Wanting to Hide The Effects of Hep C and Liver Disease
Looking back (over 10 years now) at my fight with hep C and my cure, I have learned so much that it has given me insight to all I have felt, experienced, and seen with people with hep C. Meeting others online and discussing symptoms and sharing personal experiences has led many of us to connect in ways that help us deal daily with hep C side effects. These are things that the average person would not truly understand, and we certainly don’t wish they ever would because that would mean they too are fighting hep C.
The many symptoms of hepatitis C
I have talked about the embarrassing effects of dental deterioration and loss of teeth and dental hygiene. I have shared about the constant feeling of fatigue, fogginess, and the lack of enjoying life. It is so hard to share with anyone asking about hep C; When asked, I hesitate because one symptom is not worse than another... and the list going off in my head is very long. So, I sum it up with the basics: fatigue and muscle & joint pain.
Enlarged veins and burst capillaries
A true effect I have personally been fighting is the horrible, ugly purple veins in my legs and areas on my body. They began appearing shortly before I was diagnosed with stage 4 cirrhosis and have only gotten worse over time. When I was sick and fighting for my life, so to speak, I did not put too much attention to those ugly lines and bursts showing up.
As I have cured and I am doing my best to regain my overall health, it has become somewhat embarrassing for me. I know I should not be so vain and stress about looks, but it does cause attention if I wear shorts or summer dresses. These areas of bursting veins and capillaries are rather large. They look like huge bruises and people are drawn to point this out to me. “What happened, Kim?, like I was beat up or attacked or something. I reply always with a nervous giggle “These are my scars of a damaged liver.” Then these people sheepishly reply, “Oh, I am so sorry.”
Hiding my symptoms
I stand there, feeling so unattractive and embarrassed. I gave up going to the gym there for a time because I was so humiliated at how my legs looked. I found these wonderful spandex pants that are crop fit and go just above my ankle/calf of my legs not showing the horrible purple and red spots of my upper legs and knees. In the summer, I am now accustomed to wearing crop pants for they allow me to feel cooler and yet not exposing my insecurities of my legs.
Accepting my scars
I have talked to my doctor about these and unfortunately, it is a side effect the liver that is struggling gives off. Regardless, as a woman, as a woman today, I feel so unattractive with these. In times like these, when I begin to feel sorry for myself, I realize I am alive, I have fought and won the battle of hep C. I have found a man who loves me for me – not my legs. I guess we all can pick apart our bodies and I am no different than any other human trying to fit in.
I am learning to love Kim with purple lines and red bumps. Focus on the positive daily and try not to succumb to what society feels is beautiful; This is a struggle I fight daily.
Does reading hep C patient stories aid you in your journey?