Hepatitis C & Lithium - Options
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Q:    Hepatitis C & Lithium - Options

I was diagnosed January,2001 with Hepatitis C. I have mourned the loss of 'knowing how healthy I was'. I have since met and befriended a man with end-stage cirrhosis that turner cancerous 8/2001 and died,1/2002. I was diagnosed bi-polar in the spring of 92, after months of experimenting on me with different drugs, I was obnoxiously crude,rude,and abrupt about the young Dr.s attitude and education......little did I know. I self medicated ....went thru a horrendous pregancy, went to a pms clinic and got on natural progesterone suppositories and was REALLY NORMAL, untill my 16 yr old daughter turned up pregnant 2/95. Husband demanded she abort or we'd divorce. We chose adoption(my daughter and I).Then we flooded 4/95, literally, we lived in bottom ground. Went thru with the adoption11/95. Daughter moved out because step father was cold to her12/96. The night she and I decided she was moving back home, she was killed by a drunk driver7/96. My husbands girl friend called and asked me to ask him to quit comming by for his quick fixes8/96. He began regular heavy drinking and became progressively more abusive emotionaly, later phisicaly. My then 3 and 6 year old were never allowed to speak of my daughter, as if she never existed for 17 years. My father died10/97,and husband got physical,911, and he was arrested, restraining order filed, while he burned my dead daughters posessions in the yard as soon as he got out of jail. Divorce filed that day.My life has been tragedy after tragdy, but I am a survivor because I was not raised to be a victim.......

many woeful things have happened since, but in order to recieve treatment for hepatitis C.....I have to see a phsch.

well, I start lithium tomorrow.

The side effects of the HCV treatment causes severe mood 'episodes' and my doctor believes I am too stressed to not be in the care of a mental health professional......

I am so against this....BUT HAVE NO CHOICE! The side effects of lithium make me
just as weary and leary.

Isnt there a more natural approach?

I've never been hospitalized.

I have a major problem sleeping!

3 hours a night. havent had an alarm clock in.....since filing for divorce.I am
exhausted and sleep doesnt come.  I agree I am bi-polar to a degree, and need treatment prior to 58 weeks on Ribavirvin....or what ever it is, and interferon....... but I think lithium is the wrong course, I am not unable to function, isn't there something less dangerous?

Dear Ms. C' -- 
Oh what a terrible series of events you describe.  You are ready for something less likely to make your life difficult, surely.  Sounds like lithium and you are not getting on too good so far.  However, your situation is extremely complicated -- not just from the point of view of your story, but even just as regards the treatment options for your bipolar disorder.  The Hep C makes lots of the usual options trickier, so moving away from lithium is less easy to consider in your case than for many folks.  However, there are some options, so make sure you tell the doc' how the lithium is making you feel, so she/he can help you look at these options.  At the same time, it sounds like you're making some headway trying to accept the fact that you have bipolar disorder.  At least that's a treatable problem, compared to many you've faced.  Try hard to work on that acceptance part, because it will make the doc's job harder if she/he has to help you with that part and the med's too.  Is there a way for you to get hooked up with a therapist as well as the doc'?  There's a lot a therapist might be able to help you with, I would think, given your history.  Hope things start going a little smoother for you. 

Dr. Phelps


Published May, 2002 

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