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When We Lose Friends and Loved Ones to Hep C

As I sit here today, my eyes fill with tears. My heart is breaking for a dear friend and fellow hep C advocate. She was on my foundation board a few years back and I learned today that she is now in hospice and the doctors have given her a week.

This blog is difficult to write as I personally have witnessed hep C take my own mothers life. Through the destruction of what hep C does to a persons liver, I have lost over a dozen friends to liver cancer.

How hepatitis C affects the body

I do not want this blog to be one of despair, but rather want to turn it into a learning tool for those reading this waiting to be tested, maybe because you are afraid or do not want to know the results, or for those who have delayed getting treatment.

The time to act is now! Not tomorrow, not when you feel better and certainly not because you feel immune to hep C. This is a serious, profoundly serious, disease that can ravage the liver and destroy its cells. In many cases, then works its way throughout your body, often causing issues with kidneys, as well as the lymph, skeletal, and muscular systems. As I think about it, hep C destroys.

Even after treatment, risks remain

All my friends who have lost this battle actually cleared the virus with treatment, but because they either discovered it too late or put off treatment, hep C still damaged their liver (what we call end stage liver disease), putting them at risk of liver cancer. Of course, I do not believe my friends ever intended to lose to liver cancer.  In fact, I remember, when we all talking back in early 2014/2015, how wonderful it was to celebrate we are undetected. With treatment, we all began to dream again. We got a second chance at life... only to be diagnosed with liver cancer.

Every one of my friends wished they found they had hep C sooner... or that the newer treatments had come out soon. We all soon! It would have saved our bodies from the lasting effects of end stage liver disease.

The importance of aftercare

If you have end stage liver disease, please continue to get regular checkups and monitoring by your physician. For many people, liver cancer is still a threat. I personally go every 6 months and have ultrasounds, CAT scans, and MRIs to monitor my liver condition. I am not saying that that everyone who has end stage will get cancer, what I am saying is the risk is GREATER to those who do. We need to be proactive and ensure our liver health by monitoring levels at all times.

As I close, my love, my prayers, and my thanks to my dear friend and her family. May you stay strong in the fight and know your legacy will live on in the fight of those of us carrying your torch.


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