Ashland, Oregon
Diagnosed with Hep C in 2000

I acquired hep C, genotype 1b in 1967. I know that because that was the only time I time I was at risk. In 2000, I was given the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial at Stanford University Medical Center. However, after many trips back and forth, multiple blood tests and eye exams, I was disqualified for having retinopathy (an eye condition). The trial used interferon, which could have caused blindness.

I have had 23 rounds of chemo for follicular lymphoma, two types of retinopathy, blepheritis (itchy, inflamed eyes), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), an enlarged aorta, a rotated kidney, an oversized spleen, an enlarged gallbladder, three herniated discs, a ruptured disc, and constant pain in my gastrointestinal tract. I have always lived with the thought that if you don’t try something, you will never know whether or not it works.

I have always lived on the edge—no fear, go in with confidence and you will have best results. If you go into something new with fear, you are giving yourself one more thing to battle. The hep C is enough; put your attention there.

What three adjectives best describe you?

Thoughtful, giving, caring

What is your greatest achievement?
Making good friends with both young and old

What is your greatest regret?
Everything I have done has brought me here, and it is a good place.

What keeps you up at night?
Gut pain

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

Energy levels

What is the best advice you ever received?
There is no other direction than forward, even if you don’t see it.

What person in the viral hepatitis community do you most admire?
Myself; I work at informing and helping others in any way possible.

What drives you to do what you do?
Waking up and feeling no alternative but to move ahead and put my best foot forward all of the time

What is your motto?
Do the best with each step you take; you can’t take it back.

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My computer—it has all of my info on it.

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

A firefly. You can’t get too attached to life with only an hour and a half to three hours to live.