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Liz's Story

Liz1986, Expo in Vancouver,my 10 year marriage is on the rocks, I have a hysterectomy for endometriosis which is interfering with our "lives". The pain I was experiencing was apparently a ploy to keep me from doing activities with my then husband. Murphy's law struck. If anything is going to wrong post-operatively, it will happen to one in the "field". I bled internally that night...I knew from the excruciating pain I was having that something was horribly wrong. Had the rookie nurse figured out what that was, it still would not have saved me from the events unfolding before me right then. I spent the entire night clinging to the side rail as it was the only position of comfort for me with a feeling of terror raging in my head. Three days later,following a routine post-op blood check, it was finally discovered that I had lost half my blood into my abdominal cavity. The solution...a couple of units of blood and I will have a good start to build myself back up to being right as rain.

1987...divorced, single mom, brand new start.

1994, The Red Cross made public facts concerning the possible HCV and HIV tainting of blood from 1986 to 1990. So much for saving money, if they only realized how expensive that mistake was going to be. My doctor thought it prudent to test me. Low and behold if it didn't turn out positive. At the time I was healthy, asymptomatic and since I made my own wine, leading an unrestrained lifestyle in regards to alcohol. I had to have a second look at how I was conducting my life...and the paranoia set in. "Do I have one glass of wine or two? or any at all?" Then I would get angry and say the hell with it! HCV had suddenly become a huge shadow on my life. It wasn't just the socializing, but the long term effects...I suddenly wasn't the healthy person I was used to. I felt betrayed by my own system. Gradually, it took less to make me tired.

1996 a liver biopsy gave me hope that since I was only Stage 1 damage, with a few restrictions, I could probably lead a normal life indefinitely. I hope to never have to experience that one again...in spite of the fact that I am a slender person it took the Radiologist 4 tries to get an adequate specimen. I am a stubborn and independent woman..."hear me roar". I took my self by bus over two bridges, planning to return the same way...nothing to this!? I never felt so alone...lying in this strange hospital, knowing no one, in so much pain, crying my eyes out, having no idea how I was goingto get home. In the end I called my daughter to pick me up...needless to say, I never left
her in the dark again.

2002 Summer...looking forward to a wonderful relationship, neat guy, younger but mature...or so I thought. I thought I was in love. Once we felt comfortable with each other, I decided that I should share a few of my "darker" secrets. One of which is the mild case of G.H. that I contracted from a "friend"-come-lover. He "forgot" he had it. To my amazement, it was the HCV that he was uncomfortable with and broke it off. THAT really hit home...I felt like a walking pile of disease. Nobody would want me now. Last chance.

2003 December...ALT is elevated. A check on the virus and it has become active. Anger reared it's ugly head again..."I didn't ask for this!" I was tired of living under guilt and paranoia, worried yet again for the long term. It had been a few years since I saw the Gastroenterologist, so I returned to discuss the possibility of ridding myself of this curse once and for all.

2004 May...started Pegetron. Just one week. I am one of those weird nurses that can't see her own blood. Giving myself my own injections was going to be very interesting. With my daughter on the couch beside me in case I pass out with a needle stuck in my belly, I overcame my first hurdle. We both laughed and hugged each other...then cried over the chick flicks we filled the rest of the evening with. So far my side effects are mild...flu-like, fatigue.The first night I thought I was turning into a block of ice. At last I have found a cure for my menopausal hot flushes!! I am planning to use walks, yoga and Viseral Work by an RMT as additions to my program.

Fortunately, I have a small selfish streak that I acknowledge now and again. Since I entered into the class action suit several years ago, I have received one lot of compensation and now will be eligible for another. The Red Cross is also obligated to pay any out of pocket expenses not covered by medical or pharmacare plans for the remainder of all of the registered victims lives.

I work in the Daycare Surgical Unit and naturally blood transmitted diseases are a concern of our team. It is interesting in the way that even some health care professionals communicate such facts. When I first started in the Dept, the Recovery Room nurse would bring her patient down with diagnosis, surgery, meds.given and health issues. "They have HEP C" they would whisper, with that all knowing look on their face. My response was "hmmm...so do I". Needless to say, we have all come a long way. I like to think that I have given we, the victims, the respect we deserve for our courage to look this demon in the face and fight back...no matter how we contracted it in the first place.

I am learning to be good to myself and love life as it comes. Hopefully, when I retire next year, I will have a new lease in life...that is my goal.




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