Let Go of Past Treatment Fears: Don't Be Afraid to Start Treatment
Having hepatitis C can be extremely overwhelming and full of fear. Back in 2005, after learning my mother tested positive and then myself also tested positive, I was beyond scared. I couldn’t eat or sleep, and all I did was fret over what to do next. Back then, you were referred from your family physicians to an infectious disease doctor (or at least I was)... that there put the fear in me alone. I was now labeled.
Struggling with my diagnosis
Shortly after my mom passed away from hep C in 2006, I started frantically doing all I could to figure a way out of this despair. I wanted to live; I needed to live for my kids. I was a single mother, running my companies and doing all I could to keep life normal and running smooth. I had my down time alone when I shed my tears and alone time in my car when I could scream and plead with God to let me live.
"Not sick enough" for treatment
My infectious disease doctor back then discouraged me from treating with the then only treatment for hep C - Interferon. I would try to dig into information from him about it and all he would say was “Kim, you are not sick enough to worry about using this medication”.
"Are you serious?!" I thought. "I just witnessed my own mom die from the very disease I was now carrying, and you are telling me to wait?" I was so confused. Fast forward to 2010 – me finding a new doctor (hepatologist) after reading one of his published hepatitis C books. Dr. Everson from University of Colorado Hospital was now to become a key figure in my journey with hep C. After learning about my now stage 4 liver prognosis, he suggested a treatment regime of interferon and a new drug to aide in my cure – Ribavirin. We went through all the protocol for it and I understood the horrible, nightmare side effects. However, now, I had no choice but to treat with this horrible regime.
I have since learned after being on this medication the devastating effects it took out on my body, and now the lasting residual ones I live with daily. It was a horrible medication and yes, people were deathly afraid to go on it. They avoided it at all cost, and rightfully so.
Today's treatment options
However, times have advanced in the realm of medications to treat hep C today. The newer medications are no where near the old days of interferon. Now it is on average one pill a day for about 8 weeks and you are cured. No huge horrible side effects. This is the message we must get out into the hep C communities: That now is the best time to treat hep C. You no longer must fear the horrible medications, nor a death sentence you once got being diagnosed with hep C.
I talk to many who contact my foundation about being treated and explain to them it is not the past anymore. These regimes are so much friendlier to our bodies. The time to treat and get cured is now. Ask your doctor today about the newer, up-to-date regimes of curing hep C.
Does reading hep C patient stories aid you in your journey?