It was March 31
of 1999 and my life was going along perfectly. I was a junior
in high school at the time and had just gone to look at colleges
in New Jersey and Philadelphia. I'd loved all of them and
before that evening the question that was worrying me was
how an earth I was going to choose the right one for me! Two
weeks before that on March 17th I'd gotten inducted in to
the National Honors Society which is a big accomplishment
for a junior at my high school.
That same day My
Mom had taken me to the Doctor for a physical exam. She decided
to get me tested for some disease called hepatitisC what ever
that was. I had no idea what it was. She explained that there
was a slight chance that I might have gotten it from blood
transfusions when I was born in 1981 but said that the odds
that I had it were extremely unlikely. So I didn't really
think about it or worry about it until after dinner on March
31 two weeks after the doctors appointment. The phone rang
and my Mom picked it up. I was eating ice cream half listening
to her conversation. I started paying attention when her voice
changed and I could tell something was terribly wrong. She
said, "Yes, Yes, I understand. Thank you so much for calling.
Good bye." I asked who it was and she said that it was my
doctor calling her with the results of my blood work. She
began to cry and she told me that I had hepatitisC.
I couldn't believe
it. A numbness over took me and pulsed through my body. How
could I be infected with something and not even know it? How
could this be happening to me? The numbness turned to tears
and I cried and cried. My Mom and I held each other and sobbed
on the kitchen couch. The next day my Dad stayed home from
work to be with me. I was on Spring break at the time my story
begins. He started calling doctors and people who he knew
through his work trying to figure out where I would get the
best care possible in the Washington DC Metro area where we
live. Finally we decided on George Town University Medical
center and my Mom made an appointment to see a liver doctor
there on April 12th.
In the mean time
I was grappling with the realization that I had something
wrong with me that no one could see or know it was there.
I didn't want to go back to school and have to explain this
to all my friends and teachers. I went back to school in a
dream world. I went to classes but it was like I wasn't there.
I heard my teachers talking the slam of locker doors and the
laughing and talking of my fellow students but it was like
I was in a fog separated from everyone else. I didn't want
to tell them what was wrong didn't want them to know what
I was going through. Some days I would miss school all together
because I would wake up and start to cry. I was tired because
I spent many sleepless nights on the internet trying to make
sense of what was happening to me by reading papers and studies
which confused me.
At the meeting
with the liver specialist two weeks later we decided that
I would take a year off between high school and college and
try treatment to cure the HepC. In April of 2000 I started
treatment and spent a year feeling tired and not myself at
all. I did this because I hoped that the treatment would knock
out the virus before it started eating away my liver. In April
of 2001 I came off the treatment with no virus in my blood
stream! I felt great! I was going to college hepC free! I
couldn't believe it! This feeling lasted until August eighth
when my Dad and I called my doctor at Georgetown from a small
town in England where we were on holiday. He informed us that
the results of my blood work taken in July showed that the
virus was back in my system. I couldn't believe this! How
could this be happening to me! We got back home and made an
appointment to talk about our options with my doctor. It was
decided that I would go to college as planned at the end of
August and restart treatment in December.
Now it is January
and I have a semester of college under my belt. I am going
to go back to school in a few weeks on treatment and this
time I will beat the dragon! I just know it! Thanks for reading
this story! I hope it makes you feel a bit better if you have
just found out you have hepC.
If you want to
contact me my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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