Walking around with the diagnosis of hepatitis C can be very isolating and lonely. Especially if you are newly diagnosed. The emotions you might be feeling could range from fear, uncertainty, and even anger. What is important to know here is that it’s okay to keep this to yourself but it also is good to have someone to confide in.
The Loneliness of Not Knowing Who to Trust with My Diagnosis
I was mid-thirties when I got the news of being hepatitis C positive. Having my mother to talk with helped me as she too was fighting the same emotions. But once she was gone I was left with the loneliness of not knowing who to trust with my diagnosis. It wasn’t until I began to learn all about the disease did I have the confidence to come forward and actually talk about it with others.
I feel that knowing about how it is contracted, how it is cured, and everything in between gave me the tools I needed when someone came at me with questions. I was confident in my education about hep C and felt that more needed to be said. So with that I posted “my story” on the front counter at my shop (business), I put my picture and talked about hepatitis C. I encouraged my baby boomer customers and pretty much everyone to be tested.
I had one customer in particular that once I posted on my counter, he would never let me come close to him. He would come in set his parts down and step back. At first I was horribly upset and angry with his actions. Here was a man that knew me for over 7 years and not one time treated me differently until he found out I had hep C. This went on for about a year. I would look down stairs and see him standing at my counter when he would come in and glancing at my posted story on the counter. A day I will never forget… I looked down and saw it was him, I proceeded to go down to greet him and our normal exchange of words from afar. Only this time, he did not start moving away. I was confused not sure what was happening when all the sudden he asked me “Kim, can I come around your counter?” Confused even more I replied “Sure”
He came right up to me and put his arms around me giving me the biggest hug. After the embrace he stepped back and proceeded to apologize for his actions towards me and for being a rude person. He said “Today I finally finished your story here on the counter, I finally understand all about hep c. I have been ignorant and rude towards you for the last year and I want to apologize”.
Education is Key
I teared up because here was a man whom for the last year was in fear of me because he was not educated in how hepatitis c is contracted or even exactly what it was. To this day we are very good friends. He even went as far as to get tested being he was from the baby boomer era.
Education about hep C is key. The world will not learn about this epidemic if we do not start talking about it with others. No longer shall we hide in fear or shame. For it does not matter how one contracted the disease but rather we all deserve a cure.
“Not without a FIGHT! HCV”