Hi Friend! My name is James “Jim” Romesburg and I think you’ll find my story very interesting.
Read below to learn why Debbie and I started this website and how we can help you and your loved ones who may be in the same situation I am in now. Let me introduce my beautiful wife Debbie…
Hi Friend! My name is Debbie (Logan) Romesburg and I think you’ll relate to how we have learned to manage Jim’s Hep C and the documentary we plan to make about it.
How it All Started…
I met Jim when I was 15 years old because my older brothers were high school friends with him. We remained friends even throughout our adult years!
After choosing different spouses and then getting divorced, Jim and I found each other again in my father’s office. Jim was working for my Dad and we soon started dating and later got married. Due to Jim’s line of work, he signed up for life insurance and that’s when our lives changed forever. During the life insurance application process, a physical examination was required. It was then that Jim was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
Six years later when I was caring for my two ailing parents, Jim started to have problems with abdominal pain and was beginning to ask the doctors more about the Hepatitis C Virus. After both of my parents passed away, I began to research more about the Hep C Virus and I focused on learning as much as I could to help my husband.
Living in more of a holistic lifestyle, we decided not to treat Jim with the medical community’s popular Hep C Virus drug treatment called Interferon. We felt that the toxins from the treatment would not be worth the potential risks involved.
Years passed and I learned as much, if not more, than the doctors we were seeing for Jim’s conditions. I could tell them more about the Hepatitis C Virus and liver disease than they could tell me. I also found some Facebook liver Transplant and Hepatitis C Virus private groups that helped us feel less alone in it all.
Years went by and Jim got worse; the hopes of a liver transplant began to fade.
Jim was sick but his Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score stayed at a 10, which didn’t qualify him for a liver transplant (click here for an explanation of MELD Score). Saddened by this news, we continued to work toward Jim’s cure, but the virus continued to destroy his liver to advanced stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver and an additional diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy (brain Fog).
As time passed and years later, we were still searching for answers or the possibility of a liver transplant or new drug treatments to cure Jim’s Hepatitis C Virus infection.
Our Prayers Were Answered…
…So We Thought
Sovaldi and Ribavirin
In 2014, the first Hepatitis C treatment drug called Sovaldi hit the market. Jim was the first person to be treated at Kaiser for his genotype 2 of the Hepatitis C Virus. Sovaldi and Ribavirin were prescribed and we were the happiest people on earth.
One of the transplant groups had started a Sovaldi treatment Facebook private group and then we watched many achieve reports of being undetected of the Hepatitis C Virus.
Within 1 week of Jim starting Sovaldi and Ribavirin, his pain was gone for the first time in 7 years, he was undetected of the Hepatitis C Virus, and he was feeling fantastic! However, this short-lived victory took a turn for the worse at week 3 when Jim started having heart problems and spells of feeling faint and vomiting. The doctor had bloodwork drawn, which caused the doctor to lower Jim’s Ribavirin due to anemia. One week later and Jim was back on the treatment.
At week 5, Jim woke me up from a deep sleep to tell me he thought he was going to have a heart attack if he stayed on Sovaldi and Ribavirin treatment. We called the doctor who tried to encourage Jim to continue treatment, but Jim told him he thought he would die if he stayed on it. Jim decided to discontinue the treatment against the doctor’s suggestions.
Side Effects of Sovaldi and Ribavirin
Within a week Jim’s legs were swelling and I knew something was seriously wrong. I began asking around the various Facebook groups we had joined if this was a side effect or something worse. One member told us that it looked like it was a heart problem. After a few months and a lot of pushing the doctor for a referral, we saw a heart specialist.
The cardiologist did the echocardiogram (ECG) and nuclear stress test on Jim. After the test ended and Jim came out of the testing room, I knew we made the right decision to stop the Sovaldi and Ribavirin treatment.
The Cardiologist said that because of Jim’s low platelets due to the Hepatitis C Virus, and because of Jim’s stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver, he recommended Jim be put on 24 hour time release nitroglycerin pills to help his unstable angina.
A Year (almost to the date) After the Sovaldi and Ribavirin Treatment…Jim Suffers a Massive Heart Attack in the ER at Kaiser
The four emergency room doctors that saw Jim did nothing but put him on nitroglycerin drip due to Jim’s platelets being too low from taking Heparin. After 13 painful hours in the ER room, I realized Jim was dying right before my eyes! I ran to the nurses station and ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG), Chest X-ray, and blood to be drawn. The nurse asked if she should page the doctor and I told her, “Yes! You better or Jim is going to die!”
Everyone Shows Up to Save Jim
Just then we all rushed into the ER room to check on Jim. The medical technician who took Jim’s EKG readings couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The doctor finally showed up and said, “Jim is having a heart attack and if I give the Heparin he could bleed out.” But Jim and I both knew he needed the Heparin or Jim would die so we said, “DO IT.”
Thirteen hours of being in the ER and nothing being done for Jim was a nightmare. Jim survived the heart attack, but it left his heart so damaged that it has been a hard road back to health.
Four weeks in the hospital and Jim fought his way back, but the damage was done and now there is no hope for a liver transplant. The doctors said Jim can’t have a heart transplant due to the Hepatitis C Virus, but he can get a liver transplant. With nothing else to do, we left the hospital to go home. Since then, Jim has survived two more hospitalizations. Once when his ammonia was so high he stopped breathing and I had to give him CPR to bring him back. And the other was last year when Jim became septic from cellulitis and was given 2 days to live. Now, after being on hospice for a year, Jim is being discharged because he no longer qualifies.
Have we given up on the medical community? Yes.
However, with our strong faith and reaching out to find a (better) natural approach for the Hepatitis C Virus, Jim is still fighting. He has a story to be told! And he has a desire to visit his veterans and Facebook Hepatitis C family members. As we set out across the United States for the Documentary, we hope to encourage those with Hepatitis C and liver disease with the message to
Never Give Up!
We will hold hands and heal hearts with our love, laughter and compassion to you. We will see you soon in the making of our documentary so we can share your stories with our story too.
Please know that we love you!
Learn more about our documentary by clicking here