Sunday, December 22, 2013

Liver Biochemical Function Tests

There are various blood tests used to assess how well your liver is working.

**The Liver (Hepatic) panel includes measurements that indicate liver functions.

The most common are: 
ALT (formerly known as SGPT) And AST (formerly known as SGOT)
    ALT-alanine amino transferase
    AST-aspartate aminotransferase

ALT and AST are enzymes that are released into the blood when the liver is damaged.  They are often elevated in people with HCV infection.  Many people with HCV have mild to moderate elevations of these two enzymes.  This is usually the first indication that one might be infected.

 You may have none, some or all, this varies by individual.

Acute Hepatitis C
  • Flu-like illness
  • fatigue (mild to severe)
  • Fever
  • Night Sweats
  • Loss of Appetite (anorexia)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Abdominal Bloating
ACUTE=severe and serious for a short time
Chronic Hepatitis C
  • Fatigue (mild to severe)
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • Headaches
  • muscle or joint pain
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood Swings
  • Brain Fog
Chronic=going on for a long time or coming back again and again.
Late stage Hepatitis C with Cirrhosis


  • Fatigue (mild to severe)
  • Fever
  • Loss of Appetite (anorexia)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fluid Retention
  • Frequent Urination
  • Jaundice
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Depression
  • Mood Swings
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mental Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Peripheral Vision Problems
This is also called stage 4 Hepatitis C.

So, if you are feeling strange, it is probably from the virus!! At lest, I blame everything on it. 

More knowledge later, time for a nap.

Some HepC Basics you should know

HCV testing is not a routine blood workup, so request to have the test.  It is recommended that you use the same laboratory for all your tests, result ranges and accuracy can vary from lab to lab.

*****Keep copies of all your labs and other tests for further reference**

>>Some basic tests:
HCV (oHepatitis C Virus) Antibody Test: HCV ELISA detects HCV antibodies in your blood.  (I thought Elisa was a person who really got around...duh!!!)

RIBA HCV:  A second antibody test performed after Elisa to confirm the presence of HCV antibodies.

>>>This test is usually performed only in people who test positive by the HCV ELISA but do not have known risk factors for acquiring HCV.

Viral Load Tests:  These tests measure the amount of HCV circulating in the blood.  HCV viral load is expressed as either copies per milliliter of blood or as a standard unit of measurement called "International Units".

>>>>Yawn....boring maybe, but important to understand all of these things.  This is YOUR BODY and YOUR FIGHT. Come armed!>>>>>

Why is the doctor taking 10 vials of blood out of me??????

Viral load tests are used to confirm active HCV infection, to predict medical treatment response, and to measure how well the medications are working against the virus during treatment. 

**An association between viral load and disease progression has not be established.  The viral load tests are good for before, during and after treatment.**

I will go into genotype and liver biochemical function tests later. 

For me, in my foggy state of mind, I can hold on to smaller pieces of the whole, understand them, then add more, later.  If I try to take it all in at once, I become overwhelmed.

A Day

  This year has flown by, the days and nights merging together, becoming one continuous hour. Sun up, sun down, twenty-four hours are one.  It has been very cold in Reno this month, snow and ice cover the ground which make it hard for me to get around.  I walk with a cane and am not very steady, so a slip and fall is in the works and it scares me.  Not fear from falling but fear of breaking a hip and it not healing well.  I do not want to be in the hospital for something so preventable!  Now, I look through my windows and watch the world go by, people in a hurry, driving past with thoughts only of getting to where they are going, fast.  I feel sorry for them, I used to be one of them, not having time to watch the sun peak out behind the mountains, teasing the world with a promise of warmth and light, coming up to meet the clouds in the sky, giving us day.  I listen to the birds that live in my tree outside my bedroom, singing for their partners, telling them where to find the choice worms, saying good morning to each other.  There are two barn owls that also live in the tree, they call out to my cats, teasing them, asking them to come out and play with them while in their minds they think "dinner". 


   At times like these, death leaves me alone, the pain in my body is ignored but then the thoughts of leaving all this beauty behind grabs me again and I become scared, scared of how I will die, what will happen to my son and husband, my cats, what I am going to miss out on, silly thoughts as I won't be here to worry about all that, I won't know what I am missing, I just plain will not be.


