The Best and the Worst

Recently I asked two questions on Facebook. The questions were: “What was the worst part of your hep C experience?” and “What was the best part of your hep C experience?” I was overwhelmed by the response and there were some common themes that ran through the comments on both questions.

The Highs and the Lows of Life with Hep C

The worst for many people was about treating with interferon, whether once or multiple times, as many have done. It was bad and difficult for all, as I know first hand. I never experienced some of the most dangerous and truly awful side effects that some did. Yes, it certainly was the most difficult thing ever for me. The year lost to interferon and ribavirin was epically awful.

My own experiences are just one part of something much greater. And that is the collective and shared harms and joys we may have in common. It is just as important, or even more so, that we celebrate the triumphs over barriers and the best of times we have had. If all we have is the memories of the terrible days, weeks, months, or years we will be doomed to live them again and again. And that sure doesn’t work for me and probably not for you either. Regrets come to mind and living with regrets serves to keep us in that place where we feel shame, doubt, and guilt that can paralyze us.

I am not suggesting that we are all scarred because of our past. For me, the most interesting people I know have had a broad range of experiences. They believe that pain and struggle can help us to grow and develop our character, not some 50’s TV version of the perfect life. It never was perfect, and the dream was just that – a dream in some TV writer’s mind. The models of behavior we grew up with, thanks to television and popular media, are not very real. Depictions of life were contrived. The quest to be like those fictional families did more harm than good, as they were just entertainment, not a code we should all follow.

Life is Not Always What We Expect

Living up to expectations is hard. It depends on what they are and from whom they come from. Generally, I find it hard to separate our own expectations from those that others may impose on us. We all want to succeed but is failure really the end of the world? It depends on context, and what the expectations are. If we set the bar high, we can be setting ourselves up to fail before we start. Setting realistic goals is best, and I know for some of us it is easier said than done. I am not suggesting that you set the bar so low that you never fail. It is a good thing to challenge oneself, especially when it comes to learning and growing. The opposite of failure is not winning. The benefit in overcoming the challenge resides in those things like confidence, self- respect, and dignity which comes with meeting those goals.

A lesson we all learn early in life is that life is not always fair. Not every dream, or great idea, or every bad thing we dread will ever be a reality. That doesn’t mean that they won’t, and sometimes a miss can turn out to be a positive or conversely too close for comfort. Dodging bullets is another idiom that can sum up how missing is the objective, and lord knows missing bullets is a good thing, just don’t miss out on living a life filled with the things which give you joy, and are free of harms.

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