Atkinson, New Hampshire

Diagnosed With Hep C in 1997         

I donated blood in 1997. When I opened a note from the Red Cross, I thought it would be a simple “thanks for giving blood” message. Instead, it said that my blood tested positive for hep C and that I needed further testing to confirm this. Well, I was genotype 1a, which was difficult to treat at that time.

My gastroenterologist monitored my health for years. In 2011, I treated unsuccessfully with triple therapy (peginterferon, ribavirin and a protease inhibitor). After three months, my doctor made me stop the treatment. This was devastating. In 2015, I treated successfully with Harvoni. Now, a year later, the virus is still undetectable. Yahoo! I waited 18 years to be treated successfully!

What three adjectives best describe you?

Optimistic, enthusiastic and loyal.

What is your greatest achievement?          

To be rid of hep C!

What is your greatest regret?

The first time I went through hep C treatment. I think the interferon did a lot of damage to my bones.

What keeps you up at night?

Very little keeps me up these days. Knowing that hep C is no longer a silent killer residing in my body helps me sleep very well.

If you could change one thing about living with viral hepatitis, what would it be?

I would have told others to be tested.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Never say never.

What person in the viral hepatitis community do you most admire?

My gastroenterologist was always optimistic that the right treatment would be found.

What drives you to do what you do?

I believe there is still one in every 30 people in the boomer generation who have hep C and don’t know it. I strongly urge others to ask to be tested.

What is your motto?

Never say never.

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?

My chocolate Lab.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?

A dog. They offer unconditional love and support.