In the last year a great deal has changed for patients with Hep C. Multiple treatment options with minimal symptoms which take half as long or even less, a renewed focus on testing, and a healthcare overhaul have all been at the forefront.
We're also seeing a trend of high cost medication, with a round of treatment costing twice as much as the poverty rate for a family of four.
Medicaid clamped down to only approve the sickest of patients, many states requiring permanent liver damage before treatment can be an option.
States will begin to get better pricing when election season is done, but depending upon how the TPP goes, it could be better or worse.
Private insurers have similar policies, taking advantage of the discounts offered to patients and often denying coverage.
Cure rates for most treatments remain 90+% and more treatments which use Protease and Polymerase inhibitors are on their way. (Protease and Polymerase are two different approaches in destroying the virus, they combine to be far more effective than alone/with Ribavirin)
So what happens when you're not part of the 90+%?
When you've spent years of your life becoming familiar with health insurance, FDA studies, and in hospitals/clinics. When you grow up memorizing hallways, bizarre wallpaper, medical pamphlets and illustrated guides, all of this seems pretty normal.
I've pressed on past each failure, and usually each time they've found a more specific reason why it didn't work.
I have failed five different treatments, and recently I found out why.
I have three mutations which combine to prevent protease inhibitors from working properly.
Originally I was under the impression that I had the q80k polymorphism (it's a weird mutation that can prevent protease inhibitors from working without a combo of meds) which was an accurate assumption until better tests were able to pinpoint why Harvoni did not work.
While failing one protease inhibitor does not mean another may fail, it does reduce the chance of success significantly.
The combination of mutations I have prevents Ledipasvir (the protease part of Harvoni) and most NS3/4a inhibitors from working as intended.
NS3/4a inhibitors = protease inhibitors= Olysio/Simeprevir, Daclatasvir, Ledipasvir, etc...
So what happens now?
Nothing. Now that I know which drugs I cannot take, it means searching the web for any potential studies which are for Treatment experienced, f4 decompensated patients who cannot take protease inhibitors.
Why I say nothing, is because that's presently what I've found. I'm certain that at some point they'll find a new way to attack the virus but until then my life waits.
I'm uncertain how long I'll live. Depending on my luck, I could have a few years still until transplant.
Transplant is an extension, the likelihood that my liver will decompensate within a year is about 50%, as I will re-infect it. I could push a few more years past that, but it's hard to say.
To say that this isn't depressing would be absurd.
When a chilling reality like this hits i accept it, i embrace it, i understand it, and i forget it.
I accept that my health outlook is grim and will ultimately defeat me.
I embrace the problem and refuse to define myself by it.
I understand the precautions and limitations I face are guidelines, not rules (but seriously though, some are still rules).
I forget it, because the focus isn't on it, my focus is on me.
To move forward i must turn inward and find small bits of motivation to get me moving.
An object in motion will stay in motion.