Relationship & Hep C: Letting Down Walls
How do you explain your health condition to a newcomer in your life? This is so difficult, especially for those fighting a stigmatized disease such as hepatitis C. For myself, it is still difficult to share how I feel having end stage liver disease and being cured of hep C. Many of us avoid the topic, trudge through issues with how we feel to avoid the mention of what really is going on…
Should we talk about hep C?
But let’s say this person inquiring about your health is a love interest or someone you are in a relationship with. Is it good to sugar coat and fudge your way through that conversion? My answer is NO. No, it is not good to deny this person who is asking about your health information regarding your life, your health etc. Don’t get me wrong here. If you just met this person and do not really know them well enough yet, by all means, you have the right to hold off this topic until more time is invested in a relationship with this person.
Accepting our realities
I have reached this point in my relationship where the man I am seeing has genuinely asked about my health and wanted to know more about what is going on in my life (as he knows a little of my health condition). I do not know about you, but I tend to brush off how I feel or minimize it so I do not draw attention to myself. After all, no one wants to be that sickly person in a relationship. We all just want to appear normal, be normal, and have normal health. The catch here is that we are not “normal”. Our life consists of numerous doctor visits, numerous medications to treat our liver disease, and brain fog. We fatigue earlier than normal people. We may get cranky sooner than most and our ability to cope with everyday stresses are pretty much zeroed out.
Letting new people in
So, as I sat there, looking at this man, all I could do is tear up. My first instinct is to push him so far way from me. I wanted to find every reason why I would not be a good match for him and why he would be so much better off with someone healthier. But a tiny little voice inside me said, “Kim, this man is genuine, he has proven to be kind hearted, compassionate, empathetic, and loving… Are you really willing to just let this man go because of your ego or insecurities within yourself?”. I was not giving him a chance. Slowly, I began to explain my insecurities of not feeling attractive because of the constant bloat from liver disease, the fatigue I get when I over do the day. The crabbiness I feel if I do not eat regularly, or get enough sleep. I explained the neuropathy pain in my legs the muscle and joint pain, the numerous medications and doctors’ visits. I told him I am far from your perfect “date” and would not blame him if he chose to just be friends. I was trying to give him the closest door to escape.
The risks paid off
A few moments passed, taking a deep sigh, I knew he was going to tell me he wishes me well and let’s be good friends… but what came out of his mouth filled my eyes with tears. He did not care about the bloating, or the doctor visits; He too gets fatigued after long, hard days. He said he appreciated me being honest and upfront as he could tell that was difficult to share that part of my life. He said that he saw something in me when he met me. My compassion for people, my drive and zest for life. And said my beauty, well that I was the most beautiful woman to him both inside and out. He said he knew I was scared and that deep down I wanted to trust him. He proceeded to me I was to tell him when I hurt and when I need to rest.
He wants to see where this goes for us. That he sees more than a few dates with me. I accept all you are and all you will become. Give me a chance to prove to you what you mean to me… Ok, yes, I was sobbing by then. The words were beyond sweet and compassionate.
Don’t sell yourself short
Why is it so hard for us with health conditions to let that wall down? We learn to care and depend on only ourselves, but we are missing so much more from life if we do this.
Don’t sell yourself short in coming into new relationships. Learn to let your guard down and let those who love proves to be genuine in. I could have missed out on the most amazing man had I just turned my head and walked the other way.
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