Misdiagnosed Before a Hepatitis C Diagnosis
I can’t remember how many things I was diagnosed with. I lived with symptoms long before we knew about the hepatitis C virus. Of course they did not have a test before 1990. Even then, the treatments did not provide a lot of hope. But not having a diagnosis was insane. At times, some of my symptoms sounded looney. Looking back, it all makes sense, but for many years I was nothing but confused.
Misdiagnosed with Hepatitis C
First they thought I was depressed. One of my doctors actually asked if I was keeping my house clean. I snapped at him and told him yes, but I was too tired to finish some days. I left his office with guilt and went home and scrubbed floors. A few years later, when I could barely get out of bed without a pot of caffeine, my doctor was sure I was depressed. I complained that the only reason I was sad was because I could not do all the things I wanted to. I was out of energy.
Menopause came early in my 30’s. I started hormone replacement therapy and went on my way. From that time on, it was a catchall for my medical team. The way my doctors used it to excuse away all of my symptoms was hardly fair. I was tired, swollen, and became a little introverted, but it was way way more than menopause.
My heart would go through the roof. It would climb up to 120 beats per minute. Then it would go thump thump skip skip HARD thump. Some days my fingers were on my wrist every few minutes. They tried heart monitors, and anti-anxiety drugs. None of it worked. I went through every test there was. After getting rid of hepatitis C, my “heart” problems were gone.
At one point, the joint pain had me whining that my bones were bad. It was a deep throbbing pain at night. I tried exercising more to gain strength. After exercise or cycling, the aches grew worse. A bone scan showed everything was normal, so I kept moving in spite of the discomfort. I know now that it was a climbing viral load that had me feeling inflammation all over.
They gave me an antacid proton pump inhibitor. It worked. Very well. It kept my stomach calmed down enough that my varices bled slowly instead of a sudden burst. Turns out my stomach was covered in varices. After having an endoscopy and esophageal varices banding, they left the ones in my stomach because they were not accessible. The Omaprazole provided relief for the varices for years before I was even diagnosed.
Ultimately, I sounded like a crazy hypochondriac. But all that time, it was the hep C. When I was finally diagnosed, it was with End Stage Liver Disease. Thankfully, I got rid of the virus when I did. I wonder how many others were misdiagnosed with hepatitis C.