It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Getting Help for Hepatitis C
Last updated: July 2023
"It's a marathon... not a sprint!" Personally, I was always a sprinter in my running days, and ran out of steam in the longer track and road races. I did then discover hurdles, and as it turned out, I had a natural talent for running fast short races and jumping the high hurdles. I am mixing metaphors here (probably no surprise to anyone who reads my writing very much). The truth is that I was a sprinter and did well in high hurdles, but they fit the theme of this little piece on pace...
Liver damage can go on for years
Hep C, as we are often told, is slow to damage our liver, and for some, it can take decades to cause fibrosis/damage. I have met several people who say they are have stage one (F1) and were exposed to hep C decades ago. I agree that we cannot predict the trajectory of liver damage, and as I have said many times; it is not just the liver that is affected by chronic hep C.
We cannot predict any long-term effects, but that does not mean we should put off treatment indefinitely. Why? Some patients will see a rapid impact on a number of systems which can be serious and compromise our overall health, both physical and emotional wellbeing.
I am not suggesting that anyone panic, and you know how little help that would be, but if you do panic on diagnosis or lab reports, I suggest talking to a peer support worker or peer navigator. Peers have shared experience and may go a long way to allaying your own fears. You can do this thing - meaning you can rid yourself of hep C with some help. Hep C is curable. Once gone, you are most likely going to see an amazing change in your future.
Asking for help
The marathon analogy is in reference to how things may take some time. I don’t mean a very long time, and where you receive care may be akin to the hurdles I mentioned earlier, but they can be overcome. Whether you are the sort of person who needs anyone’s help or not, you could find it useful, and there is nothing wrong about asking for help. I overcame those hurdles on my own, but not without help. I had a coach, and a team behind me, along with my peers and school cheering me on. My win was made possible by the team behind me. Sure, I did the running, training, and jumping over those hurdles, but ultimately, we all won.
Pace yourself. Whether a sprint to the finish or a longer race, you can overcome the barriers, whether all on your own or with the support and help from others. You can do this. You can feel better and be hep C free. Fast or slow, is up to you. You need to do this at your own speed.