Supporting Other People with Hepatitis C: Talking about Your Diagnosis
Do you know someone fighting hepatitis C? Someone who is newly diagnosed? Perhaps a friend or family member?
Recently, I was contacted at my foundation by a lady who learned that a co-worker was just diagnosed. This lady who contacted me was herself a hep C fighter and now survivor, so the topic touches her heart. Upon overhearing a conversation between two co-workers, she wanted to come out and speak to her just diagnosed coworker, but didn't want the person to feel like she was intruding or eavesdropping on a private conversation.
How we can help other people with hepatitis C
In responding to her message, I expressed that it is normal to want to help others now that you are cured. I explained that it would be best to start a conversation with several others at work, including the person she knows is hep C positive, about being a hep C fighter and now survivor herself. I suggested that she open up about how hep C is contracted and share her story with fellow workers to include this newly person diagnosed. This could open the door for this coworker to possibly come forward to you personally about being diagnosed. As we all know, it is scary and the tendency to feel alone and isolated after being diagnosed is normal.
Some people want to share their hep C story, but others do not
However, this is a hard situation, as we all know how we felt newly diagnosed, afraid to be treated differently and possibly shunned. Yet on the other side of that, the possible comfort in knowing someone else who understands could be healing and supportive. It is a topic that needs to be held with care and compassion. This other co-worker may or may not come forward after sharing this lady’s personal story and that must be respected. Do not force anyone to step out if they are not ready to. Let this co-worker process the information and perhaps, in time, she will come seek this lady out for advice and support.
It is a tender subject, but feel-out situations like this and you will know when or if the timing is right to open up that door to anyone diagnosed. Being given news about a hep C diagnosis, it is a gradual acceptance we all must process.
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