There's good news and... not so good news.

Just when you thought things were shaping up to be pretty bad, they might have got even worse.

My big news for today was going to be that I was starting a year-long treatment for my Hepatitus C but when I got to the hospital it turns out that the ECG that I had on Wednesday shows that at some time in the past I've had a "silent heart attack" and since one of the side effect of the new drug I'm supposed to be having on top of the normal Interferon / Ribavarin is that it can give you arythmia, it means that, if confirmed, I can't go on it.

Dammit!!! I was all ready to start today! I was all psyched up for the next year of Hell and here I get this! I'm booked in for another heart exam next Tuesday where they'll assess the extent of the damage to my heart, evidently if it is just a small section of one of the chambers then they'll let me start. If not they'll let me start the standard Interferon / Ribavarin treatment... but I'd have to be on it for 18months instead of a year!

I don't think so.

In fact I'm sure that's not on the cards. I spent the worst year of my life in 2005 doing that for a 50% chance of success, I registered a nil viral load at six months - there's a story behind that - and relapsed in less than a month from finishing. No. That's like repeatedly hitting your thumb with a hammer trying to knock a nail in and then saying that you'll get that damn nail in if you just keep hammering longer!

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm one hundred percent committed to successfully beating the Hep C in twelve months on the new treatment. I've even got some ideas about handling the I/R treatment better, but you've got to give me better odds than 50-50! If I can't get on the new treatment, I'll wait until something new comes along. The ultrasound results on my liver show that there is no sign of fibrosis there, so I'm in a pretty low risk category for cirrhosis or liver cancer. I can wait.

The news about the heart I could do without.

The problem there is that I push myself pretty hard. I do aerobic weights and combat classes at the gym and I fence on Friday nights, I push myself hard enough to feel absolutely shattered afterwards although I'm not a gym junkie - I wish I could get more time at the gym but I commute too much. This could trap me in a 'Catch-22' situation: if I exercise too much I bust a piston ring, if I don't exercise enough it gets worse!

I don't subscribe to the 'no pain, no gain' theory. Pain is your body's signal to you that you are doing something wrong and need to stop - NOW. You need to find your limit and work towards it, pushing it in different ways to get the training effect. My old TaeKwonDo instructor, Mick, told me one time that he had more respect for people who had enough sense to know when to stop than the Gung Ho types who boasted about how they had abused themselves.

Its all about balance. Knowing what your limit is and pushing it ever so slightly all the time. You can be an even greater warrior by using your head and avoiding torn muscles and broken bones... and heart attacks it would seem. The problem there is that there is no hard and fast rule abut recognising one. It could be the classic pain in the chest - or it could be in the arm! I get wind pains in my chest from gas all the time and yet I've read that the only difference between the two is that the heart attack doesn't go away when you suck an antacid.

I'll keep battling, its all you can do, but sometimes the odds are just stacked against you. However, to quote Heinlein, "If you don't like the game then change it!"
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