Just Diagnosed with Hep C: Do I Need to Be Scared?
There is not one person who was first diagnosed with hepatitis C that did not leave doctors office in a sense of fear. For myself, I was in shock leaving the office. I got into my car feeling a multiple feelings of emotion:
How I felt after my hep C diagnosis
CONFUSION: Why me? How did I get this? Did I do something so bad in my life that God was now punishing me?
ANGER: Again, why me? I do not have time to be sick now. I have small kids, 3 companies to run, employees to manage. They're depending on me!
FEAR: What now? Am I going to die? What will happen to my kids? My businesses will go under and my poor employee's out of work. Life is so scary now.
SADNESS: My mom had this and now I do. I just can't believe it. This will take my life now too and my kids will lose their mom to this disease.
No where in the realm of emotions did I ever feel overjoyed, happy, or excited to have been diagnosed with hep C. I cried a lot... and I mean A LOT! My stomach was just sick and I was a ball of nerves, worrying about the end picture. From all I knew (as I witnessed my mother pass from hep C), death was the ending of my fate. At this time (in 2006),I thought this disease would ravage my body, just like my mom's.
I felt so alone
After my mom passed, I was alone. The only one I could share these fears with was gone. During these years (2005-ish) there were no Facebook support groups or anyon stepping forward sharing they too had hepatitis C. It was isolation, stigma, and shame for anyone diagnosed with hep c.
Starting my hep C treatment
Fast forward to 2010 when I met my new liver doctor. He filled me with such hope and even though interferon was only a 50/50 shot of surviving, I had hope.
This was short lived when I was pulled off this medication for hep C treatment for "NON-RESPONDING", meaning my body was not doing anything with this drug to kill off the hep C. It was just making me horribly sick. I begged to stay on, only for him to calmly say "Kim, you have to TRUST ME". In 2013, I finally landed a clinical trial for end stage livers after failing 3 other trials before, not having the "right" criteria to be on them.
The first day I learned I drew the "placebo", which meant I still have to go for blood drawls and pretend this was real, knowing this disease was still killing my liver. Six months worth was tough to get through, but late in 2014, I was in the office and swallowed my first REAL pill. Tears in my eyes and my daughters eyes as we knew this treatment was finally going to cure me. We had all the hope in the world.
Finally, some good news
It was 7 days into the trial and my doctor came to me and said "How do you want to be the face of hepatitis C?" Confused, he went on to say "Kim, you are undetected in record time". The news media went wild. From that point, my life has been full of blessings. Traveling while on treatment sharing my story of despair, victory, and hope, meeting others who have also been fighting hep C. God gave me my purpose and that was to enlighten others on getting cured.
Yes, this diagnosis is hear- wrenching but you need to hear me out here.... The treatments today are even better in 2021 than back in 2015. Less time, fewer side effects, and high cure rates. The time is now to get tested, get treatment and find your cure. Doing it early will spare your body the lasting side effects hep C can cause. Here is your hope for your future. Grab hold and go get it. No longer does anyone need to be scared.... This is it!