Cairo, New York

Diagnosed with Hep C in 2001

I grew up in an alcoholic family, so drinking was a normal part of life for me. When I was 8, a family member started sexually molesting me. I started drinking around that time. I kept this a secret until I was in rehab at the age of 29. I also used every illegal drug under the sun. I drank alcoholically for 45 years, destroying my liver.

I’m not completely sure how I contracted hepatitis C since I have multiple risk factors. It most likely happened when I had a piercing done with an unsterile needle at age 15. I tested positive for hep C right after my son was born in 2001. He also tested positive. Since then, I have been treated twice. The first was with a combination therapy of interferon, ribavirin and Incivek, which almost killed me. I quit drinking, smoking and abusing drugs several times since my son was born. In 2013, I put myself into long-term rehab for my addictions.

I found out there that hep C had destroyed my liver, and I was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease. I had all the medical complications that go along with it. I was treated with the combination of Sovaldi and Olysio in 2015. I have had a sustained virologic response for more than a year. I am clean and sober for more than three years.

Now I am focused on my 14 year-old son who has hep C and fibrosis. His gastroenterologist says he will need treatment, but we can’t afford the medicine at this time, so I’m looking into getting him in to a clinical trial. All of this has made me a stronger person today. I don’t take anything for granted, and I live one day at a time. My name is Lisa, and this is my story.


What three adjectives best describe you?

Strong, loving and determined

What is your greatest achievement?

Raising my son

What is your greatest regret?

I don’t have any

What keeps you up at night?


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

The public’s opinion on hep C and the stigma surrounding it

What is the best advice you ever received?

This too shall pass

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

My hepatologist

What drives you to do what you do?

My family

What is your motto?

This too shall pass

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

My son

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

A wolf, because of their strength and perseverance.