This time every year, graduating commencement speeches are going on across the world.  Those who dedicated their lives to studying, growing and expanding knowledge to better their lives. Most of us can say we either have experienced this ourselves or have witnessed someone close to us. The process starts with a sort of innocence and nervous outlook as learning new things always does.  During graduation ceremonies, there is a point in which one looks back to this beginning and how everyone was in a youthful state of innocence. As the years and education proceed, one matures and growth is seen within them.  It’s a process that changes each person.

We in the hepatitis C community also witness the same sort of change and innocence with those that start with a recent diagnosis. Just as a student is nervous and scared, full of uncertainty with what the future holds. That too happens to patients with hep C.  A full range of emotions are running wild in the mind of the newly diagnosed.

I always say that “knowledge IS POWER” over hepatitis C.  The youthful innocence in not understanding or knowing much about the disease can feel as though there are limits on our ability to comprehend what is happening to our bodies. 

As the process begins, just like a student it starts with learning.  Opening up a book, media site, a health blog sites such as HEP Mag here.  Finding material, we can begin to learn and link pieces together of understanding are the “youthful” similarity to going to school and earning that diploma. Seeking support of someone who has been down that road before, like a professor teaching what he/she knows. 

After 11 years of personally going through this process, I have not witnessed anyone being diagnosed one day and cured the next. Just like a kindergartner starting school, it just does not happen that the next day he/she is graduating high school. It takes learning, educating one’s self and growing through the process.

Hep C will change you. Right now you may be scared and angry, which is what each of us in your shoes felt in the beginning. But through the same process, we all grew in knowledge and gained power of understanding the steps needed to maintain control of this disease. We learned a game plan and had the maturity to choose options right for our own being as far as treatments, etc.  This did not all come to us over night as I am sure each of us wished it would have, but I will say we have so many more options to learn about hep C these days. WE have more forums, online support groups and more infected sharing their personal stories. 

Having all this I know has speeded up the process that not too long ago seemed to take decades. Trust in the process, open your mind to learning all about hepatitis C. Seek out a health care provider with the same goals you carry for your health.

You too can reach the finish line, the graduation point in your journey.  Don’t lose hope and remember: YOU are never alone in this fight.  Support is around you 24/7 here on line.

See you at the finish line... Stay strong, stay positive and Fight the FIGHT!

“Not without a FIGHT!~HCV~(c)”

Kimberly Morgan Bossley