Training & Development Officer Susan McRae's Story
I was diagnosed as having the hepatitis C virus back in 1997.
At that time myself and the medics involved downplayed the potential seriousness of the disease. It was not until 2006 that I began to experience any significant symptoms, the most difficult to live with being a constant itch. This despite having had a significantly damaged liver for many years.
I have undergone treatment three times, unsuccessfully. Throughout my treatment I managed to continue working. This was exhausting, but got me out of the house – which is very important when you are tempted to hide under the duvet all day and all night.
It was around the time of my first time on treatment that I was introduced to the Hepatitis C Trust via a friend who, when doing research for her reflexology training, had found The Trust’s website; she said I should volunteer to work on the helpline and this I did. I then moved on to a paid position as an administrator in the London office but, after a short spell helping set up our office in Edinburgh, it became apparent that I was heading towards end stage liver disease. By 2010 I needed a liver transplant, and I was one of the lucky ones who got a new liver – just in time!
After a speedy recovery, back I came to work in The Trust – this time as Training and Development Officer. This is what I do now, and I really enjoy it.
I go out and about delivering a wide range of hepatitis C training – core awareness, pre and post test discussion, how to do testing – to a wide range of people – in prisons, drug and alcohol centres, hospitals, homeless services and community pharmacies. Not only do I get to pass on my knowledge and personal experience of hepatitis C, I meet a lot of motivated people who like me, are committed to increasing awareness of this curable but largely undiagnosed disease.