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Embracing Hepatitis C

holdingWhen I was a student nurse, one of my patients was a middle-aged woman whose leg was amputated above the knee. The wound was healing nicely, but she wasn’t. She could not accept this, and she would not look at her remaining leg. My job was to help her heal grief, and to guide her to a new wholeness, the wholeness that begins with acceptance.

Although I am no longer attending to patients at the bedside, my work is pretty much the same. Healing always begins with acceptance, and if I can help you to embrace that, then I know life will be easier for you. Living with hepatitis C can be hard, but fighting hepatitis C is hell. Fortunately for some, their hep C will be cured. However, many still don’t have access to treatment, and they must bear the weight of the virus.

It’s easier to bear it in the company of others. With wonderful support groups such as HEP Forums and Facebook’s Family and Friends, no one has to be alone with hep C. Support groups are where we begin to take off our bandages and let our wounds heal. In this case, the wounds are fear, anger, shame and grief. Shame may be the deepest wound, but fear can be the hardest one to heal. But we can heal, and it begins with acceptance.

Back to my patient with the amputated leg. I used love to guide her to acceptance. Eventually she did what I did, stroked her beautiful damaged self, and grew to accept her new reality. So it is with hepatitis C. Embrace and love your precious self. Accept what is, and face it shoulder-to-shoulder in the company of those who know what it is like to bear hepatitis C.

 

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Ann Bardue May 7, 2016, 10:36 AM

    Thank you Lucinda. We welcome any one fighting this battle or helping someone fight. I hope they can find support and encouragement to begin the fight.

  • Robert (Bob) Goode May 7, 2016, 10:47 PM

    Acceptance is hard, my Carla, after her diagnosis in 2001 and already with end stage liver disease, stage 4 cirrhosis was classified terminal, 2 1/2 years expected to live. Though she accepted that I could not. Always the optimist I kept her fighting. Then in 2006, yes 5 years later she had the chance for a liver transplant. Jubilation on both our parts, but that happiness was short lived. MRI found a tumor on her left kidney which dropped her from the transplant list. One of her team doctors, Dr. Ramos spoke with us and once again gave her a 2 1/2 year prognosis. Carla accepted this, but I? No. At first I fell apart, but soon my optimistic self came back and forced me to believe that maybe, just maybe there were still a way. Again I would not accept the inevitable. Then in early December 2008 my optimism was dashed. Carla stated having multiple uncontrollable seizures. Unknown to me Carla had talked to her hospice doctors and nurses and agreed to be put into an induced coma so neither of us would have to go though the constant agony, her the physical and me the mental. I stayed at her bedside holding her hand almost continually for the next two weeks. Then on December 28th 2008 she took her last breath. Acceptance no, I still couldn’t. I know she is gone and my life continues, but to this day I haven’t been able to accept her death. I go on, but I know I am a broken man. My life is broken, I am broken. 6 years gone and I still cannot find the acceptance. I go on, I eat, I garden, I have my dog Harley but still the grief and loneliness hits and leaves me almost bedridden. At 63 I don’t see a joy in the future. I am though a part of The Hepatitis C Family and Friends Support Group, since 2009. I’m now part of the groups Admin team which has really helped me find purpose. I can help pass on knowledge and hope, understand and compassion. Not just to those fighting this disease but also the many like myself, The Left Behinds. And there are many in our group, those who have lost their friends and love ones. For those who find they have hepc acceptance is often easier, for so many the new treatments have given them back their lives their families. But for me no.

    • Lucinda Porter May 9, 2016, 4:46 PM

      I am sad about how difficult this is, but grateful you give to others. Thank you for sharing your story.

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