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This Is My Story and How I Got To Be Here

| 8 Comments
My name is Margaret Dudley, I am 61 years old and live in the great city of San Antonio, Texas. I have a wonderful, supportive husband and we have three daughters and six beautiful grandchildren.

Remember when cosmetic tattoos were first becoming popular? Permanent lip liner and eyebrows were all the rage. Many of my girlfriends and I had these procedures done and the results were great. It was nothing extreme... just a little subtle enhancement. We are 'baby boomers' and quite honestly not ready to look like our mothers. I looked and felt great...for a while.

I had not felt well in the years following my cosmetic "tattooing" procedure, and my doctors attributed my many symptoms to just getting older and said it was likely the onset of menopause.

I was really exhausted and fatigued all the time, and was often nauseated and bloated. I began to experience other stomach problems as well as crippling back pain. The worst of it was an awful four-year long ordeal with skin problems on the palms of both hands... severe cracks, bleeding, and extreme itching. I became very depressed as doctors continued to misdiagnose my symptoms for eleven years.

One day, a proverbial light came on and I told my doctor about a lady who had this procedure done at the same place that my friends and I did and she was diagnosed with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) after she donated blood. My doctor immediately ran the test and the very next day (September 9th, 2011) I received the devastating news that I, too, was infected with this disease.
I immediately began researching and learning everything I could about the disease, trying to learn what was in store for me, what treatment was available, and most importantly, if there was a CURE!

Then I found the best news...

I learned there was indeed a cure for this awful virus that was now growing rampantly in my body. This cure consisted of two drugs, GS-7977 (now called sofosbuvir) and daclatasvir. When combined in Phase II trials this combination cured 100% of the most prevalent type of Hepatitis C without the need for ribavirin or interferon!

And this treatment had minimal or no side effects!

The two drugs with this amazing success rate are owned by Gilead Sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb. I was actually scheduled to be in this very trial which was being conducted by my hepatologist and leading HCV researcher, Dr. Eric Lawitz who heads Alamo Medical Research Center here in San Antonio; but due to a delay in my liver biopsy I missed the trial by mere weeks. Dr. Lawitz assured me once the results were released in April 2012 the two drug companies who owned these two successful and miraculous drugs would enter immediately into Phase III trials and this life-saving combo would soon be available for me and the countless millions of others who are suffering and dying with this disease.

margaret_dudley_weddingThere were many news articles on Hep and other media outlets discussing the progress and amazing success of these trials. My family and I were so confident that these Phase III trials would soon be underway. My youngest daughter even postponed her wedding by six months knowing by then I would be cured. ( My daughter Kim was married this past September 29th)

Then all of a sudden it was abruptly announced by Gilead Sciences that there would be no Phase III trials, with no conceivable or plausible explanation as to why! This felt even more devastating than my initial diagnosis, if that is possible!

Seeing that my life and millions of others now hang in the balance, I launched a petition at Change.org urging Gilead Sciences to make this life-saving medication available for the millions of HCV sufferers as well as for myself. Although it feels much like a David vs. Goliath battle trying to get Gilead Sciences to reconsider their position I have now become an advocate for this cause and have formed a grassroots effort, HCV Coalition for The Cure. I want to bring the nation's attention to this dire situation.

I have heard thousands of heartbreaking stories from people who need this cure and they need it NOW! I am asking you to sign this petition because everyone is affected by Hepatitis C, either fighting it, or knows a family or friend who is.

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." -Ryunosuke Satoro

So your signature could be the drop that creates this ocean! And it may be the very one needed to get this cure for millions.

Sincerely,
Margaret Dudley
Genotype 3a, Stage 2, Grade 3
Diagnosed September 2011
www.HepC-Cured.org

8 Comments

Margaret is a strong, spirited & beautiful woman that so many people are grateful for. She has been fighting so hard for this CURE. Please Gilead Sciences, find your heart and save all these people from Hepatitis C. Do the right thing!!

There are thousands of people living with hemophilia who are infected with Hep-C for mote than 30 years. Many of them are infected with more than one genotype. They need a treatment as soon as possible !

I AM A 72 YR OLD MALE I HAVE HEPC FOR OVER 50YRS..BELIEVE I GOT IN WHILE IN THE MARINES FROM A TATTOO..NEVER DID A DRUG IN MY LIFE..DEC5 2012 STARTED CLINIC TRIALS..MY COUNT WAS 750,000..6 RIBAVIRIN PLUS 1 SOFOSBUVIR..GS5885 DAILY...10 DAYS LATER MY COUNT WAS 29...4 WEEKS LATER..NON-DETECTABLE....ONLY SIDE EFFECT MY HEBOLGIN DROPPED 6PTS..SOME PROBLEMS WITH SHORTNESS OF BREATH..THAT WAS IT...THERE IS HOPE FOR OTHERS..DONT GIVE UP...TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH AND ASK QUESTIONS AND CHECK EVERTHING..LOTS OF LUCK TO EVERYONE

Wonderful article Margaret!!!

i have been on triple therapy treatment for 6 weeks and doing well. I fouund out I had Hep c by donating blood. I didn't have any symptoms and all the doctors kept saying it was a miss diagnosis.They could not even genotype me until they finally sent my blood to California. I am not a drug user,no multiple sex partners, no tatoos but I have had several surgeries over my 52 years of life beginning with the first one when I was 2 for tonsils, then appendix in 1980, c-section in 1989, oral surgery 1992(denetal deep cleaning),back surgery 1994, c-section, 1997,hystroctomy, 2006, Gallbladder, 2009. My Liver biopsy showed no signs of damage but they wanted me to do the treatment anyway. So my second blood test 4 weeks in showed my viral load had not dropped so they told me I had to stop immediately and wait until someting better came out. that was it. Now all the poeple who had been talking to be and being very supportive with the program ae not talking to me at all. I can't get any answers are what to do next. Is there an alternative treatment or do I just live with it. Did the 6 week of triple therapy drugs do me more harm than good? I am scared to death I wish they had done at least another blood test since I actually had two more weeks of meds in my body before they called me in to call off treatment. I have went through this entire weekend and not one represenative will call me back when before they would resposd to any question I had pronto. They made me feel like they cared and now they don't. Where do I go from here?

Hi So Disappointed,

Thank you for sharing your story.

Our Hep Forums (http://forums.hepmag.com) is a better place to post your questions. Please create an account and repost your questions there.

Thank you.

Hi Andreas

Thank you for signing this petition. We now have over 10,000 signatures and we will not stop until we have this ribavirin-free cure!

Sincerely,
Margaret Dudley
HCV Coalition for The Cure
www.HepC-Cured.org

My name is Margaret Dudley and I too have gone thru the triple treatment for Hep c. And so far so good. The treatment was the worse thing I have ever experienced in my life. I thought I would die. But I am happy to say I survived and after 6 months my numbers are still at 0. Good-luck to anyone else that goes thru it. And keep strong there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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This page contains a single entry by Margaret Dudley published on November 21, 2012 12:25 PM.

Baby Boomers - To Test or Not to Test - That is the Question! is the next entry in this blog.

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