A passion for pictures and the legacy they leave drives Diane’s love of scrapbooking. “I still like to preserve memories I can look through the old fashion way. It’s easier to tell my story to my grandchild through pictures and easier for family to see my story,” Diane says.
Diane’s enthusiasm for her hobby and energy to work part-time may tire many, but Diane, 63, has always considered herself a healthy and active person who didn’t need to slow down. “I am a person who hardly ever gets sick – not even a 24-hour bug,” she says.
Until one day, Diane recalls, she didn’t feel like herself and she didn’t know why.
The Surprising Test Result That Changed Her Life
As part of her medical evaluation, Diane’s doctor screened for the hepatitis C virus. When the results did in fact show she had chronic hepatitis C, it took her by complete surprise.
“I was in absolute shock. Naturally I could only think the worst and felt it was going to be a challenging road ahead of me,” Diane recalls.
She was also confused as to how it was possible to have hepatitis C when she wasn’t experiencing symptoms associated with it, like fever, fatigue, loss of appetite or joint and abdominal pain.1
“Sometimes I didn’t even believe I really had hepatitis C. It was strange knowing I had this serious virus that I couldn’t even feel,” she adds.
Like many around the world Diane didn’t feel sick, but the virus was quietly working in her body. While 71 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C2, only 20 percent are actually diagnosed.2 As hepatitis C affects the liver it scars healthy tissue, leading cells to function abnormally. This could lead to a build-up of toxic substances normally cleared by healthy liver cells. When the liver is too damaged, it is no longer able to carry out its normal functions.3
Finding Hope, Encouraging Others
Determined, Diane faced the next phase of hepatitis C treatment. “I had done a lot of research, and I had no doubt that treating my disease was the right thing to do,” she recollects.
Three months after treatment, Diane’s doctor told her that the final hepatitis C viral load test results showed that the virus was undetectable, which meant her doctor considered her cured of chronic hepatitis C. Diane hopes to use her experience and positive spirit about life to help others facing hepatitis C, particularly among those who may not be aware they have it.
“When I was first diagnosed, I assumed the worst,” she says. “I want everyone with chronic hepatitis C to know that it is a curable disease for most people, and more importantly, to have hope.”
- HCV FAQs for the Public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. Accessed July 14, 2017. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm
- World Health Organization. Global Hepatitis Report 2017. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/255016/1/9789241565455-eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed July 14, 2017.
- HCV Advocate. The Liver. 2015. http://hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/The_Liver.pdf. Accessed July 14, 2017