Janurary 24 2003
Hi, my name is
Denise. I am 38. I live in Oklahoma with my Angel daughter
Amanda who is 12 and been my everything. I can't tell ya what
great support and love she has always been to me and continues
to be. I used to be a heavy drinker from 18-25, was well on
my way to alcohism when I stopped and was able to see what
I was doing. I stopped completely for several months, then
only occasionally drank after that. I've always had depression
problems but not always known about it. I didn't know what
was wrong with me for the longest time.
After my 1st marriage
ending after 1 1/2 yrs and a beautiful daughter, I was even
more down the road of depression. I contemplated suicide many
times since I was 12 yrs old. I actually held a loaded gun
to my head when I was 13. Took me an hour to talk myself out
of it then. Like i say, I didn't know what was wrong with
me, only that it was hard to be happy or feel joy or pleasures.
I only felt mostly sadness. I didn't know where to turn for
help for me or that there would even be help for me. I had
a tramatic childhood, and I know many people do. I just didn't
get over it so good.
I was saved at
an early age and learned to trust and believe in Jesus. This
was wonderful except that I still wanted to go my own way
on some things in my life. (Do it the hard way) that was me.
Got married a 2nd time and when I knew that the marriage was
deteriating, I then took it real hard, he was very much an
alcoholic and nothing I could do could change that, tho I
tried so hard.
My depression had
finally came to a real head when on the night of Jan. 8th
1994 I took my loaded gun into my bathroom and was determined
to end my life then and there. I was tired of feeling so hurt
and sad all the time. I still didn't know where to turn. My
then 2nd husband heard me and got up and came in and tried
to get the gun and talk me out of it. People that know me
well, know that I am very bullheaded and headstrong at times.
This was one time, i quickly turrned the gun on myself thought
i was aiming for my heart but hit my left lung instead (praise
God I am a bad shot). I was still in very critical shape and
when the ambulance came and they worked on me for an hr before
taking me to an OKC hospital I asked how bad, they said it's
BAD. I prayed then that God would forgive me and let me live.
They took me to the hospital & gave me a blood transfusion
I needed, plus tubes in the lungs and all kinds of goodies
I won't get into. I even had a phyciatrist visit me in the
hospial and I thought what for? I was still not getting it,
I had major depression!!
6 weeks to 2 months
after being out of the hospital I began to get very sick,
very itchy all over, turned yellow(eyes), peeing orange etc...
went to my family dr. and they did blood tests that showed
my ast or alt was over 1,000 and the other one wasn't far
behind it. They threw me in the hospital and quarntined me.
I was so scared. They took every test imaginable and set it
up for me to have a liver biopsy. The Hep A, B, and C tests
came back negative at that time (was still in the incubation
period, i think that's what you call it). So they suspected
I had primary billary cirorsosis of the liver (something like
They sent me home
the itching kept on and on where i could not sleep even. As
a few more weeks went by and they sent me to a GI, he tested
me again for Hep A,B, and C. This time C came back positive.
After extensive conversations with my Gi doctor we came to
the conclusion that I had got the hepc from the blood transfusion.
(note) one week in April 1994 before I was dx with Hep C,
I ran into a friend of mine at the grocery store selling life
insurance, we talked and I ended up buying a policy right
then. A REAL blessing :)
So, as sick as I was my dr. put me on the interferon shots
for 6 mo. (only thing they had for tx at the time) plus I
am a 2b geno, so he thought I had a good chance to respond.
The treatment was a little hard, I lost way too much weight
but after 6 months not only was my enzeme levels down where
they were supposed to be but the Hepc was undetectible, YES!
So I went on with my work and my life as it was.
My 2nd marriage
had ended. So it was Amanda and I from then on mostly. I managed
Pizza Huts for yrs. I was then managing a fish and animal
farm. But I could still work. I felt really good too. In 1995
some things happened again that I couldn't rightly deal with
at all, so I admitted myself into a mental health hospital
where I was told I had major depression. (yeah I know, i should
have figured it out by now!lol). So i asked the easiest quickest
way to get over it, they said electric shock therapy. I said
ok, let's do it. I went thru that for 3 weeks. I got out of
the hospital not even remembering where i lived. I do NOT
recommend Electric Shock tx to anyone ever!
I then started
to try to live so called normally again. Well my daughter's
dad who was on his 4th marriage, his wife decided they should
have Amanda not me. I was crazy for being in a mental hospital.
So all in all we went to court they had money and good lawyer,
I didn't, they won custody of my dear Amanda. Not only did
they not understand or have concern (my ex) about the hepc
or my depression, but also all my other family turned against
me (except my Dad). At that time I had lost everything but
my life. I had lost my daughter, my family and there support,
my job, my health.
I had one friend
ONE, who stuck by me all they way through it and we're still
close friends to this day. I was devastated to say the least.
I then would take a walk every day in the country and try
to come up with one thing to be thankful for. My relationship
with the Lord grew stronger during these hard times. He gave
me strength and held me. And he always has, I just wasn't
aware of it.
I got 2 jobs, got
custody back of Amanda and started a semi-new life. I was
still getting blood tests every 6 months. Soon the enzemes
started too elevate again about in 97. I was getting weaker
and weaker. Work was getting so hard for me. My brain was
getting worse on remembering etc. I was by then taking anti'depressants
(and still am). My Gi did another biopsy I still didn't know
the results cause I thought they would just tell you what
you needed to know. My dr. didn't tell me much at all. And
of course I just went by whatever he said as far as the hepc.
