Putting the "Live" Back in Liver
One of the greatest ways to live with joy in the midst of fighting hepatitis C and liver disease is choosing to focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do.
Prior to my last hepatitis C treatment, I participated in a 5k race in my local town. People were there for different reasons. I was there to take a stand for living beyond hepatitis C. We are not defined by a condition, disease, or tragedy. Life is so much more than those things that come into our lives.
We're all in this fight and life together
When I got my racing shirt, I wrote on the back, “Hepatitis C lives with me, I do not live with it”. There were numerous racers, walkers, and many supporters, all there with one goal in mind, finishing the race. I suspect like me, many participants had personal reasons and causes they supported.
On the course, I passed a man in a wheelchair going slow but steady. He sported a big smile. Our eyes met and I felt that he is a man who loves life and doesn't allow a condition or disability to hold him back. As our path came together, we exchanged a big high five.
I wondered what cross each person bore who was there. But no matter what the reason, they were there because they wanted to take part in life and finish the race. Don’t we all want that? I had no idea at the time if I would receive a cure for hepatitis C. I did know that, no matter what, the virus couldn't stop me from living.
Community and getting cured
Later that next year, I did my third treatment for hepatitis C. It was hard, but even on the days when I felt my worst, I kept my eyes on the prize. I moved slow and steady through treatment, but I was determined to finish the race and live. I finished treatment and received the best prize of all, being told I was cured.
Six months after treatment I participated in one of the American Liver Foundation Liver Life Races in my state. This time I wrote on the back of my shirt, “Hep C no longer lives with me”. Joining forces with thousands of racers and supporters against liver disease and celebrating life was exhilarating. It was the most meaningful race I’ve ever done.
Don’t let your life stop because of hepatitis C. Life is not about what happens to you, it’s about what you do with it that matters. Celebrate life and what you can do. Choose to do something that brings you joy. Life is more than hepatitis C. Remember, hepatitis C lives with you, you don’t live with it!
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