Friday, January 15, 2010

Health issues for my son - is it Hepatitis C?

I am so thankful that it's Friday. Seriously. Work has been hectic and stressful. On top of that, I've been deeply affected by the plight of Haiti. I can't bring myself to blog any photos of recipes I've made (on my "other" blog) because the dichotomy is too strong. That is, I have so much and these people had so little...and they have even less than nothing.

I digress. My son. I've been very quiet on my blog. I think my silence is more a reflection of my desire to go on with my life. My son has been moved out of our home for almost five months. I've adjusted to his being gone. I no longer feel that his room is empty. I feel as though it's been morphed into a guest bedroom, and (I admit) that I don't have to put away my ironing board any longer. The cats have taken over B's bed, enjoying the window view while C and I are away at work.

I talk to B all the time. We really have gotten closer. So, how is B? He's eeking by. He still goes to work, because he feels the urgency to be able to pay his rent. This is a good thing. If my son was using, he wouldn't be able to pay his rent. I still help him out with some bare necessities-- milk, bread etc. He comes to wash his laundry, which is fine with me. It gives us time to be together. He has a home cooked meal, and sometimes I send him home with care packages of food I've cooked. He is very, very thankful.

I've seen a change in my son, that is encouraging. He has eyeglasses. It turns out he has 20-70 vision-- most likely attributed to his poor care of his Type I diabetes. While the eye doctor lectured my son on why he needs to better manage his diabetes, I could see my son's resistance. It has been an ten year battle for my son to accept that he has this disease. Even, today, my son is angry that he has diabetes.

All of the blathering is leading up to today-- my son took a UA and he met with the doctor (at the Methadone Clinic). The doctor suspects he might have Hepatitis C, because his liver count isn't good. B called me, freaking out-- which, of course, made my adrenalin flow. B says the doctor attributes Hep C could be from his snorting oxycontin, or it could be from not managing his diabetes.

I am trying not to panic. I've googled Hep C and have read that it's not necessarily fatal, and potential curable. I need to get him in for a test to confirm if this is so. In case you're wondering-- my son has never done IV drugs. Ironically, it grosses him out at the thought of injecting something in his veins-- though he uses needles to inject insulin. Unfortunately, my son "forgets" to take insulin and rarely tests his blood sugar.

So, there you have it. One more issue for me to take seriously. Obviously, I want to find out correct medical information.

As far as methadone goes-- I have to say that my son is doing really well. B says that he is so glad he's on methadone. He says he has no desire to use opiates. He is sleeping again. He's gaining weight. I am going to meet with his counselor (whom B really likes a lot) at the methadone clinic. B would like to extend the program for one more month. I won't get into the lengthy details, but it might be a good thing to give my son another 30 days.

B is still struggling to make ends meet. His roommate might be moving out, so he worries about finding a roommate.

My words of encouragement are probably hollow for my son-- I tell him that when these things happen, that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I tell him that God might be shutting doors, so he'll finally walk into one that is God's plan for him. Even the Hep-C scare... maybe this is a wake up call to manage his diabetes! My son is so rattled, that he says he needs to take better care of himself.

I haven't visited your blogs, and I am sorry. With my busy work schedule, and my church groups I just haven't had much time. I continue to pray for you-- my son's drug addiction isn't over. For now, I thank God, that my son is alive, arrest-free and I am so thankful for my abundant blessings.

I adore my son, and I continue to hope that he will continue to stay clean.


Barbara aka Layla said...

Hi Debby,

I hope the Hep C scare is what B needs to take his health seriously. Its hard enough for us adults to care for ourselves, so I can understand how an "invincible feeling" young man would have a hard time with it - but as you know diabetes is very serious! Luckily, as you said, Hep C is not super terrible, but it can get worse as a person ages (from what my friend who has it told me). I fear Kev might have it from all his sharing dirty needles. Ugh.

Its very wonderful that B likes his counselor and is doing so well. I am happy to hear it!

Know what you mean about Haiti, its hard to complain about anything with that going on.

LisaC said...

