If you were recently diagnosed, take the RIGHT next steps NOW!
We believe that once you get the facts, the future will look a little brighter. In the beginning, you might be scared or angry. You might feel hopeless or depressed. You might try to ignore the situation, telling yourself that this is not a big deal. These reactions are normal, but these feelings will not go away overnight. This is part of the process of living with a disease.
You are not alone. There are millions of people in the United States and the world living with hepatitis C. What you don’t know yet is what some of us have learned over time–that Hepatitis C can teach you how to live better. Sure, all of us would rather live without it. Treatment for Hepatitis C is effective for about 90% of those who try it so someday, you may have the experience of living without it. However, until that time comes, it is important to learn how to live with hepatitis C. You are embarking on a process that will teach you how to make the best of a bad situation. Some people take better care of themselves after having this “wake-up call.” They become healthier because they know that their lives depend on it.
For now, lean on the rest of us who have faced this for a long time. We probably have experienced some of what you are going through and are more than willing to help. You do not have to go through this alone. How you got it doesn’t matter, unless you are further exposing yourself to infections. Assuming you aren’t still at risk, then the issue is what are you going to do now? How are you going to live your life as a person who has Hepatitis C?
For assistance with access to quality healthcare, or overcoming any barriers preventing you from accessing quality healthcare, please contact Yvette Robinson, Director of Care Coordination, at 212-426-3895 or via email.
Tips for the Recently Diagnosed:
- Don’t drink alcohol, not even a little. A little may be safe, but why chance it? If it is hard to stop drinking, get some help.
- Get the facts. Hepatitis C is a big subject, and there is lots of information on it. Review our resource page for more information on Hep C.
- Find support. Hepatitis C is more easily endured when done in the company of fellow patients. COPE offers monthly support groups; check Events for times.
- Establish good rapport with your medical provider. Finding a good doctor is easier said than done. Sometimes it takes a few appointments before you know if a medical provider is right for you.
- Build health. Hepatitis C is a liver disease, but the liver connects to your entire body. Strive for daily exercise, healthy nutrition, good nightly sleep, etc.
- Care for your liver. Everything goes through your liver whether you eat it, drink it, breathe it, or apply it to your skin. Before you eat something, ask yourself, “Is this good for my liver.” Question every drug, supplement, food, etc.
- Protect yourself and others. Learn how hepatitis C is and isn’t transmitted and live accordingly.
- Let go of fear. Fear is normal, especially in the beginning. However, after awhile, fear becomes a useless drain on you, your body, your relationships, and your ability to live a better life. However, fear doesn’t just vanish because we want it to. It takes practice.
- Hepatitis C is much like going on a roller coaster. The first few drops stir up major reactions, but after awhile, the roller coaster is easier to take. Then you go on a new, bigger roller coaster and the fear comes back. However, you can master that roller coaster in time.
- Never give up hope. The majority of people who have hepatitis C can be cured. Even if the current treatments seem like more than you want to go through right now, easier ones are in the pipeline.
- When you are ready, help others. You know what it is like to have hepatitis C, to be afraid, and to not know where to turn. In time, you will be the one others can turn to, if you are willing to extend the hand of help.
If you are:
- Known but never treated
See your doctor in order to get new lab work done. Ask your provider about the new treatments that are available and the “cure”.
- Known and told not to worry
See your doctor. If you need a doctor, contact COPE for linkage to care. Treatment has improved, so we encourage you to find out how your liver is doing and how to get cured on the new treatment available.
- Known and treated unsuccessfully
See your doctor! It is time to reconsider treating again! These are NOT your old Hep C treatments. There are little to no side effects, shorter duration of time and better results with the new treatments.
- On Transplant list
You are probably with a good doctor. Find out if you are a candidate for the new medications. Some studies have helped many patients on the transplant list.
- Newly Exposed
Get a confirmatory test done to see check if you have the virus for sure.
- Known and learned about new treatment
See a liver specialist. Bring your old medical records and get new lab work done. Talk to a specialist about your options.