   The virus is always with me; I can feel it in my body, attacking, destroying, and laughing at me.  In January 2014, I am due for my six-month blood and ultra sound tests and every six months it is something new to deal with, last time was diabetes, thyroid problems, and fluid retention.  The new medications help some, but with the toxic and fluid issues, not completely.  Lately, I have been swelling more and been more toxic, seeing things not there, hearing things not making sounds.  Now, since I understand what is causing this, I can make fun of it and laugh about it, but when it first started, I was fearful.  I thought I was going crazy, losing my mind and to lose your mind, and know that you are losing it, is horrible.  I felt like it was unfair, why me, why can't I get better? 

    It is so easy to climb into bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep, to escape from the fears, the pain, the loneliness, my bed is covered with cats and warm, furry blankets, its safe, so why not?  Why not, for me, is I am running and when I run from myself, I keep catching me.  It is not healthy for me or for my family.  Life is what it is and I need to accept the plate I have been given.  I also need to share myself with others who are traveling down this same road.  I love to talk with others who are walking this road, it is healthy to connect. 






Thursday, December 5, 2013

HepatitisC-A Personal Journey

     First, what you are personally going through is real.  How people re-act, physically, mentally and spiritually is theirs, they own it.  No one can tell me how I am feeling about what is happening to me, I can say, "I totally understand, am there, been there", but, it still is personal.  Do not let anyone tell you that what you are feeling, or going through is not legitimate.  We each react to different situations on a personal level, what causes me pain, someone else may laugh it off, what makes me sick, may not bother you.  I react differently to medications, there is no secret, hidden reason why, I just do.  I have a low tolerance to medications, and some medications react opposite of how they are suppose to.  It has always been that way and will always be so.  I have been made fun of, told it was all in my head, didn't want to take the medications, so made up how they were working on me.  Not true, not true, not true...this is a fact that is personal to my body.  What you are feeling is real, don't let anyone take that from you.

      Second, you either will go through and are going through or have come to peace with the sentence, "You are infected with the Hepatitis C virus."  Fear, anger, confusion, why me, why not me, I deserve this, I do not deserve this, I am really scared, I am really depressed, all the emotions one goes through in the grieving process.  And, yes, we are grieving, we are losing control over our bodies, our futures.  Being infected is also lonely, all of a sudden, people are afraid of you, they, because of a lack of good public information, worry about catching the virus from you, they begin backing away from you.  Good friends, whom I chatted with daily, are pulling away.  People tend to do that, maybe not consciously, but they back away from the unknown, from sickness, from death, not knowing how to deal with it or because of their own fears.  Most of them do not mean to do this, it just is.  I hope that you who are reading this, have someone who remains by your side, you really need people now.

     The chronic fatigue, for me, is one of the worst sides of the virus.  It becomes a work to breathe, to move around, I become confused and loose my thoughts, I hate this feeling.  I am becoming that way now, so, will have to stop, sleep and get up and go on.  

     My goal with this blog is outreach.  To help educate, to provide human support, to walk along side of you.  I have a lot of great sites that provide information and support, those I will share with you.  I will also post a on-going blog, telling you how it is for me, being real.  That is what I really needed and couldn't get.

     I hope you will join me, will get support and friendship from this blog.  Any comments or idea's or wanted information, please drop me a line and I will provide what I have.  In the up-coming time, here, I will be posting links.

     Hold on tight, if we join hands and lean on each other, we can be a positive force in this fight.  We are slaying dragons and my pray for each one of us and all the newly infected, is for a cure.

     One(1) person in every Twelve(12) is infected with this virus, the "silent killer".  It takes thirty to forty(30 to 40) years of hiding in your liver(for most people), doing it's destruction before you will see symptoms and by that time, usually the liver has been damaged. 

     Ask everyone you know to get tested, to stop spreading the virus,to become educated, and to share their knowledge with everyone. There are a lot of information and misinformation out there, read it all with an open mind, then ask questions to your doctor team, support groups, people you trust.  No one knows everything and there are new things coming up, so stay tuned with an open mind.

     Walk with me, together we will be stronger and can defeat this virus.  And remember, laughter and positive attitudes can heal your mental issues, one is alone, two together strengthens and three or more slays.  And finally, my friends, learn the art of listening.  Two ears we have been given and only one mouth, put the ears and heart to the message given, you can not fix anyone with your opinions or thoughts, they just need to have you really listen.