A woman comforting a younger version of herself

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now

Thinking back to my early diagnosis days when I was told I had hepatitis C, I thought about what I could pass along to a newly diagnosed patient. Knowing now what I know and remembering the scared, frightened woman walking to her car with tears in her eyes.

That moment anyone finds out they have hepatitis C is not something we celebrate. Our minds begin to wonder, and fear sets in. There is no stopping the normal reaction to any diagnosis unknown to a person.

Back to my advice to a newly diagnosed patient. 

Living life to the fullest

I would say take time to gather thoughts, get a pad of paper or journal, and sit and take time to write how you are feeling. Write what you are thinking and, most importantly, what questions you have.

The most common questions posed to my foundation when someone reaches out for help is: “Am I going to die?” “How much time do I have?” “Can I give it to my significant other?”

Let me share and start by saying that I am no medical doctor, and I do not carry a degree for which to answer these questions from a medical professional point of view. I am a hepatitis C survivor. I have lived with end-stage liver disease since 2010. 

I have faced the harsh regime of Interferon and Ribavirin and failed that treatment. I went on to cure my hepatitis C on a clinical trial in 2014. 

Today, I am living my life to the fullest. I am remarried, and my two kids are all grown up now, and I couldn’t be more blessed.

My life, however, was not always this bright. Upon being diagnosed with hepatitis C, I lost my mom nine months later to the very disease that is also destroying my liver. 

I was raising two small children and running my company. All while I feared my own mortality.

Get treated and get cured

If I had known then what I know now, I would not have wasted so much time crying, depressed, and living in fear. You see, hepatitis C now has a cure. Yes, you read that correctly. There are many options out there now with very high cure rates. 

That my friends are a far greater number of odds I was given on the harsh treatment I underwent shortly after my mother's death, which was only a 50/50 shot.

The likely hood of you passing away from hepatitis C nowadays is so much less.  The newer regimes are nothing compared to the older ones. Meaning the side effects are so much less, and the cure rate time frame is only 8-12 weeks.  Can I get a big amen here?

Living for today

You can still pass this virus on to family members through your blood. Because hepatitis C is a blood-to-blood contracted disease. Say you have a cut that bleeds and drips on a countertop. Along comes a family member with an open cut and makes contact with the blood; you could potentially infect them. 

The best way to prevent this is any time you have an incident involving your blood, use a bleach product and get it cleaned up immediately.

The best advice I can give you today, knowing what I do, is this: don’t fret about tomorrow, and know that hepatitis C does have a cure. Do not return to habits that potentially got you infected if that is how you did, as you can get hepatitis C again. Educate yourself about hepatitis C.

Early detection is key here. The earlier you are diagnosed, the earlier the treatment and the greater your liver cannot be so damaged.

Learn and live for today, knowing you have the most advanced treatments available to cure your hepatitis C.

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