OTTAWA – Health - Devon “Hannibal” Nicholson is a former National Champion and Olympic Trial Silver Medalist in amateur wrestling, a Canadian Open Winner in Grappling and has wrestled for World Wrestling Entertainment. He is currently at the half way point of the experimental Hepatitis C treatment that could cure him of the disease forever if it is effective.
Devon, who has presented two successful wrestling events at Fort William Gardens took some time earlier this week to speak NetNewsledger regarding his treatment and to update us on what has been going on in his life.
NNL: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Devon. I know the treatment has been hard on you lately.
DN: Yes it’s been really tough, I’ve been suffering some severe side effects but am willing to do whatever it takes to get through treatment, get cured and finally move on with my life.
NNL: Speaking of side effects can you tell us about the rash you have been experiencing. I saw the picture you recently posted on your Facebook page of the skin reaction on your upper body. It looked horribly uncomfortable.
DN: Unfortunately almost all Hepatitis C treatment patients suffer some type of skin reaction. The itching I have been experiencing for the past few months has become increasingly worse over the last few weeks to the point that my entire body was covered in a rash recently. The itching gave me a “bug under the skin” sensation that was the most uncomfortable physical feeling I have ever had.
NNL: You look as if you were burnt in your picture.
DN: The picture you are referring to was taken January 2nd, I was advised to go to the Emergency Room at the Ottawa Hospital January 6th due to the intense itching I was experiencing.
Doctors there informed me that despite looking like my body was badly sun burnt and experiencing the feeling of wanting to itch my skin off with a for the rash was actually considered mild by Hepatitis C treatment standard.
This is because Incivek treatment can cause a deadly rash known as Stevens Jonson Syndrome in some patients. That rash gives a burning rather than itching sensation and requires patients to immediately stop treatment.
NNL: That sounds awful. You are fortunate not to of had Stevens Jonson Syndrome. Have the insomnia and weight loss side effects become any better?
DN: The insomnia effect is still there however the itching has become so bad it makes the last of sleep seem insignificant. I have lost over 20 pounds of weight, mostly muscle mass. This is very hard on me as it took years of hard work to develop the muscle I had. Compared to dying the weight loss is only a minor inconvenience, and I’m confident that with my work ethic, healthy living habits and dedication I will get back to the physical level I was at before treatment quickly.
NNL: What is the status of your discrimination lawsuit WWE? You had a suit against them for rescinding your contract due to the Hepatitis C despite it being against human rights to do so and them having a “no blood” policy. Did the Hepatitis C issue ever come up when you wrestled for them in the past?
Devon: I am no longer legally able to discuss the WWE lawsuit. You would have to contact my lawyers or the WWE’s legal team regarding that however they will likely give you the same answer.
NNL: Are you able to discuss your lawsuit against WWE Hall of Famer Larry ‘Abdullah The Butcher’ Shreve for negligence, assault and battery?
Devon: That lawsuit is ongoing. Shreve had to come to Ottawa on December 21st to attend an official mediation session with my lawyers and a mediator. Mediation is over and the lawsuit is ongoing.
NNL: Did he ever send you his blood test results?
Devon: Yes in November 2011 Shreve sent us blood test results indicating he was Hepatitis C positive genotype 2, the same type as me. Despite this he has still taking the idea into the public and he insisted to media such as The Atlantic Magazine in the US that he his “blood is clean”. This will, in my opinion, greatly affect his credibility in court when he clearly cut me with an unsanitary blade on video which he also denies.
NNL: Lawsuits can take a long time but justice usually prevails in the end.
DN: I’ll be very happy when I can close that chapter of my life.
NNL: Now for the million dollar question. Is there a possibility you would wrestle for the WWE in the future if you are cured of Hepatitis C?
DN: I hold no grudge towards WWE. I still have friends in the company and the talent relations people I dealt with in the past are no longer in their positions.
Paul Levesque (HHH) is the current Executive Vice President of talent and he has nothing but my highest respect.
I still have 3 months of treatment to complete and that is my main priority.
I have not decided what athletic field I will dedicate myself to if my treatment is a success. MMA and Greco Roman Wrestling are two sports that I also believe I could excel in. I have also wrestled for TNA in the past have had talks with Hulk Hogan and Al Snow about going to Impact Wrestling last year so that could also be a possibility if I’m cured.
NNL: Hang in there for the rest of your treatment. You are a fighter, and you can fight through this treatment and beat the disease.
DN: Thank you very much. I appreciate the effort Net News Ledger has put into raising awareness about the Hepatitis C epidemic that is known to be carried by more than 170 million people worldwide and now kills more people than AIDS. It has to be stopped!