Early in 2011, Slim wasn’t feeling well….he was experiencing quite a bit of stomach pain. He eventually went to the doctor and was told that he had gallstones…his gallbladder would need to be removed.
Once the procedure was underway, the surgeon noticed that his liver was very unhealthy and he was unable to move forward and remove the gallbladder. Further testing revealed that Slim had chronic Hepatitis C… He was diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis and three days after his original surgery, his doctor went in and widened the ducts in his stomach to allow the gallstones to pass more easily.
Options were discussed and it was decided that Slim should begin Interferon, a protein treatment that helps the body fight an intruder by stopping it from reproducing.
As is not untypical for someone in the arts community, Slim is without health insurance. Luckily Pegasys, the manufacturer of the Interferon, has a program in place for patients who do not have the means to afford the medication. Slim was accepted and began the therapy.
Interferon is a very intense treatment with a multitude of negative side effects. Slim suffered severe weight loss, memory loss, fatigue and depression. After seven months on the program, his doctor’s took him off of the medication. The following months were equally as bad as the drugs were making their way out of his system. It was a very difficult time with multiple hospital visits…he also suffered a small stroke. Fortunately there are no signs of Hepatitis C but as a result of the condition Slim’s liver also developed cirrhosis and is only functioning at thirty percent.
Then in late 2011 Slim was given devastating news - without a liver transplant he would only survive for two years….