| || ||I was diagnosed in July 2004. My diagnosis came after months of blood tests and appointments that had started the previous autumn when I had gone to my GP because there was something wrong with my bladder. After many blood tests they told me that I had hepatitis C genotype 1b.|
Anna - Helpline Admin Assistant
It came as a complete bombshell as I had never heard of hep C and so spent the first few weeks combing the internet looking for every possible scrap of information I could find. A whole new world had opened for me, one that I had to learn about and come to terms with so as to find ways of dealing with it.
It seemed clear to me that it was vital to lead as healthy a life as possible, which meant eating well, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and combating stress. Once I had read about treatment I was determined to go down that road and so started the 48 weeks of treatment. After 3 months I had more than a 2-log drop in my viral load so everything seemed to be going well. In the end I had 72 weeks of treatment. Then came the bombshell when the final blood test showed that the virus had returned.
I was determined to come to terms with this and started going to the Trust support group meetings more regularly to get as much information as possible about new treatments and to be with people who were in the same boat. As time went on I realised it was a way not only of sharing experience but also of being able to use my own experience to offer advice and support. At one of these meetings two separate people brought up major problems they were experiencing. The way the group reacted was amazing. It was just so supportive, both in terms of practical offers of help as well as in the empathy that was there.
That meeting was a turning point for me and I now wanted to be involved and help in some way. So I approached Sam, the Helpline Manager and now here I am coming in every Wednesday helping out on a variety of admin jobs. Helping the work of the Trust is a major motivation for me and I am happy to be able to make a contribution and give something back for all the support I have had.