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Author Topic: New and Scared  (Read 18931 times)

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Offline Looking4Hope

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  • Posts: 5
New and Scared
« on: October 14, 2013, 10:49:38 am »
I am a 27 yo mother to three young children. I just learned 3 days ago that I quite possibly am infected with Hep C. About 2 months ago an after hours clinic nurse thought I said I had a bladder infection (when I actually had an ear infection) and she ordered a urine sample. Long story short, there were high Levels of bilirubin. I followed up with my family doctor and after having blood work sent in the 1st time, the results showed once again, high bilirubin levels and my liver enzyme levels were also off. I was send for an ultrasound of my abdomen, which came back "perfectly fine". My doc ordered me to get blood work a second time to check for hepatitis. I'm not sure of the name of the test but three days ago he called me with the results, and said it is about a 50%-60% chance I am positive for Hep C. I went back in that same day for another set (3rd time) of blood work. He said this test will tells if I do have hep C for sure. I am nervously awaiting the results. I have done a lot of research over the weekend, and my symptoms of being tired and feeling a bit down, and bruising easily seem to match along with the levels of my test results. I've already accepted that I do in fact have the disease. What boggles my mind, is when could I have contracted it? Many things run through my mind. I have 13 tattoos, two of which are pretty big. And I have had piercings in the past. Every time I have been tattooed, it was at a professional establishment, but you never know. I also get my nails done regularly, and have for many years. I have been cut and bled more than a few times in those years, and never thought twice about it. I have a few questions. I know it is possible to transmit to baby's, and since I do not know when I contracted it, should I have my children tested? I have not led the healthiest lifestyle either. I worked in the club as a waitress for almost 9 years, and drank a few times a week. It wasn't until the last couple of months (After I quit the bar) that I noticed my body taking extra long to recover from a night of drinking. I am healthy in a sense that I am at my appropriate weight, I function normally, and get moderate exercise, but I don't always eat the best food, and I have tanned on and off since high school. I am just looking for any answers and or opinions from people who are also going through this. Jow accurate is that first Hep C blood test that they give? Thank you and I apologize for the long text.

Offline lporterrn

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  • LucindaPorterRN
    • LucindaPorterRN
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 11:13:38 am »
Hi,
I am so glad you found this forum - it is a good place to ask questions and be frank about how you are feeling. I'll do my best to address your concerns.
1) It is better to find out for sure you have hep C than to go through the "What-ifs" so I will just address some of this. Please let us know when you get final results. I assume your doc did a hep C antibody test and is waiting on viral load results. The antibody tests just says you were exposed but doesn't say you have it. Theoretically, you could have hep C antibodies but not have hep C - this would mean your doc would have to find the cause of your elevated liver enzymes. The test is quite accurate, but you can always ask for a 2nd test.
2) The risk factors you mentioned could have been a source of hep C, but I'd add another one - your mother. Your age suggests that your mother was likely born from 1945-1965 which means she was at risk because there were many ways to be exposed before HIV prompted us to take more precautions.
3) If you are positive, yes, your children will need to be tested, but we don't test them until they are at least 18 mos.There is no urgency to do this except to relieve your concerns, which is a reasonable motivation to do it. One in 20 kids of hep C+ mom have it. (More if they are coinfected with HIV)

For now, stay off the alcohol. As for fear - nothing I can say will make that go away except time, but it does get better. Hep C is a treatable, curable condition. I got it in 1988, and am waiting on final test results, and have 98% chance of being cured.

Let us know the final results.
Hugs,
Lucinda
Lucinda Porter, RN
1988 Contracted HCV
1997 Interferon nonresponder
2003 PEG + ribavirin responder-relapser
2013 Cured (Harvoni + ribavirin clinical trial)
http://blogs.hepmag.com/lucindakporter/

Offline Looking4Hope

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Re: New and Scared
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2013, 11:29:27 am »
Thank you for the quick response. I have not even thought about being infected from birth, that is a good point. I haven't told anybody about it yet because I am nervous for anybody to know, I almost feel like I've done something wrong. I will definitely open up to my close family and friends if my results come back positive, and plan to have others close to me get tested as well. It's a scary thing. Also, I have read that it's controversial that it can be transmitted through sex. I have had multiple partners, but one I am most worried about is my youngest sons father. He doesn't use drugs or anything, but I know he has had, and still has, many partners. And he is not careful as far as protecting himself. I was "with him" for about two years and we never used protection. If I am positive, should I have him get checked for hep C also?

