HepCnet Logo, Hepatitis C information and support, hep c information, hepatitis c message boards chat support and informationHepatitis C resources and support hepcnet, abigsam and lyric hepatitis c information and support Make a Donation »  
Main Page | About HepCnet | Contact Info
Hepatitis C
Viral Hepatitis C - Frequently Asked Questions
Nutrition & Hep C
Nutrition and Diet Recommendations for people with Chronic Hepatitis C
Nutrition & Cirrhosis
Nutrition information for people with Cirrhosis
Drugs & Liver Damage
Drugs that may cause liver dysfunction or damage
Hepatitis C Tests
Serologic Tests Used to Diagnose Hepatitis C
Scoring/Staging Hepatitis C & Cirrhosis
Scoring Systems for Staging of Chronic Hepatitis and Cirrhosis
Message Boards
Open Discussion
Treatments & Studies
Heppo Friends & Fun
HepCnet Chat
aBigSam and Lyric's
Hep C Support Chat
Member Stories
Read members stories about how Hepatitis C has affected their lives

Photo Album

Pictures of some of our members
Artistic Expressions
Various forms of art submitted by our members
News & Info
Heppo Fest information and other News
Recipe Exchange
Recipes submitted by HepCnet members
Sign Guestbook
View Guestbook
Make an entry to our Guestbook and let us know that you were here!
Related Links
Other sites that offer information and support about Hepatitis C
Link to Us!
How to Link your Web Site to HepCnet
Web Rings & Awards
Web rings that HepCnet has joined and awards received
The Hep C Stuff Archive
The official repository for every member of HepCnet to store info and links
Top    Back

Coffee's Story


My name is Karen Bell but every one knows me as Coffee, a high school nickname attributed to my massive consumption of the heavenly liquid. I live on the coast in Rhode Island, where I ended up during my hitch hiking day's way back in the early 70's. I am a 51-year-old artist and mother of 2 boys, Sean, 29yrs and Justin, 18yrs.

In 1994 I donated blood. A few weeks later I received a letter from the Red Cross informing me that I had Non-A Non-B Hepatitis. My efforts to discover what exactly this meant for me seemed to go nowhere. My Dr. basically told me to go home and not worry about it. By 1998 the affects of the Dragon were beginning to take a major toll on my body. My Dr. sent me to a specialist and a decision was made not to start treatment as I had lost substantial weight already (was 105 lbs) and she didn't think that I could tolerate it.

That year, my new found Hep angel and leader of my support group, lost her battle with the Dragon, my abusive marriage fell apart for good and I lost my house and bought a 21' camper (the Dragon Wagon). I rented a room for the winter and lived in my truck for the summer. Since my kids were pretty well grown and I no longer had material possessions to worry about, I filed for bankruptcy, began educating myself about HCV, forced myself to gain weight, made the decision to start treatment and buckled down for the ride.

In January of this year I informed my boss, in a small art studio, that I had decided on treatment and would start in February. I had medical coverage through work and my boss seemed supportive.

I received a phone call from my eldest son the first week of February, informing me that my first husband (his father) had been admitted to the hospital in the final stages of cirrhosis (HCV) and it didn't look good. During that week my son had to make the decision to cut off life support and allow his Dad to pass. I went with him that day and together we held each other and stayed with Cliff for the 8 hours it took for him to pass. There just are no words for the way that day affected both of us. One week later, to the day, I took my first injection.

My sides were brutal but my determination was strong. I began working 1 day less per week and managed to carry my weight the rest of the week. My life, like so many others, had completely changed. I lost most of my hair and all of my pizzazz, my wbc count dropped, my bone density went severely low, and I developed arthritis and emphysemic shadows on my lungs. Some days just walking my little dog Kesey is a challenge. In May, after coming face to face with an extraordinary amount of ignorance in both the general public and the medical community, I decided that the world needed to have a book written by the only people who could truly educate them, the courageous people who were dealing with HCV and the devastating effects of treatment, the Dragon Slayers themselves. That was when I started HepCAwareness

In April and May my boss hired 2 new people to work in the studio. In June she explained to me that the money was tight and that she had to let me go. Since I had worked there for 4 years and been a very reliable and hard working employee, it didn't take a genius to figure out why I was the one to go. Since it was a small business it wasn't covered by Cobra. After a million phone calls all of my options have run out and I find myself without any medical coverage. I just had my 6mth PCR done and my viral count went down but not enough to be considered a responder. I suppose that since I am a 1a genotype that the decision to stop treatment at this point may have been made anyway but I'm (((ANGRY))) that that choice was taken out of my hands!

I intend to direct both the anger and compassion I feel towards my commitment to make the rest of the world outside of Hepperland aware of what is going on. I have read hundreds of compelling stories from fellow Dragon Slayers and our stories need to be heard. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I refuse to be a victim. My mission is clear and my resolve is firm. Look out world here I come!

Be blessed, be well,
Coffee Bell

You can reach me at: HepCAwareness@aol.com

This is my on-line art gallery: http://www.DragonflyGalleries.com


Click here to return to the member stories list




    Page last updated: March 7, 2003

Home  |  About HepCnet  |  Contact Information
Hep C FAQ  |  Nutrition & Hep C |  Nutrition & Cirrhosis
Drugs & Liver Damage  |  Hep C Tests  | Scoring/Staging Hepatitis C & Cirrhosis
HepCnet Message Boards  |  HepCnet Chat  |  Artistic Expressions  |  Member Stories  
Photo Album  |  News & Info  |  Heppo Recipe Exchange  |  Sign Guestbook  |  View Guestbook
The Hep C Stuff Archives  |  Related Links  |  Web Rings & Awards  |  Link to HepCnet!

Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002. 2003 HepCnet.net. All rights reserved

Site Design by Wolf Web Publications.