Overcoming Fear of Hep C Treatment
My mind was frozen in fear after my diagnosis. It took me a while to start overcoming my fear of hep C treatment. I went through several stages and every single one of them was paralyzing. By organizing the thoughts, finding a good online group chat, and talking to my doctor, I finally got up the nerve to start taking the hep C meds. I still had a lot of work to do mentally, though.
Where are you in your treatment journey?
Don’t talk about it
In the beginning, I was thinking about it all the time, but I didn’t want anyone to bring it up. When someone asked me about when hep C treatment would start, or how long it would last, my jaw would kind of lock up. No words would come out.
My sisters were the worst, and kept reading about online treatments. They wanted to go to the doctor with me. I could barely talk about it to them. When I was all alone, it was easier to read online. My face felt hot when I saw pictures of people’s liver on the internet. At one point, I started smoking again and would sit outside alone with my phone reading and smoking.
One weekend, my family went for a weekend vacation. I wanted to be alone and refused to go. Instead, I read online and had a yellow notebook beside me. I began to make notes about different lab tests. I worked in silence, there was no sound except my pencil scratching on the paper.
If ALT and AST were important, I needed to know why. When I finally understood that hep C was damaging my liver, it made me want to cry. More words were to be poured onto the paper. I had questions about what I could eat to help my liver. I wanted to talk to other people who had survived the treatment. By finding a discussion with actual hep C patients, everything began to make sense. Sure enough, we had many of the same fears. Although our stories about hep C might be a little different, yet we still had a LOT in common.
Talking to my doctor
I took my yellow notebook, and brought my sister along. Together, we talked to the nurse at my next appointment. We took turns listening and answering. All of my fear of being misunderstood began to go away. The nurse helped me kind of “rehearse” what I wanted to talk to the doctor about. Soon I was jabbering away about all of my hopes and fears with hepatitis C.
Overcoming fear of hep C treatment
When it came time to talk about getting rid of HCV, it was easier than before. I left there that day with a list of lab test results to watch for. In addition, I also had information about which vitamins were safe for hepatitis C, which helped a lot. I learned the names of the medicine he would recommend for treatment. It seemed like things were getting back under control. My runaway thoughts calmed down. I was overcoming my fear of hepatitis C treatment.
Have you been diagnosed with cirrhosis?