Fear is Real & It is Normal
Fear is real. It is a normal reaction and is felt by almost every person diagnosed with hepatitis C.
My first reaction was fear
After spending about an hour on the phone with a woman who contacted the Foundation I run, I realized that more and more people are faced with this exact emotion. It is the first emotion I felt when sitting in that doctor’s office getting the news of my diagnosis. For this woman, it was more “cold”. She was at home and got the call.
Her day was going along just like any other day, feeding her kids lunch and getting ready to take them to the local pool to swim. Her phone rang, she answered and what followed changed her life...forever.
A lack of empathy from others
Her voice on the other end of the phone was shaky as she told me what happened. The doctor who she admired and had seen for years called to give her the news that her labs came back positive for the hep C virus. She admits that she did not remember anything more after that was said, but she did notice the callous demeanor of her doctor's voice over the phone while delivering this news.
I know that for many years, people have experienced a detached physician giving them the news. It is as though they are removed from the personal side of practice. There is a lack of empathy, concern and compassion in their voices and demeanor. How can anyone be so cold and matter-of-fact when telling someone this kind of news? Yes, I understand at some point doctors must remove themselves as not to get too emotionally involved in patients lives, but there also has to be some sort of training on how one should deliver this news.
We need someone to help ease our fears
It has always been my thought that doctors should have a 3rd party on the phone line with them as they share this kind of information, a psychologist of sorts. Someone who can help ease the immediate fear and help a person remain calm and in good mindset.
I shared all of my personal feelings with this woman and assured her that what she was feeling was normal. I told her that no apologies were needed for her outburst of tears and anger. It breaks my heart to hear anyone going through the pain I once felt.
Information and support are vital
I gave her informational tools to help guide her in the days to come and got her signed up with several very good online support groups through Facebook. I told her she can lean on these groups for support. Everyone in the group has been through it already or is exactly where she is now. The bonds she will make in these groups will be lifesaving and another family in a way.
There are no words I could express to anyone facing this news that can erase that fear. I know for me personally, I give them that permission to know it's okay to feel what they are feeling and that it is normal. I tell them the biggest thing they need to remember is “Do not allow your mind to go negative”. This disease is now curable and it may take a lot of time and determination but you will get that cure. Do not accept no for an answer and keep knocking on the doors of insurance companies.
You control your outcome. Stay focused, stay positive, and FIGHT!
“Not without a FIGHT!~HCV~©
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