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What Hepatitis C Treatment Used to Feel Like

What Hepatitis C Treatment Used to Feel Like

What Hepatitis C Treatment Used to Feel Like

Some people celebrate their birthdays for an entire month. I’d rather celebrate April Fool’s Day for 30 days. One day of humor is just not enough for me. Here is today’s offering…

In the days of peginterferon, hepatitis C treatment was rougher than it is today. Hepatitis C treatment was really challenging, and when describing their experiences, patients commonly used analogies. It is interesting and sometimes amusing to see how patients portrayed their various encounters. Humor can be a powerful coping mechanism. Here are a few of my favorite images:

  • “I just tell myself that I am in a rented body. I will upgrade it when I am done with hepatitis C therapy.”
  • “It is like menopause, complete with irritability and hot flashes. I love watching men on treatment. I hope it gives them sympathy for perimenopausal women.”
  • “It’s like being at high altitudes, except the view isn’t as good.”
  • “My body has been snatched by aliens, except in this case, the aliens are interferon and ribavirin.”
  • “Treatment is the easiest weight loss program I have ever been on. I don’t even think of food.”
  •  “Every once in awhile, I lose my temper or say something inappropriate. It is amazing how words just pop out of my mouth that I never would have said before. At first I chastised myself about it. Now I just tell myself that I have interferon-induced Tourette’s syndrome. Thank goodness it is temporary”
  • “Hepatitis C treatment feels like a preview of old age.”

In addition to these descriptions, patients sometimes reveal stories about themselves. It is not uncommon for patients to lose their cars or get into the wrong vehicle. One poor fellow thought he had taken his sunglasses off and realized that he had actually taken his dentures out. He did this in public. The only time I ever ran out of gas was during treatment. I had placed a post-it on my dash board, reminding me to do an errand. Unfortunately, the note covered my gas gauge and I did not see the low fuel warning indicator. What can one do but laugh.

Support groups provide wonderful opportunities to swap amusing anecdotes. We laugh quite a bit at the group I attend. There is camaraderie in commiseration. It has been said that misery loves company. Perhaps this is because when we gather, we already have a shared experience that needs few explanations and leaves room for merriment. Although laughter is not a cure for hepatitis C, it sure can ease the burden.

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