Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.~ Albert Camus
In keeping with my goal to provide regular excerpts from my books, this week I am posting a selection is from the introduction of my first book, Free from Hepatitis C.
In 1988, I was infected with a virus that didn’t even have a name, let alone a treatment. It has since been labeled chronic hepatitis C virus, or HCV. As a nurse working with HCV patients, for many years, I had little to offer but hope for better HCV treatment, as success rates were so low. Now, that hope is a reality. It is true that HCV therapy does not cure everyone 100 percent of the time, but the odds of beating the disease are excellent and improving. Those patients who don’t permanently eliminate HCV still reap health benefits that are usually worth the investment. At this time, I believe that there is more to lose by not trying treatment than by giving it a shot.
I know, it’s easier said than done. After reading the list of side effects associated with HCV drugs, my first reaction was that it would be better to take my chances with the disease rather than attempt therapy. It did not occur to me that HCV treatment might not be as bad as I had heard or imagined. Choosing between living with HCV and going through treatment can seem like being wedged between a rock and a hard place. But what if the hard place is not as hard as you think it might be? Or what if it is hard but temporary and quite bearable? I have learned firsthand that ordinary people, despite their fears and reservations, can successfully complete HCV treatment. I have witnessed many patients finish it. Some were so afraid that it took them years to make up their minds before agreeing to the protocol. Their strength inspired me to try HCV therapy for myself; their experiences showed me the easiest way through it; their stories moved me to share this message of hope.
P.S. It is interesting to see how far we have come. My first book is still relevant for most people, especially since it discusses hepatitis C in a general way, as well as offering treatment-specific insights. However, the hepatitis C drugs in development, and some that are recently approved, make treatment so much easier.