Living With HepC

Personal Stories

The following are stories of people who are living with Hepatitis C or have undergone treatment and are cured. Here, they share their experience of treatment and what types of challenges they faced since being diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

Personal Story - Terry

How long have you had HepC?

I found out in 1980.  I was jaundiced. I went into hospital for 6 weeks. I got a good rest and was put on a low fat diet. I was diagnosed with hepatitis but they didn’t call it hep C back then. I left feeling great and it rested the liver. Years later I went into hospital for a detox and they told me I had hepatitis C.  It was only recently named that.  I lived for over 30 years with hepatitis C.  I had no fear of it. It was like a hidden sickness because no one talked about it.   

How did it affect your life?

For the last 10 years I was living on the streets.  I use to sleep standing against the wall. I knew I had hep C, but I didn't know it was making me sick.  My sleep was all messed up.  I use to put it down to alcohol but now I think it was the hep C.  I dragged myself around.  The hep C was wacking me out of it. The drink killed the pain.  I thought it was just that I needed more drink.  A lot of the people around me had hepatitis C.  People talked about having it but no one really considered it as a problem. 

How did you decide to get treatment?

I didn’t have much of a life.  I was so drained. I had absolutely no energy.  I knew I needed to do something about my drinking.  I went into alcohol treatment.  I got good information and support at Community Response and it was there I realised how far along and how near to death I was if I hadn't of stopped the drink.  I also learned about my hep C and about treatment.  I was too sick for the interferon-based drugs so they put me on the newest treatment that just came out.

What was is like on the treatment?

I was put on the new treatment.  I was nervous and afraid cause I’d heard about the side-effects from the old treatment like hair loss and aches and pains and that kinda thing.  I was grand though. I was getting none of them except for some fatigue.  I took 3 pills in the morning and 2 at night.  After two weeks they told me that there was no trace of the virus.

How do you feel physically and emotionally now that you've completed the treatment?

There was a lot going on for me when I got the news that the virus was cleared.   I had been sober for nearly a year and the council said they were going to give me a place.  I started to feel better physically alright, not instant or nothing, but I gradually started to feel better.  In a way I still felt empty and stuck in my head.  I lived in the kinda way of where I was waiting - waiting for a house, waiting for treatment, waiting to sort myself out.  When these things started happening I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I had been at the mercy of my own circumstances and the council or the doctors for so long.  It is only recently that this has lifted from me. I wasn't allowing myself to kinda say “yes, this is mine.” I feel more like my own person now.  I have stayed clean and sober and I feel I have earned the right for the treatment.  In this sense I feel that I deserve it. 

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