Hello, my name
is Danielle and this is my story:
I was 29 and
getting ready to complete the dream of my life, my Bachelor
of Science Degree! I was a single mother of two on my own,
this was an accomplishment I thought I never would achieve.
At the college
I attended, it was mandatory that you had health insurance.
If you did not (as in my case) they would add the premium
to your tuition for heath insurance through their provider.
Which really was not a bad deal. Anyway, they had a clinic
on campus that I would use that four years for colds, PAP
One day, I went
in for a routine PAP smear. The nurse practitioner said
my urine was dark and had an above-average bilirubin. Then
I got the “how much do you drink” questions. Well, I used
to go out with friends once or twice a week and drink. Sometimes
we could get pretty “rip roaring”. But, never drank outside
of that. Well, she asked me to come in for bloodwork. At
the time, I was getting ready to graduate and was getting
married. My husband had much better insurance (well, that
is subjective) and I decided that I would see a doctor on
One month later
I passed a gallstone. I went to the emergency room in excruciating
pain. I even told the attending doctor about what the nurse
practitioner had said. The emergency room doctor said my
liver enzymes were high, but, the doc said, with gallbladder
problems this was not uncommon. They said I needed my gallbladder
removed. I am here today to tell you, I STILL HAVE MY GALLBLADDER.
I thought, I am not pieces parts here. I will wait and see
if I have future problems. I never did. This was eight years
Some months later
(1994), I told my new PCP about my previous experiences
and wanted a full physical exam. Bloodwork, the works. He
told me everything was normal, I was in perfect health.
Indeed, I thought I was. I was in the best shape of my life.
Two years later,
I developed these strange bumps near my ankles on the top
of my feet. One was worse than the other, and my running
shoes would hurt if I laced them up tight. I got a referral
to a foot doc. He said they were cysts and they would have
to be removed. This is a real touchy area as far a nerve
endings, and I was an advid runner. The office kept calling,
wanting to make a date for surgery. I would not return their
calls. The (so called) cysts went away weeks later.
Its now 1998.
I decided it would be best if I would quit drinking. I don’t
consider myself an alcoholic, just wanted to lead a more
healthy lifestyle. I read the book “Seven Weeks to Sobriety”
and decided to follow the program it suggests. It contains
a vitamin/mineral regimen and suggests that you have a full
liver exam. So I started the program, got the liver panel,
and low and behold, my enzymes were about three times over
what they should be. Now, we had moved. I had a different
PCP. After hearing my story, he suggested I get tested for
Hepatitis. And, guess what, I was positive for HCV. I did
not even know what that was. I thought Hepatitis was something
you get from contaminated food. Thank god for the Internet!
I really am
not sure how I became infected. I am RH negative and was
subjected to Rhogam therapy during and after my two pregnancies
in the 1980s. (Rhogam is derived from blood plasma). I think
that is the most likely, but, I also have a small tattoo
on my “well that's personal” I got at age 19 and snorted
cocaine for a period of time in the 1980s.
But, it does
not matter how we were infected, we are all in this together.
I am now on
treatments to try and clear the virus. The odds are not
in my favor. I am 1a and had a beginning viral load of 19
million. But I have to try. ....
Feel free to
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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