I had heard about this disease, hepatitis, several times. But, today, I have realized that whatever I knew about this disease was just the tip of an iceberg. I only knew that this disease affects the liver and causes jaundice. I have seen some of my friends and relatives suffering from hepatitis.
Most of them recovered within a month or so. But, in my case, the disease has progressed a lot. I am suffering from chronic hepatitis caused by a viral infection. Let me share my experience about how I'm living with hepatitis since I was diagnosed.
Waking up in the morning
I have not slept well for more than a month. I am suffering from pain in the right, upper side of my abdomen. There is also a continuous feeling of nausea, and vomiting. In fact, every day, I get up with a sense of discomfort in my abdomen, loose motions, or nausea.
Starting the day
Hepatitis basically occurs due to the inflammation in the liver. There is a lot of damage to my liver due to which my digestive functions are affected. I am suffering from jaundice, loose motions, vomiting, and several other symptoms due to the improper digestion.
My intake of food is also reduced. I cannot even bear the sight and smell of food. My day begins with these annoying symptoms. Though none of these symptoms are severe, they cause a lot of discomfort and do not allow me to do any work efficiently.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
I have started paying more attention to my diet. I avoid eating foods that are difficult to digest. I stick to bland foods. I am also experiencing some amount of hyperacidity due to the medications I am taking. That is why; the doctor has advised me to avoid eating fried and spicy food.
I am eating fresh fruits, and boiled vegetables. I am also drinking fruit juices. I have become very weak. I feel as if there is no energy left in my body. Drinking fruit juices helps me feel better.
Fruits and vegetables are important for me as they provide natural sources of vitamins and minerals that my body needs in plenty to recover from hepatitis. I am also eating egg whites for breakfast. They contain a high amount of proteins, which can help my body repair the damage caused due to hepatitis.
Going to work and taking medications
I have to take a leave from my office on and off. Though the symptoms are not severe, there are some days when I get repeated vomiting, loose motions, or pain in my abdomen, which forces me to take a leave for a day or two.
Since I am suffering from a chronic form of hepatitis, I have to take several medications to ensure my liver is protected from further damage. I am taking an antiviral medication, lamivudine. I am also taking symptomatic treatment for fever, vomiting, and other symptoms. The doctor has informed me that I might need to undergo liver transplant if the organ is severely damaged.
Prevention of complications
Taking the treatment on a regular basis is the best way to prevent the complications of hepatitis. I am also taking protein and vitamin supplements to support the body’s efforts to fight this infection. The doctor has advised me to drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious diet. These measures form an important aspect of the recovery of patients suffering from chronic hepatitis.
What are the daily limitations and what are the fears?
Though the symptoms are present almost always, their intensity is less. However, on some days, the symptoms flare up making my condition worse. I had to be hospitalized thrice for dehydration after repeated episodes of vomiting and loose motions. I am worried about the progress of this disease.
I developed this infection a few months ago. I am not sure how long the symptoms will continue. Plus, I have had to take a leave from my office several times. This has also affected my prospects for a promotion.
What would be my life with hepatitis in the future?
I am struggling to cope with life after I was diagnosed with hepatitis. Though the symptoms are much less now, they have not resolved completely. The recovery has been very slow. I am not sure how many months or years it will take me to be healthy and normal again.
What are the risk factors?
I am suffering from hepatitis B. Hepatitis can be of several types depending on its cause. It can occur due to the chronic consumption of alcohol and bacterial or viral infection. I am suffering from viral hepatitis caused due to the hepatitis B virus. Luckily, my alcohol consumption is nil. I am aware of the dangerous effects of alcoholism. So, I have always distanced myself from this beverage. This has helped my liver to stay healthy and assisted me in my recovery.
The causes and evolution of hepatitis
Most patients, who develop acute hepatitis, feel better within five to six months. However, in some cases as in mine, the disease progresses further to cause chronic hepatitis. This has not only caused severe damage to my liver and affected its functions, but also led to hormonal changes in my body. Due to this, I have developed other symptoms like acne, abnormal hair growth, and irregular menses.
What are the psychological effects when you have hepatitis?
If the damage to my liver is not controlled, I may suffer from a serious condition called cirrhosis in which the ability of the liver to function properly is permanently impeded. I may develop life-threatening consequences like hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, esophageal varices, and even liver cancer. You can imagine my state of mind when I think of these complications. A lot is at stake for me. My health, my career, and above all, my life!