Things I Wish I Knew after My Hep C Diagnosis
I wish I knew these things after I was first diagnosed in 2005. Back then, no one talked about hepatitis C, let alone announce they had it. After helping others through my foundation, I have condensed the questions into these few. I hope you find them useful and educational.]
How do I protect my family from contracting hepatitis C from me?
First off, one must learn how hepatitis C is contracted in order to know the safety of it. Hep C is a blood to blood disease, meaning blood from an infected person would need to reach the other person by an open wound or cut. So, for a person with hep C, you would need to keep your razor, toothbrush, and nail clippers away from others. Keep wounds covered. Any blood spills should be cleaned up immediately; I personally use bleach at about 50/50 with water. I like mine more potent to ensure I killed any possible contaminations. After use, my feminine products are wrapped and put into a baggy, which I immediately take to garbage; This avoids any possible contamination with younger children and pets in the trash. For around my house,, I use bleach-based wipe clothes all the time. It is just habit now that I clean a lot throughout my week.
Do you know how you were infected with hep C?
Where can I go for good resources about hep C?
I personally have found my mentors and advocates that have helped me through my journey with hep C to be online through private Facebook groups. Hepatitisc.net is a HUGE, valuable resource for learning about hep C through those who have either gone through it or are currently. You are able to learn about side effects, remedies for these side effects, diet suggestions, and how to choose a doctor. My foundation, the Bonnie Morgan Foundation for HCV, also has good links to private groups for those fighting hep C to children fighting hep C to those currently on treatment and needing support from fellow fighters on treatment. We also have private caregivers groups for those caring for ones with hep C and liver disease - great support and all private. Be wary of groups that tend to lean toward negativity. This disease is negative enough on our bodies and minds. We need to stay supporting ourselves in a positive manner.
How do I share with my family or friends that I have hep C?
This is a difficult thing no matter how old you are or what part of the hep C journey you are on. I get contacted a lot about this and I remind those who reach out that it does not matter how one contracted hep C, but rather we all deserve that cure. With there being a high stigma with hep C, this limits our openness to others about it. I am here to say that you only share what you want to share with those you want to share it with. There is no pressure or thing saying you must even share it with anyone if you are not comfortable.
However, if you are comfortable and want to: Educate yourself about hep C, all the ins and outs about it. How it is contracted, spread, tested, treated, etc. These are very common questions that are going to come back to you, as many do not know about hep C. The more information you know, the more confident in answering questions you will be. But, bottom line, you share only what and to whom you want to. It's up to you!
What best describes you?