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Author Topic: Caregiver asks for your advice!  (Read 25992 times)

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Offline bella

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Caregiver asks for your advice!
« on: February 01, 2012, 05:17:12 pm »
I am the primary (and only) caregiver for my hubby who is in week seven of his 25 week treatment for Hep C.  He is getting PEG-Intron shots once a week, as well as the Ribavirin pills every day.  Unfortunately, he has all the classic side effects and then some.  I am trying to be as supportive as possible, but am not sure what to suggest that might help him.  If you have suggestions on how to deal with aches, itching, nausea, and depression, I would love to hear from you about what has worked for you or your loved ones!  Thank you!

Offline Ann

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 08:36:00 am »
Hi Bella, welcome to the forums.

Paracetamol and/or ibuprofen should help with the aches. If he takes both, he should alternate them - being careful to not exceed the recommended daily intake of paracetamol. As with anything, he should check with his doctor first.

If he is experiencing aching joints, he should talk to his doctor about trying a med from the NSAID category as these will sometimes help.

The itching is probably being caused by dry skin - I had that while on treatment. Keeping well hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day will help. A moisturiser will also help. It may take some experimenting to find one that works well. Using a moisturising body wash will also help and he should be sure to use moisturiser on any affected area after every bath or shower, and reapply as needed through the day. 

There are various things he can try to alleviate the nausea. Sniffing lemons helps some people. Also try peppermint tea and many people have great success with ginger. If none of these things help him, he should speak to his doctor about trying an anti-nausea med.

The depression can be more difficult to treat. If his depression is severe, he needs to speak to his doctor about trying an antidepressant. Many (if not most) people on hcv treatment need to use antidepressants and most can discontinue them after the treatment is finished.

Keeping his mind busy with other things may help as well. I coped with mine by keeping in mind that the treatment wasn't going to last forever. It may be tempting to try to convince him to get out and do things, but this can be extremely frustrating when you feel like hell and your partner is always pushing you to do stuff that you just aren't up to doing.

Your hubby should be seeing his doctor regularly and he should not hesitate to bring up any and all side-effects he is experiencing, no matter how trivial they might seem. Side effects are not a sign of weakness. He is taking some very powerful drugs and the side effects come with the territory. His doctor should be able to help him with his side effects, particularly the aching, nausea and depression.

Good luck. If you have further questions or want more detail, please do not hesitate to ask.

Hugs,
Ann
xxx

Offline bella

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 07:57:18 pm »
Ann - Thank you so much for your reply!  My husband has had a rough week, but after 2 days off from work, he was feeling well enough to talk about taking some pro-active steps to avoid some of the side effects.  He wants to continue to work as much as he possibly can even though he has been approved for FMLA leave.   Darn this economy - he would be so much better if he could take time off to recover from the shots each week without worrying about being forced out of his job after 30+ years of service.

He is going to try taking ibuprofen before he takes his shot tonight.  He has been using moisturizing body wash and lotion for a few weeks now and you are right - it did help some! But since he is still itchy, his doctor suggested trying benadryl.  So he is going to try some and see if they help at all. He was also prescribed something for the nausea - hooray!  He has lost a LOT of weight due to all the stomach problems - so the pharmacist suggested getting him some Ensure or Boost and he is trying those.  He is also actively trying to eat more regular, small meals on his "good" days and just that could help with some of the nausea!

I'll post back if any of these ideas work for my hubby!  (Just a quick and obvious note to other readers: I am not a medical professional or qualified to advise anyone on what treatments they should choose.  Before you try any of the treatments described in my post, please check with your own doctor.)

All my best - Bella 

Offline bella

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2012, 08:15:18 pm »
Hello friends -

My hubby is feeling some better!  The night he got his last PEG-Intron shot, I had him take two tylenol first, and also a benadryl.  A couple of hours later he was asleep!  He slept most of the night for a change, and still had a slightly better "morning after" than usual. He wasn't eating too well during the following two days though and said he was having trouble with heartburn.  The tylenol did help him a lot with the achiness, and the benadryl made him sleepy and less itchy.

By Monday his bronchitis was threatening to return!  So I knew he needed more rest and food!  I picked up the anti-nausea prescription - and discovered after talking to the pharmacist that it does not do anything for heartburn!  I was glad I consulted him though because he was able to recommend an over the counter heartburn remedy that would not create problems with hubby's other prescriptions.  :)  We tried the anti-nausea and heartburn meds last night and they worked!!!

I am finally feeling optimistic that hubby will make it through this treatment.  At least we can manage some of the side effects.  We're one third of the way done now!

If you are going through treatment or considering it, keep talking to doctors and trying things to manage the side effects.  It is so worth it for us.  As always, I must post my little disclaimer, because I never want anyone to be hurt by my posts:  Just a quick and obvious note to other readers - I am not a medical professional or qualified to advise anyone on what treatments they should choose.  Before you try any of the treatments described in my post, please check with your own doctor.

All my best -

Bella

Offline frankfromatlanta

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2012, 09:41:34 am »
Glad to hear things are going well with your hubby.

And thanks for sharing your tips that worked! Very helpful.

