Personal perspective: living with hepatitis C

On #WorldHepatitisDay we highlight a personal account from a woman in the US diagnosed with hepatitis C and how this has impacted her life.

When I was diagnosed …

I am a 34-year-old wife and mother. In March 2014, while at a follow-up appointment, I was told that I tested positive for hepatitis C. I was so shocked. I fell apart! I called in to work that day. There was no way I could deal with being around anyone at that moment. I took that day to come to terms with the news that I have hep C. It was a tough day. The thought of death … I never expected to live forever, but I sure didn’t anticipate worrying about the possibility of dying at 34 years old.

What went through my mind …

For me, I thought I had just been given a death sentence. I didn’t know much about the disease. I knew it was BAD. I knew there was treatment for it but I was naïve and didn’t know about the new advances in treatment. After reading and researching on the internet, I finally had hope – hope that I wouldn’t leave my husband without a wife. And I was especially glad to know I wouldn’t be leaving my children without a mom. When I was told that I had hep C … the first thought in my head was …”What will my kids do without me?”

My boys are 11, 13, and 19 years old and I also have a 20-year-old step-son. My 19-year-old son also has a 6-month-old son of his own … which makes me a grandmother, too. LOL … I told him he made me a grandmother way too young, but that is fine … this way I know I can enjoy watching him grow and hopefully keep enough energy to keep up with him!

What I decided to do …

I decided I was going to find out all I could about hep C. So I devoted time to researching it and I decided to find out … What next? At this point I knew I had it, so then what I had to figure out was what I could do to fight it and get rid of it. I learned that I needed to make a doctor’s appointment with a specialist who could do tests and help figure out what could be done. And I also had to apply for a medical card through the state, which, thank God, I did get approved for.

The outcome …

My first appointment was 22 May 2014. Blood work was done. Also, the doctor scheduled me to have a sonogram done and an EGD (where they put you to sleep and put a light down your throat). This is to assess the damage that has been done to your liver.

On 25 June 2014, I went in for the sonogram and the EGD. I was nervous. Not sure what to expect. Thankfully, the wait was the worst part. I was put to sleep for the EGD test. When I woke … to my surprise … I felt fine. I also learned a biopsy was taken during that procedure.

Today is 25 July 2014. I am still waiting to go back for the results. The biopsy results will be back at my next appointment, which is 14 August 2014. So for now I am trying to patiently wait.

Like many others …

For those wondering, my kids don’t know that I have hep C. At this time I don’t to worry them. I may have the discussion with them but for now I keep to myself. Oh, and my husband does know. He is positive as well for hep C. So we are going through this together. I never knew the day we made the vow “for better or worse” … I never knew 15 years later we’d be walking into a doctor’s office. I wish he didn’t have it, but it is good to know that we can go through this together and we can hold each other up and take care of each other.

Other than my husband, mom, dad and my doctor … no one knows that I am positive. And I am hoping that will change in my near future. When I go to the doctor in August I will find out what my next step is in dealing with this disease.

The reality of World Hepatitis Day …

This account was provided anonymously to the Treatment Diaries online forum. Its founder, Amy Ohm comments: Hepatitis diagnosis is more than a day. Individuals live with this diagnosis every minute of every day. Finding a way to share something private about your health so you can leverage being social as a way to be healthier, is a daily occurrence on the internet. This story shared on www.TreatmentDiaries.com is one example of how privacy breeds transparency. This individual’s story is now a living inspiration for those newly diagnosed or living with hepatitis that they are not alone in their experience. Feel encouraged on this awareness day that you are not the first. There are numerous patient stories of hope and perseverance.

Read more on hepatitis C:

Can treatment as prevention work for hepatitis C?