This week’s book excerpt features more from Preparing for Treatment – Chapter 2 of Hepatitis C Treatment One Step at a Time – Inspiration and Practical Tips for Successful Treatment.
PREPARE YOUR BODY
I teach you to preserve your health so that you will succeed better in proportion as you avoid doctors. ~Leonardo da Vinci
Your body will be the vessel that bears the majority of side effects. Aim for getting your body in top form before you begin and then do your best to maintain this level of health. If you don’t have much time before starting hepatitis C treatment, you can implement changes in the early stages.
Here are some important considerations to maximize your health and hepatitis C treatment experience:
- Rule out pregnancy for you or your partner prior to starting hepatitis C medications, and have a birth control plan. During treatment and for six months after completion, use two forms of contraception between you and your partner, unless pregnancy is not possible. (Hepatitis C medications may cause fetal abnormalities or death, so be sure to read the warning that accompanies these drugs.)
- Make sure you have all pretreatment lab tests, including viral load and genotype tests.
- Be sure you are up-to-date on your immunizations, including hepatitis A and B, flu, and tetanus. Your medical provider may also recommend shingles and pneumonia vaccinations. It is okay to get these during treatment if that is the earliest you can do at this time.
- Since hepatitis C medications may cause eye-related side effects, have a baseline ophthalmic exam before you start treatment.
- If you are planning to have any elective medical or dental procedures, try to schedule these prior to or early in treatment.
- Because hepatitis C treatment may lower the “feel good” hormones in the brain, some medical providers recommend using antidepressant medication during hepatitis C treatment. See if your provider wants you to start antidepressants before you take the hepatitis C drugs or to wait and see if you need them. If you are already taking antidepressants, your medical provider may suggest modifying your current medications.
- Avoid alcohol and other chemical substances before, during, and after hepatitis C treatment.
- Make regular physical activity a habit. Walking, swimming, bicycling, dancing, weight training, stretching, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, gardening, and playing with children or a dog are some good choices since you can do these throughout treatment. Regular physical activity can be done in short intervals throughout the day.