Offline lporterrn

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  • LucindaPorterRN
    • LucindaPorterRN
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2013, 12:23:37 pm »
Sexual transmission rate is very low between heterosexual partners. If your youngest son's father used injection drugs even once, this is a very high risk for hep C. If he is positive, then you have a slight risk of getting it from him. Women have a higher chance of getting it from men then the other way around.
There is a huge stigma around hep C, so start slowly  - after you get your results, I'll give you more info about disclosure - for now, just get the results and take one step at a time. 
Lucinda Porter, RN
1988 Contracted HCV
1997 Interferon nonresponder
2003 PEG + ribavirin responder-relapser
2013 Cured (Harvoni + ribavirin clinical trial)
http://blogs.hepmag.com/lucindakporter/

Offline Looking4Hope

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  • Posts: 5
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 12:36:22 pm »
Ok, I will post results when I find out. Thank You.

Offline Looking4Hope

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  • Posts: 5
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2013, 09:53:34 pm »
My doctor called me earlier today with my results, and the viral load came back as zero. He said I am not showing the infection on the load test. But assumes I was infected with it at some point bc the antibodies did show up. I'm still a little confused by that. Also, he said that my bilirubin levels have continued to go up, so he is sending me to a GI specialist. I'm really confused about what is going in with my body.

Offline lporterrn

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  • LucindaPorterRN
    • LucindaPorterRN
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2013, 05:06:05 pm »
This is fantastic news. As your doctor told you, at some point you were likely exposed to hep C but you cleared it on your own. (Women under age 50 are 40% likely to clear it). This means that you will always have the antibody (or evidence of past infection), but you don't have the actual virus, You can't pass hep C to anyone because you don't have it to pass. I am quite a bit older than you, but when I was a kid, we got measles and mumps. I don't have them anymore, but I do have the antibody. Does this make sense?
There is a difference though between having the hep C antibody and my also having the measles and mumps antibodies - The antibody to measles and mumps protects me so I can't get these diseases again. The hep C antibody does not protect me and it won't protect you, so spend some time reading about the risk factors so you don't put yourself in harm's way.
There is one piece of this that I don't know if it needs to be addressed, but when you see the specialist, you can discuss this. We know that you don't have hep C, but don't know when you cleared it. Spontaneous clearance occurs in the first 6 mos. after exposure. The question I wonder is that since you don't know when you were exposed, do you need to have your kids tested. In other words, could you have been pregnant when you were exposed. This is highly unlikely, but the doc may suggest testing your kids at some point.
There are lots of things that will affect the liver, and presumably the specialist will help you. In the meantime, be sure not to drink. Best of luck to you. 
Lucinda Porter, RN
1988 Contracted HCV
1997 Interferon nonresponder
2003 PEG + ribavirin responder-relapser
2013 Cured (Harvoni + ribavirin clinical trial)
http://blogs.hepmag.com/lucindakporter/

Offline Looking4Hope

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  • Posts: 5
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2013, 08:39:32 pm »
It definitely was amazing and unexpected news. I had completely accepted that I had Hep C and was already taking action in changing my eating habits and preparing myself to live with, and try n fight the disease. I do still have a lot of questions, which I will be able to talk about with the specialist. But is it possible for hep C to lay dormant and reoccur on its own, with out being re-exposed? I still never asked my mom if she was ever exposed, but plan to do so. I told my sons father to go get tested, I don't know if he will tell me the truth if it comes back positive for him though. I cannot believe what a different outlook I have on the world now. This was definitely a wake up call. I will be more careful of the situations I get myself into, and take better care of my body. No more drinking for me, and eating as healthy as possible for my family and I. I greatly appreciate you talking to me about this. Thank you so much for being a person I can be open with. When will you know if you are cured?? It's so wonderful that they have found a cure. I know you said you got it in 1988, but If you don't mind me asking, when did you actually find out that you had it?

Offline lporterrn

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    • LucindaPorterRN
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2013, 12:02:44 am »
Wake up calls can be wonderful things. I got my wake-up call in 1988 after making a lot of self-destructive choices which eventually led to my getting very sick and needing a blood transfusion which gave me hep C. However, having hep C was a daily reminder to live better, and in many ways it was a blessing. It is a blessing I will be all too happy to let go if and will know by Thanksgiving.

To answer your question - no on the dormancy.

Hope your liver issue works out for you - the liver is an amazing organ, but much happier if you help it by making the changes you are making. Good for you!
Lucinda Porter, RN
1988 Contracted HCV
1997 Interferon nonresponder
2003 PEG + ribavirin responder-relapser
2013 Cured (Harvoni + ribavirin clinical trial)
http://blogs.hepmag.com/lucindakporter/

Offline Elijah

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  • Posts: 23
Re: New and Scared
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2013, 03:40:59 pm »
That's great news....one thing I have to say is don't think about how you got it or your past lifestyle.Its never to late to wake up and realize that you made mistakes.They are in the past best to leave them their where they belong and take a healthy step forward one at a time.

 


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