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I Have Hep C, I Am Not Hep C

I want you to think about this phrase: I have hep C, I am NOT hep C. What is the first thing you think of when you say those words? For myself, the initial diagnosis of having hepatitis c was given to me on this small torn out piece of paper with scribbles of a liver and what hep C does to it. As soon as my doctor handed me that piece of paper my life changed. A cloud of negativity shadowed over me. I was now labeled, as if a black X marked my forehead.

The diagnosis that changed everything

Weeks following that day, I began to see my that demeanor also became affected by this diagnosis. The normal pep in my steps slowed down and my upbeat personality was being transformed before my eyes. I was becoming this horrible virus…literally. I felt bad about myself as if I was now defective. No longer could I donate blood nor could I get new life insurance. Applying for personal health insurance was the worst. I was denied all lower cost plans because now I had what they called a ‘pre-existing condition’. Everything that I was prior to walking out of that doctor’s office that day was NO LONGER. I wasn’t that Kim anymore.

Hep C was impacting my whole family

My children were now being labeled and were denied from donating blood at school because their mom has hep C. I remember calling and fighting this with the board, explaining and pleading that my kids do NOT have hep C…I do. It did not matter. The fact one family member had it now labeled my whole family.

Why should those around me have to suffer the same humiliation and shame I do? It was just not fair. Although my kids were supportive and positive about it all, I know deep down their frustration had to be great. Now they were left explaining to their peers why they could not donate blood and the downward spiral of the hep C-labeling began.

Judgment from others

It was bad enough getting this diagnosis out of the blue with no mental preparedness whatsoever but to have to be subjected to the shame and disgrace of explaining to someone on the other end of a phone about hep C at the insurance department. I remembered sharing my status and health condition and the lady responding with “Oooh” followed by an awkward silence. I could just feel this woman on the other end of the phone squirming thinking about this disease. Almost as if she was fretting these hep C varmints would come crawling through phone lines.

Click here to read part 2 of Kim’s article ‘I Have Hep C, I Am Not Hep C’

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.