The Journey

Sitting here in another airport gate waiting to board I was reminded about the journeys that we experience in life, and the things that have happened in my life since being diagnosed with hepatitis C. The travel presents its own challenges, with waiting and waiting some more. This is not so different to what many of us who have lived experience with hep C encounter. Waiting for this or that is familiar to us all, and if it is not something you have experienced, consider yourself lucky. Some of us do better with waiting, and honestly it has never been a strong part of my character even though I think I may have gotten better at it since I was first introduced to the process of waiting for test results and treatment and the results after and on and on. This is part of the journey, and it appears to be inescapable. I could try to spin it as a positive, but that would be phony. Like I said, I am not the world’s most patient person despite some improvement in that area.

Someone once said that it was the journey and not the destination that mattered most, or something like that. I guess it depends on one’s own perspective on things. For most of us who have lived with HCV it is about getting rid of the virus and being well again. Is this the destination or just part of the journey? I think it is a healthy amount of both. The journey does not end with a cure, and this is something I talk about a lot in my work with advocacy. Being cured is perhaps the most important thing in the minds of most of us, without a doubt, but there is much more that needs attention.

With there being so many things that are connected to living with hepatitis C, it is hard for me to identify what is the most important outside of cure, as defined by our community. Access to treatment is a big issue we are all familiar with and it can vary widely as we have seen. Without question it remains a huge issue here at home and globally. Simply getting a diagnosis looms large in the big scheme of things as we are still aware of how many people who are living with HCV and don’t know they are living with HCV.

I recently spoke with someone I know who was diagnosed years ago but has chosen not to treat because he feels fine now. I have tried to convince him that feeling ok now is no indication of how the illness has or will progress. It is his own decision to make and is the same for all of us, so I do not push the point. This is part of the journey. We all need to be comfortable with our decisions and not be swayed by those who would tell us what to do. They may have opinions like we all do, but it is up to you always. It is your journey, not theirs.

We all have a unique story to tell about our hep C journey, and although there is a lot that is similar, we remain individuals. One important part of the journey for me is hope. Hope alone will not get us through, but it remains an important part. Hope is what I wish for you and me, at every step, regardless of the obstacles we may face you can overcome them and get stronger.

Happy Trails.

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