Today’s World Hepatitis Day – I know, just what you wanted to know.
But you may want to consider getting tested for Hepatitis C. It’s a liver disease that can range in severity from a mild illness to a serious, lifelong condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.
The CDC in the US recently recommended that all baby boomers get a one-time test for hep c. Why? Because the damage from the disease can take decades to show up (MSNBC), and individuals are getting sick without being aware of the source. Canadians, of course, are not immune.
I spoke with Denise Munn (59) of Halifax, Nova Scotia about hepatitis C. She’s passionate about letting people know about the disease.
She decided to get tested after a private detective called her in 1999, regarding a blood donation she’d made in 1989. New testing had revealed there was a possibility of her having contracted hepatitis C. When her doctor delivered the news, she “was devastated. I felt it was like a death sentence…Part of the diagnosis is that it does a number on your mental faculties. I had been depressed…. I felt unclean and dirty.”
I asked Denise if she had any idea how she had contracted hepatitis C. Other than having done a lot of piercings for sailors after their first trip to the Arctic while she was working on a boat in the 1970s, she had no idea. And who of us would? The disease is spread via the transmission of blood, so even small cuts can open a pathway for infection.
Here’s why Denise recommends the test: Finding out that she had hepatitis C helped Denise address health issues she had been unable to resolve for years. She’s made lifestyle changes and feels much better: “I intend to live a very long life and I’m doing everything I can do to do that.”
What does she want people to know about the disease? “It doesn’t make a fiddler’s fart of difference how you got it. The important thing is to find out if you got it. Then you can do something about it.”
So there you go. For more information check out the Canadian Liver Foundation’s website.