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Peginterferon-Ribavirin, Failed it twice. Incivek, Failed it. Sovaldi Olysio, failed it. Harvoni, failed it... Transplant Patient Zepatier and Sovaldi...we'll find out!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Risky Business.

Caitlyn Jenner. It's a name that will dominate the media for a few days and linger for the next few months. This isn't about where anyone stands on transgender lines, or how you feel about their decisions.

This post is about struggle. Each of us will have our own struggles, and to us they can seem monumental. For a four year old, tying a shoe is a struggle. For a twelve-year old it's navigating the often mean-spirited critiques of their peers.

Loss by Lycanium

I found out I had Hep C when I was in middle school. I didn't understand the necessity of obfuscation. I didn't realize that while many close to me, didn't think anything of it. Their parents would, and it was met with mixed response. I realized within a year that explaining to anyone my circumstance if they asked, wasn't wise. I lost some friends, I lost some teachers, and worst of all I lost myself. I ignored the problem, and actively tried not to deal with it. It became a turning point in friendships, and especially in relationships. Some friends would dial down their time spent with me, and slowly phase out of my life. Some people started being very busy. Their responses taught me caution and fear.

Thankfully those who know me, who love me, stand by me. But that does little to translate into the dating world. It's a lot of rejection, having to do with something I hold no real control over. It becomes a well timed conversation with a lot of hope of acceptance. To fight the disease in my liver, and the disease in my life is not a unique struggle.

Coming out into the open and being an advocate for HCV is a risk. Because as much as it hindered me in dating it also hinders professional growth. I quickly fall out of an interviewer's idea of 'fitness' within a minute of googling.

I identify with Caitlyn Jenner. While my struggles are different, the core of the fight is the same: intolerance, medical/physical changes, and misunderstanding. I see people talk about bravery and show photos of wounded veterans; when a photo of an inner-city special needs teacher, a firefighter, a phone customer service rep, who all have their own personal and unique versions of bravery, would do. This isn't about who is more brave. It's about sharing that story, and helping people who are going through struggle who have a hard time identifying with traditional popular stories of bravery.

What I have seen, and what I have experienced in disease and treatment has taught me well to value all forms of bravery. Marginalizing those struggles only makes their struggle that much harder.

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