, I'm not even reading the label, if I do I may not want to use it any longer, and when these beggers bite, you know about it.

It is mosquito time as I write. I like this time of day not just because cool and offers relief from the intense tropical heat of the day, but because the flowers seem to increase their vibrations in this light and make a final enchanting display before they are hidden for a spell under the cloak of the star spangled nightfall.

I am sat on the verandah of our bungalow which is set back off the beach in a verdant jungle garden. To my left are the vibrant reds and yellows of flowers that I think are called birds of paradise, a fitting name. Coconuts are hanging in rich abundance from the palm trees that surround us in many showy forms of fronds, fans and ferns, alongside fruit trees of mango, papaya and banana, all in jurassic proportions. Soon we'll have twilight when the place begins to buzz and hum as all the night insects come to life. It is lush, the hammock beckons.

I step out each morning and praise God, everywhere I turn I see beauty and I am aware that I am in the presence of the Master Artist Creator, then a couple of gaily coloured butterflies come dancing lightly by just to add the finishing touch, His signature. Glorious, let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

For a while back there I thought I may never feel this way again, alive. I recall sometime in September/October 2005 shortly after the treatment I went to the local park with my mum and my partner , I had no sooner walked away from the car park than I had to sit down weak, shaking and afraid of what was going on, not really getting answers or much in the way of support from the NHS. I was so depressed I began to think I would never recover, I cannot adequately express my joy now to realise that in those dark times, this wonderful experience was waiting for me just a little way in the future.

We flew directly from Bangkok to Samui and hung out for week there to acclimatise with aircon, cable tv and a swimming pool. The journey left me completely frazzled and I needed the week to recover. We spent some time visiting with my partner's younger brother, his wife and 7 year old son who are living there. We stayed in the Big Buddha area of the island, we like to avoid the over-crowded Chaweng with its thumping, techno-mashing clubs and girly bars.

This year though, to our dismay, we found a girly bar had sprung up in our neck of the woods, the aptly named Beaver Bar! Each time we drove past this bar on our motorbike my partner would shout Booh! which made me laugh and didn't effect the slow trade there at all.

When we had thawed sufficiently and were able to survive cold showers and without aircon we made our way to a much quieter spot on the more remote island of Koh Phangan which is where we are now. To get here you must take a ferry and then transfer to your chosen resort by small fishing boat, or, a 45 minute white knuckle jeep ride through virgin jungle along a road that is little more than a crator packed dirt track in parts. To reach this particular spot there is a third way where you can get an old fishing boat that pulls up directly on the beach here leaving you to wade in the final few feet onto the beach with your luggage held above your head, and this is how we arrived.

My partner's other brother and wife are here on this island, the wife teaches yoga, they are living at the opposite side of the small bay to us about a 20 minute walk from our bungalow. They had promised to meet us on the beach when we arrived as I was unsure I would be able to navigate wading and fagging luggage and true to their word they were there waiting. This made our arrival easier and was much appreciated as it was a rough old crossing, I was sick on the boat and it was very, very hot.

We sometimes visit the brother and wife, their bungalow is basic but in a beautiful situation over looking the river with jungle beyond. There is a monkey at the back of their bungalow on the river bank called Kai, he is a young, working monkey, trained to climb the tall coconut trees and collect the coconut. He stays here on a length of chain between to closely spaced trees and his owner Mr Sin has erected a plank between 2 rough, timber supports with a large plastic bucket fixed to one end, giving Kai a variety of platforms for spring from and the bucket offers a place to sleep,

It has been a privilege to pass time and share space with Kai and I am sure he enjoys our company too. Every afternoon Mr Sin's 2 pet dogs come bungling down to the water's edge excitedly wagging their tails and barking as Kai swoops down to tap one of the dogs on the jaw or to twist an ear before swiftly swinging back to the safety of a higher branch. The dogs bark and yelp jumping up to catch our crafty friend, but he is too smart and too fast for them as he takes cheeky swipes at them again and again. They all appear to be having riotous fun, and we the spectators are fabulously entertained.

There is so much more about our time here and island life that I would like to share, the thai people we know like Picum whose husband was shot dead by rival thai mafia, or Charm who we have know since he was a shy 15 year old teenager who is now a 33 year old lady boy running an internet cafe, but this is my hep c blog and I'm paying by the minute for this post!!

I do want to say though that I have been following my herbalists advice and avoiding wheat, yeast, soya, milk and coffee and taking ther herbal medicine she prescribed. It has been quite easy to do here as I've just stuck with the asian diet which doesn't usually include those foods anyway, apart from soya, and luckily I am not a coffee drinker. I have walked up and down the beach a few times daily and amazed myself recently by breaking out into a sprint occasionally! I have lost a few pounds in weight that I possibly gained when I stopped smoking, so its all good news, at long last!

I recieved another bit of good news while I have been here that my project has gotten funding for a further year and there were no redundancies in the end, so that was a relief I still have a job and will be back to work by end of March.

So its good bye for now from the land of sunshine and coconuts.