I went through real hardships,” says Tito, a member of the Hepatitis C Patient Platform in Salamanca, as he recalls the disease. In 2011, he had an accident at work and was forced to undergo surgery. During the preoperative period of the intervention, a series of tests had to be performed, and this is where the news came in: he had antibodies to hepatitis C.
“It was a stick for me on the way to the operating room because the internist arrived and asked me when he was moving the bed out of the room when the hepatitis C had passed. I told him never, and that’s when he told me the test detected antibodies to the disease. I didn’t know how to react and walked into the operating room with the anxiety of the news,” he explained on a walk downtown. One died from cirrhosis of the liver. I put myself in the worst possible situation“.
He remembers being still “scared” when he left the operating room. He immediately told his wife and children. They were all tested, as was their mother and brother, but luckily none were infected. “I was relieved by the news because I still didn’t have enough information to know that it was only spread through blood,” he recalls.
Due to the lack of knowledge about the disease, he went to the doctor’s office one day and asked how long he had left to live. “He looked at me like he was saying, but what did you say? At that point, the only thing I knew was that this is a really bad disease and it’s going to kill you eventually because that’s what I heard. I Wondering how I could get infected but I didn’t, that’s when the doctor explained to me that it’s not like that, the vast majority of people who have been infected with this type of hepatitis have this type of hepatitis. In the National Health do this in the system”.
With time and information, he realizes that all is not as it is said. They started monitoring him and proposed a treatment regimen based on interferon and ribavirin. “They explained to me that there was only a 50% chance of a cure and it was going to be hard. I wanted to end it all, I accepted it, and I didn’t think much of it. At that point, I didn’t know what I was going to experience in the next few months.
Tito says he went ‘crazily’ for treatment because he wanted to end the disease. “I remember arriving at the pharmacy and the first thing they told me before giving me the medicine was that I had to be interviewed by a psychologist. I talked to her and when I was done I didn’t want this treatment anymore , because it did more harm than good. But hey, in the end I moved on.
Treatment begins and lasts six months. The first three people didn’t notice anything, and the subsequent results have already appeared. In the first analysis, the results showed that hepatitis C had become undetectable. “The doctor told me that it was unbelievable to have given me such a result in the first surgery.” Since I was doing well, they continued the treatment, but then the side effects started to appear. “I started seeing really weird things, I didn’t feel sick, but it was all in my head: I heard voices, I saw things…it was a real test,” he continued recalling road.
With three months left to complete his treatment, he decided to ignore these effects and continue with treatment. “I knew I was recovering and I made it to the end, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it.”
He finished the treatment, he counted, but the effects continued. They appeared for another 8 months: I was in good shape, but when I was silent, noises, images, seeing things that weren’t there, hearing things… these are things I don’t want to happen to anyone things. I even told the doctor in a consultation that they shouldn’t be giving this to anyone.
He recalls that when they told me about it, the medical professionals “blamed me” for not telling me in the first place because that would have interrupted treatment. For Tito, the word that best describes those months is “desperate” because they were “horrible months for him”.
This phase of Tito’s life changed his character. “I need my alone time, I love the silence, but now I hate it. I want and need noise. Ending treatment for hepatitis C has changed the way I live”.
There are now other treatments that work well enough to eradicate the disease with few if any side effects, which are common, such as colds or headaches, which are a “relief” for him.
Twelve years after what happened, everything is fine with Tito. “One morning I woke up and fell asleep without hearing any noise. I listened to them during the day or at certain times until they completely disappeared. However, it was a very difficult phase that marked his life and Made him who he is today.