Debby, I've missed you. Bryan took a Hep C test approximately 4 weeks ago, and I still haven't heard anything. Why? Because either my son has the news and he doesn't want to or has forgotten to tell me, or they haven't shared the results with him as yet. Who knows. And I guess I'm truly managing my codependent behavior and tendences because most of the time when I'm speaking to Bryan, I forget (yes, actually forget) to ask him about it. I think about it at other times when something reminds me. Of course, Bryan doesn't have the extra-added pressure of diabetes as B does.

I'm proud and amazed at your calmness, your detachment while you still so obviously love him so much. It seems to be you are doing all the right things. And honestly, the best thing you can teach B is about healthy behavior. If he sees you making healthy decisions when dealing with him, you become the role model for him that you truly want to be. I think you are really doing an awesome job.

J.R. said...

It is good to hear that your son has been responding well to methadone treatment. I am also sorry about the news of his having HepC. I've lived with this disease since 1992 with no negative health effects. So good diet and NO alcohol usage can be effective in keeping it from advancing in many, and this without any of the "cures" presently being touted.

I am also a methadone patient since 1988 and wish to relate that MANY need this constant treatment for their chronic medical condition, which is a damaged endorphin system that methadone, through its endorphin replacement action, equalizes. Five times I was weaned from treatment and five times I relapsed. So I finally got the message that I was one of the many that need this treatment for a lifetime. So, please, be open to that possibility in the case of your son. Many chronic medical conditions require daily pharmaceutical intervention and the results / ravages of an opioid addiction is no different. There is no shame in that and my life has been a full and happy one. I hope the same for your son.
Kind regards,
J.R. Neuberger
National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery

Angelo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angelo said...

Sorry I should have added this. If he does have hep c and does decide one day to do treatment or even if he doesn't do treatment hep C and diabetes do not go good together. Please google diabetes and hepatitis C and I'm sure you will get more reading then you can possible do. He needs to manage his diabetes seriously if he has hep c.

Laura said...

Hi Debby,

Your post was thoughtful and clearly baring a mother's heart. I will keep you all in my prayers as well.

I'm a type 2 diabetic and I'm kind of angry about it too. I've neglected to manage it well until the past few weeks. I suddenly had a wake up call and I pray that B will have his too. It's one of those "unfair" parts of life....but...we choose our response I guess.

Hugs to you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Debby,

I was happy that Angelo pointed out to you that B should not go off methadone after 30 days. Most methadone patients who take methadone for a very short time (30 days is short) will relapse. He should stay on it until (if) he is ready to reduce the dosage, and then go down slowly. Detox from methadone takes longer than it does from heroin, and the symptoms seem to be harder to take.

Our son was diagnosed as having Hep C by his methadone clinic. That is, he tested positive with the test they gave him. He went for more complete testing and came back negative--it was a false positive.

I'm so glad that things seem to be going so much better for you all. Look after yourself.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about his potential diagnosis. I hope he starts taking better care of himself.

I don't comment as frequently as I'd like, but I think of you often.


Cheri said...

Praying for you all, my friend.

Hugs and love,

Tom at said...

I agree with the prior comments about not rushing to stop treatment with methadone. Research shows that people are most successful if they remain on the treatment for at least two years followed by a slow taper.

Staying on the treatment much longer is common, and more effective. I agree with JRs comments and would like to learn more about his organization/work.

I don't know anything about diabetes, but I do know it doesn't cause Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis just means inflammation of the liver. So it may be that diabetes can cause hepatitis, but it would not be viral hepatitis from the hepatitis C virus (as Angelo points out).

You and your son might be interested in the series of posts I'm doing right now called "10 Things You Should Know About Methadone." Find it at

I've also started a social support network site for people who are opiate dependent, and their families and friends. I hope you will join. You can find that at

Tom at

ConnieK said...

Wow, your story is so much like mine. Sorry to hear about the HepC scare. I expect I'll have to visit such issues w/ my son along the way. Thanks for being here. It does make a difference. (And I really like the design of your blog). God bless you!