Medical breakthroughs are being made in the fight against Hepatitis C. In fact, a woman from Springdale has become one of the first people in the country to be cured of the disease that attacks the liver, and she spoke with 5NEWS about the new treatment option that saved her life.
Carlette Metcalf spends most of her time in the stables.
“I was a horseback rider and horse trainer,” Carlette said. “So I was always go, go, go, go.”
But, shortly after getting married in July of 2012, her health took a turn for the worse.
“It was a trying time for us, because of the unknown,” Carlette’s husband, Terry, said.
“I dropped down to 85 pounds, couldn't eat, really couldn't do anything,” Carlette said. “My son plays Triple-A ball. He went to the World Series, and I couldn't go. That was the worst thing.”
With her husband by her side, Carlette kept searching for answers.
“October 2012; no one could figure out what was wrong. So he took me to Mayo Clinic,” Carlette said.
“We spent about 17 days going through some diagnosis to find what the issues were,” Terry said.
Carlette was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, Genotype One. To make matters worse, she was told by three physicians she was not a candidate for the treatment, because it would likely kill her.
“It was a hopeless situation for me. I didn't know what to do. I was lost,” Carlette said.
So she started researching different pharmaceutical companies and medications, hoping to find a treatment that could work for her. Then, in December of 2013, she found a sign of hope.
“I remember the date was December 6th, because it said, ‘December 6th: the FDA just approved a new drug, Sovaldi, from Gilead.com, and it will cure Hepatitis C in 12 weeks,’” Carlette said.
With nothin to lose, she quickly got her hands on Sovaldi and started the daily regimen - one pill every day for 84 days. Then, she went through a series of blood tests to see if the Hepatitis C virus was still showing up. And all the results came back the same. Carlette had been cured of a once-incurable disease.
Now, with a new outlook on life, Carlette is on a mission to make sure others know about the new treatment options.
“This could save their life. This could change their whole family. They can be there to see their kids. They can be there to see their grandkids. I’m going to be there to see my son play the next time, in the next tournament,” Carlette exclaimed with tears in her eyes.
She`s been given a second chance at life, and now she’s doing her part to pay it forward.
“I want to help other people know what`s going on and to get cured,” Carlette emphasized.
Carlette was recently named the National Patient Advisor for the American Liver Foundation, and she`s spearheading the effort to raise awareness and start support groups.
For more information about Hepatitis C and the available treatment options, visit http://www.LiverFoundation.org.