So, in 98 I had
to do 6 mo. of interferon shots again. This time was much
harder on my body and mind. Was pretty sick from the tx but
did complete it. I had by then been advised by friends to
apply for SSD. At that time I couldn't work even a 4hr shift
without being wiped out mentally and physically. Oh and the
tx on the 2nd time did help, but i didn't go undetected that
time. But it did give my liver a needed break.
I am so sorry my
story is this long!! I just don't know any shorter way to
tell it. And please know that I do not seek sympathy from
anyone. I made my own choices, many being bad. I happily now
am able to look back at all of my life and consider it a blessing.
I would not change anything even getting the Hepc if I could.
I know that sounds strange, but it has brought me to the person
I am now. I have grown and experienced much and will continue
to do so everyday. But now, I am not only able to cope most
times myself but to reach out to others and support and encourage
them. So yes, I do consider my life a blessing :)
Okay, to continue
on my mini-book (lol) It took me 2 yrs to get approved for
social security disability. I was hardly able to work at all
by the time I did get it. So, that was such a relief. I Miss
working terrribly badly. I miss making money being that part
of society, mixing with others, having job benefits, yep I
do miss it and I still have hope someday of being well enough
to work again.
From 94 to 2000
I had not met one single person with Hep C. My Dad bought
this computer for my daughter in 2000 as well as one for my
6 yr old sister. I got on the internet and for the 1st time
found others with hepc too! I wasn't alone! I found mounds
of information. There was so much I didn't know about hepc,
tx, etc. I found support groups for hepc! I can't tell ya
how delighted I was to find others i could relate too, it
still tears at my heart to see so many new ones because this
virus is so indescribably terrible in what it does to people
and families and there lives.
I made some friends
online, I even went to a walk on washinton DC in April 2000
sponsored by Hepatitis Foundation International. There were
about 100 of us from all the states there to ask our senators
for awareness, education, and more funding for a cure for
hepc. At that time II was being very politically active in
getting help for everyone with this virus. I was also (am
still) very active in raising organ donor need awareness.
After the time and money I spent trying to raise awareness
and help for our cause I finally came to the conclusion that
i would be of more help at home. (this is after seeing how
our politicians & Media have kept sweeping the issure
of HepC under the rug. Out to pasture.
So I turned to
helping others with hepc by support, etc. I also continue
to raise awareness of HepC and organ donation at schools,
newspaper, even a stranger that has time and wants to hear
about it. Til our Government starts taking some initiative,
I am best needed and my time is more well spent doing these
other things i feel. I finally after 6 yrs. started gathering
all my medical records from all my present and recent doctors
and hospitals. This made quite a file and helped me to learn
more about what these tests mean and learning to compare tests
with other tests. I highly recommend doing this. It gives
you a certain amount of control with your health. And most
clinics, etc. will make copies for free.
I came to hepcnet
(my 2nd home, my wonderful family) in the spring of 2000,
actually I was looking for help for a friend of mine who was
needing a transplant (by the way, many at hepc net were already
helping her and many others came to her aid and she got her
a new liver! yeah!). I found the most wonderful site in the
world, the most caring, comforting, imformative, loving and
sometimes funny :) people I have ever came across! I was so
welcomed so loved that I made it my home! (thank you so much
Lyric, Sam, Wanna, and everyone that makes the site what it
is) it's been alot to me to be a member there :)
I then that summer
was talked into going to my very first heppofest in Colorado
Springs. Ommg, I cannot express how I felt being with the
70-100 heppo;s and there families that were there. It was
an experience I will never forget and hold in my heart. Everyone
was so warm and loving and hugging!! This family has been
with me thru some of my worst times, and my good times :)
they have been so generous with there support and love :)
I continue to get
weaker, also more symtoms more illnesses I am getting brought
on maybe by the hepc or the tx or maybe not. I am dealing
with Fibromyolgia, and possilbe Lupus. I had my last liver
biopsy in April 2001, came back that I had stage 2 Fibro (not
too bad!) and this time I asked for results, lol. Then my
enzemes continued to elevate and my viral load so I did tx
again in Jan 2002, this time combo/interferon. I could only
get thru 4 months of it this time, it made me just too sick.
I couldn't take the ribavirin at all, but it did give my liver
another break somewhat.
I continue to
grow Spiritually and get closer with my Lord & Savior
all the time. And through this, I have been able to finally
come to grips with this virus and these other illnesses I
have. I still have them, they will most likely get worse,
I don't know. It is not a big matter in my life anymore. I
am no longer dreading or anxious about the future or looking
back and beating myself up about my past mistakes. I am living
one day at a time, doing what I can do and feeling good about
myself for that. I am also learning and have learned how to
be thankful and content with what I have and what is around
I get joys and
pleasures out of the simpliest of things anymore and I love
it! I owe my spriritual recovery and everything else good
in my life to God. I also have a daughter that has been with
me thru the good and the bad and we share a beautiful bonded,
trusting, relationship. I have a wonderful church family,
my family, friends online and not. I have so much to be happy
about and most the time I am happy.
Sometimes i get
down cause I miss doing some of the things I used to be able
to do, it does get frustrating, but I have to keep searching
for the things I still can do :) Like many wise ones on this
site have said "We will most likely die with hepc, not
FROM it" and i belive this also. I also believe if we
have faith and we love and support one another we can not
only survive this virus but we can find happiness and a sense
of humor in all of this stuff we go thru. I pray every night
for all here that God will give you comfort, strength and
Thank you so much
for taking all this time to read my story, I apologize again
for it being so long. I also want to say I am here for anyone
that needs an ear, info, anything i can do. And i truely mean
it :) And I thank God for each of you and ask that he blesses
you and your families.
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