Three years after the cure

Well before three years passed after a blood transfusion that saved my life, I stopped thinking about the transfusion—even though it may have given me hepatitis C. Three years after I was terrorized by bikers, I stopped thinking about the incident, even though it may have been my route to hepatitis C.

Decades later I was told I was infected. The cure, a 12-week treatment with two of the earliest direct-acting antivirals, was swift. My SVR came in January 2015.

But I kept thinking about my disease. I’m a journalist, so I researched hepatitis C and its cures, and I thought back into my past and wrote a book.

After much editing and fact-checking, Greystone Books published Demon in My Blood.

That was in summer 2017. I thought that getting my story out—in a big way—would end my thoughts about the disease. I’m trying to move on to another writing project but it’s hard to concentrate on it. That’s because I keep worrying about my liver, It regressed back to normal two years ago, from being near cirrhosis during my infection. That gave me hope, but not certainty.

I slipped walking on the beach this past summer and then felt a pain in my side. It kept me awake at night for more than a month. I wondered whether the pain was really a bruise or a torn rib. Might it have been some residual damage to my liver instead?

Entering the holiday season, I worried about parties I would attend. I had gone back to having an occasional glass of wine about a year ago. But it’s too easy to accept a refill when someone carries a bottle to the table offering another round. Would another glass be good for me? Would there be unknown vodka in the punch?

Occasionally I get pain in my right side. But I have digestive problems unrelated to hep, which can produce an ache that seems to come from the liver. My doctor said to see him if the pain becomes steady. So far it has not.

I continue to worry and think of hepatitis C, but the good news is and always will be that I’ve been cured.

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