The Dangers of Comparing Ourselves to Other Hepatitis C Patients
When I was diagnosed with hepatitis C many years ago, there were few support groups. The only websites available offered a dark outcome. I saw many people give up. Many marriages broke up. This is what happens with the absence of hope. This is also a real danger of comparing our lives with other hepatitis C patients.
When I was first diagnosed in 1994, I told my physician I wanted to talk to others who were hope with skin on. I desired to talk to others who had come through this journey and were on the other side of it. People whose experience offered hope that I could grab onto the patient’s experience. Sadly, during those early years, there was very little hope.
Today’s treatments for hepatitis C are greatly improved with shorter treatment times, fewer side effects, and over 95% cure rates. Even still, some patients and their families can still struggle. While it’s natural for us to want to learn about the treatment and recovery experience by reading about someone else’s journey with hepatitis C, there are some dangers in comparing ourselves.
The danger of comparisons
The danger of comparing others' experiences with hepatitis C to ours is this:
- Every person’s medical history is different
- Every person’s liver condition is different
- Every person’s body responds to treatment differently
- Every person’s post-treatment recovery is different
Social media can either be good or bad for hepatitis C patients and their families. You need to be discerning about what information is being shared. On social media, you don’t generally hear the whole story. Someone can present a very bad experience or a great experience. Without being aware you’re doing it, you may think you’ll have the same experience they did. Their experience and words can influence your thoughts and decisions; This can be either good or bad.
If you fear the worst can happen because that was their experience, you’re setting yourself up for a bad experience before you even start. Don’t allow fear to control your emotions and influence your decisions.
If you think you’ll sail through treatment and recovery, free from all side effects, because that was someone else’s experience, that may be unrealistic, because not every patient’s experience is exactly the same.
What you can do in fighting hep C
You can take proactive steps, like:
- Take each day and step as it comes
- Talk to your physician and healthcare team about your liver and medical condition, tests, treatment, and recovery
- Communicate with them about your symptoms and if you experience side effects
- Be proactive on what you can do to help if side effects occur
We can glean wisdom and knowledge in hepatitis C, common treatment side effects, how to deal with specific issues, etc from others - but always check the medical facts. Remember, your experience may not be the same as someone else’s. But glean hope. There is great hope to be cured of hepatitis C and get beyond it. Keep your focus on the goal and never give up!
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