Karen Hoyt is a blogger who has a story about hepatitis C, cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, liver cancer, and liver transplantation. This excerpt first appeared on Karen’s I Help C blog.

You are going to need a lot of folks to support you with the Hepatitis C Virus. Think of them as your People who Stand by Me with Hepatitis C and Liver Disease team. It will include family, friends, medical, and social media friends from the internet forums and groups. I got your back, but you are gonna need a whole tribe.

Who will stand by me with Hepatitis C and Liver Disease?
Your family are the ones that were there long before you knew about the silent liver killer. They are connected to you for life. Some of those relationships may have been tested as you struggled with mental, physical and emotional difficulties. Also, coping with an illness may have brought out the worst in you. Anyway, for better or worse, they are your family. They may become your caregiver even while you deal with the harsh symptoms and side effects. Reach out and ask for the support that you need.

Talk with family members about the decisions you are making. Ask for their help when you need it. Protect those relationships by remembering that they have to deal with grieving the loss that they feel regarding your role in their lives. They may not always have answers, but you can ask them to research for you. Guide them to pages (like this one) for information about what you are going through.

Medical Backup or MASH
My doctor and staff were vital members of the team I chose to stand by me with Hepatitis C and liver disease. At first, they ran tests and scans, and also knew the current treatment options and decide which type is best. Next, they monitored me after treatment. Finally, they become teachers and coaches. You have a lot to learn about lab values, viral loads, stages of cirrhosis, and nutrition. Find a doctor that you can place your trust in.

Click here to read the rest of this blog, and see Karen’s suggestions regarding the rest of your medical team, insiders and outsiders.