Julie, it is normal to feel confused, scared, and depressed after being diagnosed with Hep C. We have all gone through it. I remember when I was first diagnosed, I would get depressed even reading about Hep C, but then I had to get myself straightened out and realize, that it can be a serious condition, but the odds are against it.
You need to get all the information you can -- remember, knowledge is power. You also need to go to a good hepatologist and talk to him or her about this virus.
I strongly suggest that you get professional counseling for the depression, if it seems unmanageable. You will learn coping skills, and will be in a better position to make rational decisions about treatment, and even if treatment is necessary. It isn't for everyone. I've had hep C for twenty years, and my doctors always told me it was not necessary to treat, however, I am in my third week of treatment now and wish I had treated earlier.
I had prepared myself for treatment in such a way that you would have thought I was preparing to go to the guillotine! It has not been bad at all, so far. Side affects from treatment do vary from person to person. There is a great amount of support for you -- this forum is one, and an excellant one at that.
Also, read up on the statistics of disease progression regarding Hepatitis C. 80% of people do not suffer any serious ills. There are people who have had Hep C for 40 years, who have not treated and have relatively minor liver damage. Alternatively, there are others who must treat do to the rapid progression of the disease. Each person is different. At this point you don't need to be bombarded with a bunch of statistics. Take it easy, talk to your doctor, and talk to people on this forum. You will begin to learn. Most of all, you will realize that you are not alone. You have many new friends out there, and here. This is NOT a death sentence.
It's a shock, but the mind will adjust. It's not a death sentence, what geno type are you? Maybe it won't be a year, it could be half that. This site has so much support and information that will help you. Don't despair. I too found out recently. It's a shock. You never know what life will toss you. You will cope with it. It will be OK. Glad you found this site.
thank you,for your kind words..My genyo is 1b ,i'm so grateful to have found this site .IT seems like when i google this disease the same general stuff pops up ,I was haveing a bad night i'm feeling a little better now. The internet is good but can also scare the crap out of you ! Iso thank you again for the support!
When I was first dx and went online for information, I could only take in so much before getting scared. I wish I had found this site early when dx before I started tx, I would have been more knowledgable going into tx and may have decided to wait for new meds, or get the genetic marker test to see if I would respond to current SOC. I did 13 weeks of posion for no benefit. Geno 1 is tough. Today I would not continue SOC unless I had a RVR at week 4 or 8 the latest. The treatment today is too poor with SVR and too long for me.
It must be tough not being able to tell any of your friends or family? Would they be afraid of you or judgmental ? There is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you got it from IV drugs you don't have to tell anyone that if you don't choose to.
You have us to talk to, but I hope you can at least find someone in your life to speak to about it at home.
It's scary when you first get diagnosed as you heard from all the comments. It really get's easier and it as people said, it takes a long long time to get sick from this. There are a lot of good drugs being developed currently, There will be an an explosion in new treatment in the next few years.
Take care, Dave
Some really terrific responses here to jumpstart your way out of the initial shock of diagnosis.
Before my mom knew anything about HCV and when she had breast cancer, she thought I was worse off than she was. I'm so sorry I told her because it upset her so much. :(
HCV is rarely a death sentence, which she didn't know.
I had it for over forty years and lived with it just fine. And I was always a very energetic gal.
After that initial shock of diagnosis (I was diagnosed in 1995 when my kids were young), it really never impacted my lifestyle, other than to reinforce that living 'healthy' would be my best ally. At the time, the success rate for treatment was about ten percent, before ribavirin was added to standard treatment.
If you get a liver biopsy and find out you have little liver disease, you have significant options, one being to wait until your kids are older and treatment is hopefully shorter and more effective.
Many, though, feel strongly that they want to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Your ultimate decision comes down to personal outlook and weighing the pros and cons by gradually learning more about this. There is no fire alarm here.
Treating is a long and sometimes gruelling road to travel, so if you can treat with more promise of success, then that's what I'd recommend for a genotype one, the most common in North America.
Do you know which genotype you are? Do you have an appointment set for a liver biopsy?
Whether or not you share this in the real world (some do, some don't), you can safely share here.