My husband and I were both diagnosed with Hep C a little over 10 years ago. He had Genotype 2b and I have Genotype 1a. We both had liver biopsies done, and it turned out that he had suffered more damage to his liver than me. For that reason, his doctor (we had different insurance so different doctors) put him on treatment (tx) with Interferon (this was b4 PegIntron) and Ribavarin for supposedly 6 months. He had to have an Interferon injection (which I gave him in his thighs) once a week. He had to work during tx and told his boss what was going on. (He would never have been able to hide it due to all the side effects he experienced!)
Because my liver had suffered minimal damage, my doctor said I didn't have to go on tx at that time. Thank goodness because my hubby needed me to be there for him! Anyway, I joined a support group on WebMD for Hep C peeps. It was a tremendous help because we often know more than the doctors about our own bodies and about the tx and side effects.
After 4 months of migraines, severe depression, vision problems (which his eyes have never recovered from, his boss told him he would have to let him go if he continued tx. (I was terrified because I wanted him to follow thru with the entire 6 months because I was afraid of losing him to the disease! My hubby immediately quit tx and w/in a week or 2 felt oh so much better. When they did a blood test, it turned out negative for Hep C!!! Praise God!!!
He was tested once or twice a year for several years after that and continued to test negative for Hep C!!!
Now I have heard of people having the virus come back after a number of years following tx, and my hubby hasn't been tested lately because he has no insurance at this time. The doctors don't like to say a person is "cured" because they don't know for certain and won't know until more years have passed and they see people who remain cured for a long time.
I had one doctor advise me to begin tx several years ago because my viral load had gone up significantly. (I go to a gastrointestinal doctor once a year to have my blood tested and have a sonogram of my liver.). I refused tx because I had seen my husband suffer so badly AND because I wanted to have another liver biopsy to see if my liver had gotten any worse. 11 years after my first biopsy, my doctor did another and said it is slightly worse, but not that bad. He gave me a choice as to whether or not to go on tx, and I did not.
My doctor went to a seminar in Europe they have each year to discuss Hep C and the tx for Hep C. He says that they hope to have a new drug (I think to add to the PegIntron and Ribavarin) that makes the odds of tx successful much more likely. He also said I may be able to take the PegIntron orally instead of as an injection. And he said nowadays they test you every couple of months to see if you can stop tx early (either because it has already worked OR because it is not working.
I apologize for being so long winded, but it's hard to keep this short.
I will be seeing my gastroenterologist in several months to have blood test and sonogram of my liver. I will post anything I learn at that time.
Good luck to you all, and one more thing I'd like to say... I learned in my support group and from my gastro doctors that NOT everyone has a hard time on tx or suffers all the bad side effects. You just don't usually hear from people who are not having problems. That makes sense to me. I know a couple of people myself who went through tx without terrible problems.
Annie