"I am a Hep Hero because I hung in
there with my hep C meds and cleared the virus, despite hideous side effects
and 2 rounds of treatment. (This was before the new meds were available.)"
“I saw the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness...starving hysterical, naked...dragging themselves through
the streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for
the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the
night...who, hollow-eyed and high, bared their brains to Heaven and, staggering
on tenement roofs, saw angels illuminated...” (Alan Watts).
After having the hep C virus for 38 years
or so, I finally fronted up for hep C treatment in 2011. I had had enough of
feeling weary all the time and generally under par regarding energy and
enthusiasm for life.
I was paying dearly for my wild counterculture
hippie youth. The legacy it left me was this awful virus.
Genotype 1a is particularly tricky to clear,
however it was finally cleared in November 2013. I was directed by my
Gastroenterologist to stay on the medications to the bitter end. I was on
triple treatment the second time around, via interferon, ribavarin and
In November 2013, the end of triple treatment meds seemed a very
long way away! Another gruelling 8 months.
I was experiencing side effects that really
knocked me around, emotionally and physically. My hair fell out, my skin itched
most of the time, I lost weight and felt nauseous at the thought of food, my
eyes watered and itched constantly (and still do on a bad day) and my blood
count went way down the scale developing dizzy spells and severe Anaemia.
to have a blood transfusion 6 months into triple treatment as the meds I was on
were 'kill it or cure it' drugs, similar to those used in chemotherapy.
Luckily for me, my liver is not as damaged
as it could have been. Only 6 on the machine that goes beep! For this I am
However, it's all good now. We’ve cleared
the virus! Cause for celebration...(and my health team of doctors, the hep C
nurse, my ashram buddies, U3A and a wonderful Shiatsu and massage healer in
Creswick). And of course, the Yoga ashrams where I lived for 5 years.
Rocklyn ashram I did 'seva' (voluntary work) in the kitchen there for several
months during my recovery, until I got too exhausted to lift heavy cooking pots
anymore. I was also having dizzy spells.
I have begun to go to meditation and
yoga sessions there again as it is only 15 minutes away. Laughter also played a
large part in me recovering my 'happy for no good reason' disposition and peace
The new hep C meds are a 'walk in the park’
when compared to the meds I was on - and this is good news. I applaud anyone
I know it will take me a couple of years to
be 100% back to normal. I have begun having Vitamin B shots and they have
worked wonders. I am not so fatigued every day, my eyes have stopped watering
and itching and my spirits are a little better too.
I am glad that I finally pushed through my
fear and paranoia and social phobia, to pick up the phone and call the
Hepatitis Victoria Infoline. Joining U3A and also a local Folk Club has helped
enormously too. Playing music and singing really does 'soothe the savage
beast'. My spirits are good and my body will catch up in due course.
Today I am
grateful for all the support I have had and am still receiving. This (and
learning how prevalent hep C actually is) has motivated me to move forward and
I became a Hepatitis Victoria Public Speaker and Community Advocate. Pay it
forward as they say. I also wish to contribute towards removal of stigma
related to viral hepatitis, including self-stigma.
I can't but WE CAN beat hep C! You too can
feel 'a part of' instead of 'apart from'. Just pick up the phone and call the
Hepatitis Victoria Infoline.
"Considering that liver cancer is the
fastest growing cancer in the Western World, I urge everyone living with
hepatitis C to bite the bullet and front up for treatment.
The new meds have
made it all so much easier. Still many people to reach though. And many
relapses. We can still offer a hand up as many times as needed. Namaste.