EDITOR’S NOTE: We never know what will happen in our lives, but the Lord does. What the enemy uses to try to destroy us, God will use as a conduit to bring glory to Himself through us. As you’ll see in Connie’s testimony, someone else’s mistake affected her health negatively and could’ve destroyed her. However, God had His hand upon her through it all. It’s not our job to try and understand why things happen; rather, we have an opportunity to turn to the Lord and trust in His sovereign will for our lives.
My story is how God takes tragedy and turns it into triumph. This is a David and Goliath story of how God transformed me into a Hep C Warrior and taught me the true meaning of living beyond my circumstances. I was diagnosed in 1994 with Chronic Active Hepatitis C. In 1992 I had surgery at an outpatient surgical center where a drug user, who had hepatitis C, was working as a scrub tech.
While the scrub tech was alone with the patient, he had access to the medicine drawn up by the anesthesiologist for the patient. He took the patients syringe of medicine and shot up. He then refilled the same syringe with normal saline from the patients IV bag and placed it back on the anesthesiologist tray.
The contaminated syringe was used on the patient for surgery. After the surgery, I began to have symptoms associated with liver disease. Later the source of the infection was discovered after the scrub tech was caught, arrested, and confessed. Since then, as a result of his actions, rules and procedures for surgical centers and hospitals have changed.
Upon being diagnosed I discovered Hepatitis C is a deadly virus infection that without treatment will destroy the liver by cirrhosis, or cancer. Hepatitis C is the number one leading cause for liver transplants in the US. In the US alone, approximately 5 million people are infected, many of whom do not know they have the disease. Hep C is known has the silent killer due to symptoms do not normally show up until the later stages of liver damage.
Through blood tests and a liver biopsy, I was informed my condition was chronic active with liver damage already evident. In addition, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and vitiligo that are autoimmune disorders. I was tested for HIV and Autoimmune Hepatitis, which both came back negative. The Hepatitis C virus strain I have is genotype 1. Having autoimmune disorder and genotype 1 made fighting Hep C more challenging.
In January 1995 I took interferon treatment for hepatitis C and in 2000 I took the combination treatment of peg interferon with ribavirin. Unfortunately neither time was successful, but I trusted God had a plan for me. As I prayed for his direction, He guided me through the healing process of forgiveness and the dark valley of fear with Hep C.
During this time I began to study the functions of the liver and immune system. I found out the importance of how a healthy diet and healthy weight help your body fight disease. I wanted to learn how I could be proactive in helping my body fight Hepatitis C. I learned so many things that took me from feeling out of control, overpowered, and defeated to living with real hope.
I experienced how the difference being proactive physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually can make in our lives and fight Hep C. First, I acknowledged my life is in God’s hands. He alone determines the number of my days, not Hepatitis C. And even though I walk in the midst of trouble, He preserves my life. (Psalm 138:7 NIV)
This has been an amazing journey packed with many twists and turns, ups and downs. My journey continued in 2012 when I did “triple therapy” treatment with Incivek (telaprevir), the new protease inhibitor approved by the FDA in 2011, in combination with Peg Interferon and Ribavirin.
April 9th 2012 I began my 3rd treatment, and launched Life Beyond Hepatitis C.com that same day. I wrote an online journal of my treatment journey along with a variety of Hep C health tips, resources, Christian devotionals, videos and help articles for Hep C patients. (See Archives for my daily journal 2012 April-Sept). I did not know what my treatment outcome would be but I trusted Jesus to get me through it, no matter what. I received a Cure and now living free from Hep C. My Hep C giant was defeated in 2012 when I received the Cure. I am living free from Hep C.
Life Beyond Hepatitis C has grown tremendously and now ministers to Hep C patients and their families internationally. The website is where faith, medical resources and patient support meet, helping Hep C patients and their families navigate through the entire journey of Hep C.
You may have Hepatitis C yourself, or perhaps your loved one. You may be dealing with some other chronic illness. You may have questions and feel lost on your journey. I hope you will pull up a chair, visit and become friends. Take Heart. There is Hope, not just wishful thinking, but solid as a rock hope. Hope in treatment for Hepatitis C. Hope in what God will do.
You have a meaningful life to live right now. Hepatitis C does not define who you are. Hepatitis C lives with you. You don’t live with it. There is Life Beyond Hepatitis C.