Van Buren, Arkansas
Diagnosed with Hep C in 2013

I’m 21 years old and in May of 2013, I was diagnosed with hep C. I thought my life was over. I couldn’t believe what the doctor was saying: “You are 21 with a liver disease.” Of course, I can’t say that anyone deserves this, because they don’t, but I was at fault for catching it. I had been using IV drugs for almost a year when i found out. Luckily, I was wrong—my life wasn’t over (although it seemed like it the first month or two). Now I’ve come to terms with it, and realize that everything is going to be okay. I’ve quit IV drug use, which probably has saved my life. I still take pills here and there, so my addiction hasn’t completely ceased but I feel it will soon.

I was offered hep C treatment with the triple therapy. I’m genotype 1a. I had a liver biopsy done and it showed no signs of any scarring, and that my liver looked perfect. Probably because I just caught it. I couldn’t have had it more than a year, if that. Now I’m at the point where I am waiting for the new meds that don’t include interferon injections. It has been a very confusing year, but I am learning as I go.

What three adjectives best describe you?

I’m a very caring person mixed with a little curiosity, which sometimes gets me in trouble. I’d like to say I’m pretty humorous too!

What is your greatest achievement?
Considering my situation right now, my greatest achievement is the day I decided to never pick up another needle.

What is your greatest regret?
Thinking I’m invincible and that nothing bad would ever happen to me.

What keeps you up at night?
The thought of starting treatment in a month, and the fact that I still take pills. Should I be in rehab?

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

The stigma. I wish more people were educated on the issue.

What is the best advice you ever received?
If you want to achieve something, you truly have to want it. Not for someone else but for you and only you.

What drives you to do what you do?

Family and God

What is your motto?
Just do it

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

My dog

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

A cheetah...why not?