How a Hepatitis C Diagnosis Can Affect a Family
When patients are diagnosed with hepatitis C, our family, and friends are affected as well. Roller coaster emotions, uncertainty, questions, even fear are experienced not only by the patient, but also by the family. The family is impacted by the emotional and physical toll, doctor’s appointments, tests, treatment, even recovery. Everyone goes through this journey together. Patients and families need love, understanding, caring support, patience, and grace through it all.
Every patient and family situation are different, but through diagnosis, those closest to us become involved in helping us and step into the role of caregiver.
Do you friends and family understand Hep C?
When I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, I felt shocked and disbelief at first. After tests, my husband and I met with my doctor and discussed the severity of the diagnosis. I felt numb and later fell apart. My husband, children, and family were scared too. As my journey began, I realized my husband, children, and the rest of my family were diagnosed with me. Their life changed because my life changed.
You may feel alone in your diagnosis, but you are not. No one knows exactly how you feel since they do not live in your skin, but do not discount that they are not suffering right along beside you.
What helps the family and caregivers
Some things that may help include:
- Good communication and understanding between the patient and family/caregiver
- A support group of other patients and caregivers who understand what it is like to deal with hepatitis C and liver disease
- Your healthcare team of doctors and nurses can provide answers to your questions and advice on how to help your loved one
What to say to a patient or caregiver
You could try:
- “I know I don’t fully understand what you’re going through, but I love and care about you.”
- “I’m here for you. How can I help?”
- “You are a warrior. I know you can beat this. I’m fighting for you.”
- “How are you doing today? Can I run an errand, or pick something up for you today?”
- “I was thinking of you today and want you to know what a terrific job you're doing.”
- “We’re in this together!”
SummarySometimes, there is nothing you can say to make it better, but giving a hug, holding each other, and spending time together can make a bad day better. Give grace to the other person when they do not feel well, tense, or stressed. The gift of love and support goes a long way.
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