Today is World Hepatitis Day, a disease that affects millions around the world. In honor of this important awareness day, fight fear and misinformation with facts and inspiration. Lucinda Porter is a Registered Nurse, educator, advocate and patient who has undergone treatment for Hepatitis C not one, but three times. Read about her journey and mission to bring education and awareness to an often overlooked disease that affects 3.2 million Americans in the U.S. every day.
The first time I saw someone die from hepatitis C, I was in nursing school in 1994. The patient was thirty-five years old, with end-stage liver disease hastened by alcohol abuse. She was alert, kind-hearted and funny. Three days later, she was dead.
I didn’t know that you could die from hepatitis C, a condition I contracted in 1988 from a blood transfusion. My doctor told me not to worry about it, so I didn’t. However, it shook me up to watch someone die from a virus that I also had. I needed to know more about hepatitis C, and my self-serving curiosity morphed into a lifetime calling.
Should I Be Tested for Hepatitis C?
The majority of people with hepatitis C do not know they are living with a potentially infectious and life-threatening virus. Since millions of people in the U.S. have hepatitis C, you or someone you know may have it.
The largest birth rate occurred from 1945 through 1965, a group known as Baby Boomers. The world was changing rapidly during our teens and early adulthood. Sex, drugs, and Vietnam defined this generation, and with it came hepatitis C, the most common blood-borne virus in the U.S. The majority of people with hepatitis C are Baby Boomers.
Living with Hepatitis C, One Step at a Time
In 1988, I was infected with hepatitis C as a result of a blood transfusion. The blood saved my life, and hepatitis C changed my life. Living with a potentially life threatening virus was an invitation to live better, and to make healthier choices, an invitation I gladly accepted. It was better than the alternative.
I’ve gone through three hepatitis C treatments. The first was in 1997. Back then, the treatment had a low success rate, but I was hopelessly optimistic. It didn’t work. In 2003, I tried it again, taking a combination of drugs for 48 weeks. I relapsed after treatment ended.