Offline Monkey

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2012, 11:19:06 am »
Yes, Bella, I am in week 2 of my treatments.  I have a blog going in this forum under Cathy Johnson.................

My doctor told me if there was depression issues, they would prescribe a moderate pill to help............

I have some of the symptoms like hair trigger temper and flu like symptoms but, they aren't too too bad yet...................

Offline bella

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  • Posts: 12
Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 07:51:21 pm »
Great News!!!  Hubby had his viral load tested last week and no dectable level of virus was found!!!  All that pain has been worth it!  We aren't quite to the halfway point yet, but this news gave us quite a boost!

I just wanted to share and wish you all the same success!

Bella

Offline spider

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  • Keep On Keeping On,.....Pay It Forward !!!
Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 07:16:27 pm »


Welcome Bella;

        I, went thru my Treatment  (48-Weeks)  of Peg-Interfuron
and Ribavirin 2008 thru 2009 and it was Reccommened to me that
if, you work at a job, you should take your shots on Fridays after work
so that you can Spend the weekend Recovering, Sleeping, Etc

It, was also reccommended to Drink Plenty of water,water, water !
The depression for some people can be handled with "Ant-Depression Drugs"
Consult your Husbands Doctor of Coarse.   The Mood Swings, Brain Fog Etc are
all Side-Effects !  Remember, these, are all suggestions, I, am not a doctor !
All the suggestions, were given to me by others that were in Treatment !

There is also a suggested "Diet" he can follow, to "Feed"  his liver, put out by The
American Liver Foundation, which tells him what to Eat and what not to Eat !
(Go To -->(  www.americanliverfoundation.com  )

Keep On Keeping On,

spider
Treated for Hep-C for 48-weeks
March 2008 - March 2009
" SVR "  Acheived on August 2009
Peg-Interfuron/Ribavirin
Neupogen-1 and Procrit
Genotype - 1b
Start 167,000,000
End Less than 50= Non- Detectable !

Offline bella

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 08:03:00 pm »
Wow! Spider, thanks for letting us know about the diet - we will check it out!  Hubby has been taking paxil for the depression and it seems to have helped him.  We do check everything through his doctor, since neither one of us is in the medical field either.  We do his shots on Friday nights, but last week it was still Wednesday before he could go back to work, poor guy.  We found that eating yogurt alleviated some of his "digestive" issues, and his doctor recommended a homeopathic peppermint remedy too.

Thanks again for the info - we are most grateful for tips and encouragement!!!

Bella

Offline spider

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  • Keep On Keeping On,.....Pay It Forward !!!
Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 11:09:55 am »

Hi Bella;

     Thanks for your Response !!    :)

  Just "Giving Back"  (Paying It Forward)  what was Unconditonally
  Shared with me !!   It is nice to have People out Here who can, ( A Little Help-
  --Our Friends ) make this Life a Little Easier, for those of us Heppers, who
   Need the Help !!!   I, allways " Remind Myself "  that there are Others who are
   Allways Worse off than others !


   spider 
Treated for Hep-C for 48-weeks
March 2008 - March 2009
" SVR "  Acheived on August 2009
Peg-Interfuron/Ribavirin
Neupogen-1 and Procrit
Genotype - 1b
Start 167,000,000
End Less than 50= Non- Detectable !

Offline Ann

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  • Posts: 54
Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 11:17:13 am »
Hi Bella, sorry I haven't been around much lately. I didn't have my notifications correctly set up! (Fixed now, I hope!)

It's good to hear your hubby is finding ways to cope with the side-effects. And I know how much that first undetectable result means to you both - what a wonderful feeling and it certainly does a lot for moral. I'm really happy for you!

Hang in there and try to not worry too much about his having to miss a few days of work some weeks. He'll be able to work his socks off again once he's beaten this thing, so keep looking forward. It will be worth it in the end.

Hugs,
Ann
xxx

Offline bella

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  • Posts: 12
Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 10:34:34 pm »
Hi Spider - I just read the synopsis at the end of your email - and congrats to you on your successful treatment!!!  We love hearing about positive results!  Wow - 48 weeks...I admire you for seeing it through! 

Ann - you are so right about how much that first test result meant to us!  We are almost halfway through the 25 treatments, and I am telling myself that we're on the downhill slide.  It is hard though...I am exhausted from doing basically everything and still working full time at a very stressful job.  So I very much appreciate the encouragement!

I heard from someone at work today that our health screen showed she had elevated liver enzymes.  So I encouraged her to be sure and find the cause - not to let it slide.  Of course she is scared, but I was able to pass on some of the encouragement I've received here, and if it turns out she is a hepper too (lol, pun intended) I'll let her know about this site.

Thanks for writing, Spider and Ann!

All my best -

Bella


Offline Ann

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Re: Caregiver asks for your advice!
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 12:17:05 pm »
Bella, you're right to encourage your workmate to investigate possible causes for her elevated enzymes. That's how hep C awareness spreads - word of mouth, one person at a time! Remember that old commercial - if you tell two friends, and they tell two friends.... It really does help get the message out there.

Keep on keeping on! Before you know it, this will all be just a memory and you'll both be stronger for it. Hang in there!

Ann

 


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