As most of you know, both of Michael's parents passed away in September only 18 days apart. Among other things, her mother suffered from liver disease, and her father developed pancreatic cancer. However both parents were also diagnosed with Hepatitis C a few years ago, which is an infectious disease that attacks the liver and can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. After quite a bit of reading and research, we found that many in the baby-boomer generation carry Hepatitis C of some varying degree. In fact a few years ago the CDC issued a statement encouraging all baby-boomers to have Hep C screening completed. Furthermore, many in the medical community believe we will see a drastic increase in cases in the coming years, possibly nearing epidemic proportions.
Michael, her sisters, and the rest of the family were very aware of the parents' Hep C condition, but were informed that it could only be spread by blood to blood contact. We were all careful and conscious of extra hand-washing etc., when we visited New Mexico to take care of them, but doctors assured the family there was way less than a 1% chance of anyone contracting it while providing assistance in their last days.
To be on the safe side, Michael and her sister had blood work performed to check for the virus after their parents passed. Both of Michael's sisters' tests came back negative, but Michael tested positive for Hepatitis C. We were shocked and devastated and didn't understand how she could have contracted it based on the slim percentages. In what was the toughest time emotionally for Michael, due to the passing of her parents, she was now apparently Hepatitis C positive. This was a potentially life changing discovery, and we both were filled with confusion and fear of what the future would hold.
We immediately began researching treatments and scheduled a meeting with a Heptologist. He confirmed that her antibodies in the first test indicated that she was most likely positive, but further blood work was needed to confirm. So she completed the blood work, and then we waited. Based on her conversation with the doctor, Hepatitis C was eminent and we were going to have to choose between treatment options, some of which can be very aggressive, similar in nature to chemotherapy that cancer patients receive.
But last night, on the way to our Christmas Lights Limo Ride, she received a call from the doctors office ... all of the secondary tests came back NEGATIVE!!! She was given a 100% clean bill of health and they said there was no sign of the Hepatitis C virus. It was the best phone call ever!
The timing of the initial tests just came at an unbelievably cruel time in our lives when Michael was very much still mourning the loss of her parents. She still misses them dearly, and will for some time, but the "Christmas Miracle" of a negative test will certainly help make things a little easier, and I couldn't be happier and more relieved for her.
... be great today!