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Life Lessons from Contracting Hepatitis C in an Unusual Way

My diagnosis and reaction were so centered on how I contracted hepatitis C. I contracted hepatitis C through an outpatient surgery center where I had surgery.

A scrub tech who was a convicted drug addict had time alone with the patient to prep them for surgery. He shot up with the patient’s syringe of medication (drawn up by the anesthesiologist), which was to be used on the patient during surgery. After shooting up, he refilled it with normal saline from the patient’s IV bag and replaced the syringe on the tray as if nothing had happened.

He was caught in the act after he worked there for 3 months. He was arrested and confessed to what he had been doing. He was tested for hepatitis C and was positive. He infected over 40 patients while he was there. I received notification to be tested. I was tested three times; each time I tested positive. I felt devastated and angry, while at the same time learning all I could about hepatitis C and treatment.

Coming to terms with my diagnosis

At that time (1994), there was little information about hep C. It recently been renamed from “Non-A Non-B Hepatitis”. The scrub tech went to prison, but unfortunately, he wasn’t remorseful for his actions. I joined a victim advocacy group. Our concern was he would be released and repeat the crime.

Holding onto anger and bitterness was not hurting him, but hurting me. I prayed and asked God to help me do something I couldn’t do on my own. I was able to let go, move past my anger and forgive the man. I believe that was the beginning of my healing from the inside out. I was able to move forward in my journey with hepatitis C.

The first two treatments were not successful, but 20 years later, I did my third treatment with one of the new hepatitis C treatments and received the cure.

Lessons learned

I learned valuable life lessons from my hepatitis C journey, first and foremost, in order for my healing to begin, I had to let go of the past.

Second, to live beyond hepatitis C, I had to adjust my attitude and outlook. Where I chose to focus would make a huge difference in the outcome. I chose to focus on hope and faith.

And lastly, I had to strive to look beyond the moment. Beyond my first two failed treatments… Beyond disappointments, difficulties, and obstacles… Beyond treatment side effects, and know this is temporary, this will pass and get better.

I gained strength and joy in the midst of the journey by concentrating on thankfulness and the good that was going on in the midst of difficulties. God helped me again do something I couldn’t do on my own. He helped me to see from a new perspective.

In order to get on the other side of something, you have to armor up and go through it. Giving up was not an option.

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.