You Have Questions?
Last updated: April 2023
With a hep C diagnosis, we all have questions, and this is normal, or at least common, depending on our views of what normal is.
I had questions, and as time went by, I had even more questions. I still have questions, even though many of them are now answered.
With my own diagnosis, initially, there were few questions (and mostly fear). Thinking my life was over and I would die in the most horrible way.
I was wrong, and although that knowledge gave me some measure of comfort, there was still a lot I did not understand. Not only about my own road ahead but how others could be affected at different points in their hep C journey.
Along the way, I met some amazing experts in the field and peers who were well-informed. I will never forget one esteemed expert telling me to continue asking questions.
He meant more than just answers to questions about my own medical challenges but including questions about how we are affected by policies that restrict care and treatment access. These questions were meant for politicians and bureaucrats who held the power to affect changes that would benefit us; the community affected.
I had questions.
Did the answers help? It did help them to understand better the issues that people were facing, and I think that is worthwhile.
My own knowledge grew like yours has or will, and I learned more about the things that I was facing in my own battles with hep C, which are surely not so foreign to most of us who have lived experience.
I don’t think we should ever hesitate to ask questions, and if the answers are unclear or vague, don’t hesitate to ask for clarity. I understand that we are not all so bold, but the more we do it, the easier it gets.
Knowing what to ask
Make a list if that helps, and it has helped me. Sometimes in the brief time we have available in a clinical setting, we forget answers or information that we receive.
Take notes, that can help remember what was said. For some time now, as a peer navigator, I am asked questions. They run the gamut, and I try to answer them in the best way I have learned.
Sometimes they are way beyond me, and not being an expert per se’ I will always admit my limitations and suggest people ask their care providers. As peers we do not dispense medical advice and only try to help peers navigate their journey as best as we can from our own experience and the acquired knowledge we have learned.
We all have questions and seek answers. Do the answers help us better deal with our own unique situation? Not always in a perfect way, and can lead to new questions, indeed.
My best advice is to keep asking questions until you have an answer that makes sense to you. Two questions I often share with people who are new to this, to ask care providers who give you a hep C diagnosis: What are you going to do, and when are you going to do it? Simple and to the point.