November 22, 2013

Jenne Griffin-Accettura: My HCV Journey


Jenne Griffin-Accettura

It was 1973 and I was 22 years old, when I first heard the word Hepatitis. I had gone to give blood and was told I couldn’t because I had this thing called Hepatitis. At 22 what do we know it didn’t impact my life at all it’s not like it was growing on my body and I could see it. My son was born and in 1973 and again I was told I had Hepatitis. Still no answers to what it was how it affected me and what to do about it. It so happened that my first husband was a drug dealer headed to prison and before he left I shot up with him against everything that he had ever said but I just wanted to try it, and so I did, I have no doubt that is where I got it because he has Hepatitis as well, he goes to prison I go start a life. Life goes on! Years later I Get married for the second time have a brilliant career raise my son.

Moved to GA from Colorado in 1984, my Mom owned a restaurant and I was GM, she would always have a drink after we were done so I followed in her shoes and did the same. I’m sure I drank socially for about 8 years, no one ever said not to drink , there was little to no information out there about Hep C so I didn’t even realize drinking was bad for me. I am sure that is why it raised its ugly head in 2004 Aside from that I had always lived my life knowing that much of what was made by man or manufactured was not good, so I never bought into taking aspirin or cold medicine etc.

It was later in my 40 that I began hearing things about Hep C but I had no symptoms all my blood work had always been good. Enter 2004 when my life was about to change. My OBGYN called and said she thought I had better go see a Hepatologist that my liver enzymes were all high and she couldn’t be of any help. Going from one stupid DR. to another was unbelievable one would say your fine you’ll never die from this to another wanting to put me through treatment using interferon. I chose not to treat with Interferon and have maintained my good health with the help of Naturopath’s and like-minded people. It has been a battle for 9 long years just trying to stay healthy. Today I feel we have reached the point that most of my blood work is better than 2004. My Doctors are a bit perplexed but that’s OK keeps them on their toes. I have chosen to do whatever is in my reach to keep this at bay for as long I can .Caring for me is my work today. I turned my business over to my husband Mike which was a blessing in 2004 because it gave me time to read educate myself on Hep C and was able to talk to practitioner’s about how to deal with this. I married the best man for me without him I could not do what I need to do just to stay healthy, and trust me this is a full time gig. You could say that it has brought us closer more compassionate towards each other more understanding and accepting. I used to be real selfish lived in my own little world but this has taught me lessons that nothing else could have ever taught me. I love more deeply care more deeply strangers mean more, giving is easy, living minimally is easy ~ what’s hard is what we chose to make hard. Yoga has been my center my core and being addicted to working out have all saved me. I am one of the blessed ones who has not a lot of problems with Hep C low viral load of a million, some say I should feel worse being stage 3 but I don’t I have good days and I have bad days we all do but for the most part I feel pretty darn good. I am blessed with great sisters 2 outstanding sons one mine and one Mikes and one wonderful husband ~ few friends ~ but that’s OK my life is about healing, nurturing and staying focused on what has come to visit me in my body.

Today, as I look back I look forward to kickin it to the curb; the one thing I would never allow is it to control me. I start treatment for Hepatitis C in Feb and look forward to taking that first pill!! Hepatitis C does define us it is not who we are it is simply a guest that lives inside of me - how we decided to deal with it can hurt us or help us. I have always lived a very positive life and Hep C

was not going to take anything from me. Perhaps that is why I have never had anyone say or do anything to me in a negative way; most people I know have supported me and only wish the best for me. I’m glad I didn’t have that stigma to live with as well. I believe that this has had its own lesson as everything in life does it has changed me forever but it does not define me!! Perhaps I’m a better Mom, Wife, Sister, Friend, and listener. Let’s hope so, I have never been ashamed to say to the world that yes I have Hepatitis C think what will it has brought me to where I am today and maybe that in itself is my lesson.

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