Where to start? At my birth.
I was born in MIami Beach of RH-Factor opposing parents who were not supposed to have kids.
They did, 3 of us, all girls. All born with defects and challenges.
Judith is now gone, lost to a horrific cancer that was activated by the sun- melanoma. Janice, who lived with epilepsy for the first 7 years- her teeth are still gray, she is still here and doing fine. Me- well- I just had to have all my blood immediately exchanged or I would die. I was among the first kids to get this procedure in 1953, it was the first year they could do this, and woah! Live I did- but I had many allergies and illnesses as a child. I guess it was nip and tuck. But I am a survivor! And a thriver, I have always had determination- perhaps a small lack of good direction, but I was determined!
I since discovered that HCV came over in tainted blood product from the Koreas, SW Asia is a huge viral vector point. After the Korean war, that was the blood product we purchased for transfusions because our supply was gone after WW2- Did I get some of that? Who knows? I like to think I am connected to some mysterious being, who in some way was my parent too.
From early childhood until my teen years I had several surgeries and I now think my mom might have had hep c! She died of complication from cirrhosis and possible HCC. With the lousy health care she had who knows? She was a shining light to me, though, as she quit drinking in 1980 and we got to have many more years together after I quit.
In my early teens I ran away from home and I did use the needle for the first time- I have to say I did not like it, so that was not a problem for me- but one dabble is enough, right?
I began to play in bands and started a tee-shirt printing company in 1979 and to afford my passion- music! I had to have money to pay for all my equipment- that hasn't changed much! I've always been self (un)employed. LOL
In 1991, I was saved from the demons alcohol and drugs, both my parents and most of my relatives are addicts of one kind or another. And I do mean saved- after a rough night with a suicidal friend I awoke the next day with all desire to use gone, gone, gone. For over 20 years I had used drugs and liquor to ease the pain I grew up with due to divorce, rapes, child abuse and having a genius of sorts with no healthy outlet. My dad was a rocket scientist and I was surrounded with all manner of incredible, cutting-edge science, math, astronaughts and motion. We never lived anywhere for more than a year until we moved to Texas in 1966. So you can see, this life I was given was a consortium of wild and crazy, so what were a few hits of LSD or better yet, cocaine and more cocaine?
I have now been clean and sober for over 23 years and I thank God every day that He bent down and pulled me out of that. I really do not think I did it on my own, but I imagine I was ready. This is all leading up to something: when I tell people I have the hep c, & they ask me, "How did you get it"? I can honestly say I don't know. Out of the top 6 risk factors, I guess i was exposed to them all, so who knows, who will ever know, and I don' think it matters now.
All that matters is that I advocate for others to avoid the mistakes I made and to live a healthy life. As another contributor noted, it takes a lot of my time just to stay above water- but more on that next time! There's more to share, but my focus wavers~
Healing, peace and strength to you all,