is Deb. I’m a non-hepper. I grew up in California, and came
to Washington State after the death of my husband with my
then two teenage daughters. My daughters are now grown, I
have an adorable granddaughter and a significant other named
Glen. I have now been in Washington for 11 years.
Sweets, and Lyric
at Heppofest, 10/2000
Viv aka “Lyric” first mentioned me writing a story for this
page, I had not a clue what to say being a non-hepper. Viv
reassured me to speak as a caretaker or loved one of a hepper.
Well, then it suddenly became easier, as I have an entire
“Heppo family” here.
became aware of HCV from a long time acquaintance that found
she had HCV. Through her and some other friends I had the
opportunity to meet the most amazing man I had ever met
on the Internet. His name was Joe aka “ Slick” and he was
a young man with HCV in endstage liver disease awaiting
transplant. Joe was one of the kindest, loving men I have
ever met, in spite of his failing health he always had a
great sense of humor. I was only blessed with 4 months of
knowing Joe before he died in August 1999 of hemorrhage
following his long awaited transplant.
the first time it hit me that people die from this disease.
People were suffering and battling this mighty dragon called
HCV. I am a nurse and had basic (very minimal) knowledge
of HCV. I knew it was a chronic/fatal disease causing cirrhosis
of the liver and was blood borne.
Joe’s death I felt a big chunk of emptiness and shock that
he was gone forever. I sought out the site he went to, and
found the message boards at Web MD. I was amazed at the
large group of folks I had never met or heard of grieving
for Joe also. One person in particular caught my attention,
as she seemed to hold the group together in their grief.
I sent her an email offering my condolences and she responded
so graciously. Her name was “Lyric”. She invited me to a
new web site called “ A Big SAM’s Hep C Center founded by
Sam and herself.
I first started coming I mainly read the message boards
and would occasionally post. My HCV lesson had just begun!!!
I was stunned by all the “lay” persons that knew more about
this disease than I did as a member of the medical profession.
I learned the methods of transmission, how the virus multiplies
and mutates, forms and methods of treatment, along with
their terrible side effects. Slowly as I learned more about
this disease I had a host of names of this disease….AbigSam…Lyric…Lil
Runt…Spydercolt…Bear…Gibby…Diamondgirl… Livermann …and the
list goes on.
filtered into chat, not comfortable in the beginning and
worried that I didn’t belong as a non-hepper. But I was
so readily reassured by Lyric, and soon I couldn’t help
but become part of this loving family. I soon knew all these
names and the personalities that accompanied them. I became
close to these Internet friends and wanted to find ways
to make them feel better either with a kind word, a message
of hope, a greeting card, or a funny joke.
became important to me to learn as much as I could. To my
great dismay I have been appalled at the ignorance of the
medical community and Joe Cool Public. The difficulty of
insurance coverage for treatment and or transplant. The
lack of government assistance in education, financial assistance
in the local, state or national governments. Even the lack
of compassion for our US Vets who have been exposed to this
virus while serving their country. Learning that this in
epidemic with millions of folks unaware the have this disease
and may innocently be exposing others. It isn’t hard to
be caught up in the needs of heppers and trying to find
ways to help. You may already have a loved one with this
sleeping dragon waiting silently to suck away their livelihood
and quality of life.
wasn’t long and I was given the honorary title of “Heppo
Angel” which I hold dear and with great fondness. This beckoned
me to reach out more and try to comfort and reassure those
who come with needs to this web site.
I had the privilege and pleasure of being a co-sponsor and
Hostess of Washington Hepfest 2000. It was such a gratifying
experience to see these Internet friends meet and share
real time hugs and smooches!!! It was totally amazing to
find that Most of these folks were exactly as I pictured
them and their personalities loving and coming together
in October 2000 I was able to attend another Heppofest.
There I got to reinforce the friendships I had already made
and make new “real” time friends. There is nothing like
the fellowship, love and caring of a bunch of Heppos coming
together. The perfect recipe for world peace if we could
clone it. I hope one day you will have the opportunity to
attend one and feel love as you never have before.
not why…but I feel I have been destined to be here. I try
to help and offer hope as best I can, but still feel this
destiny has not yet been fulfilled. So I wait for whatever
it may be.
that everyone that reads this will learn acceptance of all
the different lifestyles and belief systems that bring us
together as people and human beings with needs.
don’t have to be a hepper to understand or have compassion
for a hepper. We are a family with only the goal of the
… THANK YOU JOE …for bringing me to Lyric and all your friends
IS THE KEY!!!
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