Yes, you're a "big chicken" but you may be taking the right approach. I have no idea what I'd do if I were in your spot but all the issues you're agonizing over are ones I'd agonize over as well. Given my weight loss and inability to do any sports/activities during treatment, I also told a few friends I was on "Chemo Therapy" as an explanation. Often people will just let that slide but when one pressed me, I said it was a blood disorder. I got the impression that another thought maybe I was treating for prostate cancer so I just let him assume what he wanted. That said, many here are quite open about their Hep C status. A very personal and individual decision.
Put me in the 'big chicken' category, for many of the same reasons. My cover story was a long standing chronic liver disease, for which I was taking a form of chemotherapy, usually followed by the 'don't worry, its not cancer' when I saw the look of dread.
While not entirely straight, this avoided the very problems that you guys described. Since finishing tx and beginning to recover, I've told both children that it was HCV and made a strong point of how infection can happen with a single event. I sure they are not at risk, but maybe they will help prevent their friends from making a big mistake.
Not sure I'd take the same approach with younger children. The younger they are, the more unconditionally honest and guile-free they are. The risk of your 10 year old actually bragging that "my dad has a HCB, and he gives himself big needles and he gets real sick" is very real :-).
I told both of my kids straight out - but they are a little bit older at 16 & 18.
At work most people know I was on "chemo" but not WHY except my boss (and my old dirtbag boss). I figured I'd be honest with them in case I was too ill to work - but I still forced myself to all 72 weeks so I wouldn't chance losing my job.
I was glad I was honest with my kids because they were old enough to handle it and well...I knew they would notice that something was really wrong with me while I did treatment anyway.
They were very supportive and I was glad when I developed the riba rage that I had told them or they would have HATED me at the end of it WHEW!
I certainly can empathize with everyone here...You can go thru a kaliedescope of emotions as to what to do..It's kind of a big struggle....
For one,no matter how you or I contracted HCV, there is one thing thats for sure....Most everyone that has it got it from IDU,not everyone but most...Stigma time, How do I explain this to my kid or kids....I can say this is most everyone I tell I have HCV they "KNOW" right off the bat how I got it...It's the most predominant way....
I for one am NOT going to be held in the bondage of Shame from my past...
I contracted HCV and thats the end of it...Now I inform my kid of how I GOT IT and how to keep from getting it....
But yes I have said I was on some cancer therapy...I won't anymore..Just remember your a human being and you make mistakes...Oh well thats life.
Better to be up fornt with them now then to be found a liar later,and foment anger and resentment because you felt you couldn't trust THEM. I would only mention this to a teenager..As the younger one have no clue about anything at all.....
The beauty of it is each person gets to decide how to handle it and act accordingly. To me, the "right" way to handle it is whatever way you feel is the best for you.
The issue of the stigma of this disease adding yet another layer of trauma for you to face on top of having this disease is a real one. The ignorance and fear can influence your and your children's lives, sadly.
How sad it is that people have to substitute an "accepted" disease (ie cancer) for their real one to receive the compassion and support they so rightly deserve because of the general lack of education about this illness.
With this diagnosis of Hep C, at first I was in denial, insisting it was someone else's bloodwork. After I grasped the situation and starting learning more, I did accept this. I have not kept the diagnosis a secret from anyone. While I don't tell just everyone, my close friends and family, and certain other people do know about my situation. I don't feel everyone needs to know, but those that I do share this with, I am always seeking knowledge, advice, answers that perhaps someone else may know about (doesn't mean I always take the advice - ha ha) and perhaps I may be of help to someone else. Good Luck to You.