Peter

Peter still doesn't know what caused his hepatitis C but, when he was diagnosed, it was certainly a shock. The active businessman felt as well as ever and had had no idea he was sick. Even after the diagnosis, apart from routine blood tests, his life went on as usual.

That was until, 10 years later, he received more news that shook him to his core. Discussing life expectancy, Peter's doctor came up with some numbers "and they were in the single digits," Peter recalls. "Two years. Five years."

Hepatitis C is a disease that attacks the liver. Left untreated, it is fatal. Peter quickly learned "what a real nasty disease it could be and that it affects a lot of people worldwide."

Peter was referred to Westmead Hospital, where he learned about a worldwide trial to test an improved treatment for Hepatitis C, in which Westmead Millennium Institute was taking part. He began medication for six months, which was half the normal treatment time. "They put some extra molecules in the Interferon [the treatment drug] to prevent it from being depleted," he explains.

The experience wasn't easy. "You feel pretty miserable. You get crook. You get side-effects. You break out in a rash all over your body. It itches and it's quite ugly."

Every fortnight, Peter had to inject medication into his stomach. "I'm a tough guy," he insists, "but when you have to go and stick injections in yourself... I couldn't handle it. I used to walk around the house for half an hour before I got the courage to stick it in."

But six months later, it was all worth it. Peter was completely cured. He joined a group of walkers and, in 2008, climbed the Mera Peak in Nepal, the start of a trio of impressive mountain climbs. 

"I'm not looking at a short life," Peter is proud to insist. "Now I'm planning to live until I'm 95."

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    Westmead Millennium Institute Liver Research

    Westmead's Storr Liver Unit is an internationally-acclaimed team of researchers exploring the diverse causes of liver injury, such as metabolic factors, viruses, drugs and toxins.  Read some of their research highlights >>