Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Support

Social support is very important when you have a chronic illness. While support networks for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and alcoholism are well developed - there just isn't much out there for those of us with Hep C. There is one support group in my area that's about 35 miles away and meets once a month on Thursday nights. Not the best location/time for me. Another place people turn to is the internet. I have a friend with an unusual mental illness who finds great support through internet forums online with other people who share her illness.

I know of 4 online Hep C forums. There are many other Hep C resources containing information, etc. but most are geared toward the newly diagnosed or people who are just beginning treatment. One forum is geared toward anyone with Hep C and does have long-term members, but once you've been diagnosed and have gone through unsuccessful treatment your needs change. I feel like I need ongoing support from others in my situation with practical, helpful information on what can help me feel better. Another need is to talk to others like me who understand what it's like to live the daily challenges of Hep C after treatment failure.
If any reader is aware of something that might be helpful, I would be very interested - particularly if it's online. HCV is now considered a national epidemic with an estimated 3.2 million people who have the disease in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control).

I'm going to continue to look into this and maybe something needs to be done. With a bit of help, I may be up to the task so please leave your feedback. I need as much information as possible.