Hepatitis C, Harvoni, Changing Karma and Me

The law of cause and effect is absolute. It doesn’t pick a cause we made at random and decide we will pay the price for this particular act and let others slide. It is not the Lord’s will, or his plan for me, that I should suffer for long decades out of my life for the stupid, lack of wisdom, choice I made when I was very young to do IV drugs. What “caused” me to want to do them in the first place? I never even hesitated. The first chance I had to try them, I did. But why? I didn’t come from a family who even kept alcohol in the house and no one in my family – even extended family even smoked cigarettes. Imagine that. What are the odds? But I was drawn to it and jumped in with both feet. It lasted for three years. I got pregnant with my son, now almost 39, and knew he was more important and it gave me the strength to stop. I thought I got away with it. I thought I was one of the lucky ones. Many people can’t stop. Boy, was I wrong. We don’t get away from the effects of our karma – ever.

The karma was there waiting for my family. After I left home for college my father started drinking. Why? Why then? It killed him fast. He was dead at age 54 after several bouts of ascities – the abdomen filling with fluid and long needles were inserted to drain out fluid to make it easier to breathe. He was so sick. He looked 90. At age 54 I had my first attack of ascities. My liver could no longer work. My father’s father also died at age 54 because his body filled with fluid. It went over his lungs and he literally drowned in his own fluid. All three of us at age 54. Same cause, different reason. That is karma. Who’s next?

This is karma. This was something I had to go through. This was one of the lessons I had to learn. Learn it or repeat it. We call into our lives the lessons we need to learn and if we don’t learn what we need to learn and use it in a way to help others and grow into a better person then we do it again.

Here’s an easy example to explain. We draw into our lives the same kind of people until we learn. A woman will draw the same kind of abuser. Or we get the same kind of boss. We acquire the same kind of friends who misuse us. We might even try to move to a different area thinking we can start all over but we end up with the same kind of people in our lives – because we have not changed. We haven’t learned. If we move we carry our karmic baggage with us.

So what does this have to do with the title of this post? It has everything to do with it. First of all I am not dead – and I should be. Many people in my position didn’t make it. Why? Am I more deserving? Would any of you have the foolish nerve to say that God decided to let me live, especially when I absolutely do not believe there is an emotional thinking entity in the universe that singled me out to live? You’d think he would keep alive a person who praised his name and gloried this entity who NEEDS to be praised. Actually, you’d think he’d strike me dead for being so blasphemous. Yet that won’t happen.

Staying alive has not been easy. It has taken much study to learn what my body needs. Undiagnosed pain began in the mid ’80’s when no one knew what Hep C was, so doctors did what they usually did to women -said it was all in my head and wanted to put me on heavy doses of mind numbing anti-depressants. I went through diagnoses of Epstein Barr, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, because of nerve damage. Hepatis damages far more than just the liver. The correct diagnoses came in ’98. I’ve been on narcotic pain relief for 23 years although I now keep the dosage at what I think is a minimal dose.

My karma was to do drugs whether I wanted to or not. That has not changed. When I stopped using, my life, my karma, made it very clear that if I wasn’t going to take drugs voluntary it would make me take them. Karma doesn’t have a personality. It doesn’t love us.It doesn’t care about us. It isn’t evil. It doesn’t try to influence us in any way. We don’t have to believe in it. It doesn’t need to be worshipped or prayed to. We don’t have to ask it to come into our heart and “save” us. What it needs us to do is to take responsibility for the things we do and for the effects in our life from these causes we made in this life we have. If you continue to look outside yourself for the reasons for your problems and ask some force “out there” to fix them for you, you’ll continue to wait for a long time. And when it fails you’ll say it must be the Lord’s will. If things do work out it is also the Lord’s will. God can’t lose. No matter what happens it is his responsibility

It is because I accept responsibility – completely – for my life that I am still here. I have survived every single illness and infection this disease has thrown at me from ascites, varicies, liver cancer, ongoing skin cancer, hemachromatosis, lung infections, severe osteoporosis, spinal fracture, 7 rib fractures, ovaries and tubes removed with cysts the size of a grapefruit, every gastrointestinal infection known to man, liver transplant, spinal surgery and a lot more I don’t even remember – ALL BECAUSE I CHOSE TO DO IV DRUGS WHEN I WAS 20. I am now 61.

This is the karma I created. Do I let it beat me? Should I feel sorry for myself? Please, do not ever say you are sorry that I have had to go through this. I am not. This is a benefit. This is an opportunity that presented itself in this lifetime that I am changing. When negative things happen to you, what matters is how you handle it – your attitude – the new causes you make that determines whether you change it or perpetuate it. Do you accept responsibility for everything that happens in your life or do you say some things are not your fault – you’re a victim – you didn’t do anything to cause it – it was just bad luck? Everything happens for a reason whether you want to believe it or not. To understand the law of life is worth all of it. It’s a whole lot easier to not accept responsibility for our lives – to say it’s God’s will because that is something someone taught you to believe and you’re afraid to question it or you might piss him off. So many people need something else to be responsible for their pain.

So now, the latest in my fight against this disease is the drug Harvoni, tried first with Ribavirin, but it lowered my red blood count where I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and can barely walk across the room and I’ve been nauseas 24/7 for 7 weeks. Some people breeze through on this drug, but for me everything I’ve done to stay alive has been a major fight and hard won. If there is a side effect, I will have it. This is a hard, deep karma. Once an addict always an addict and anyone who has ever fought an addiction that sets out to kill you knows that it always owns you, no matter how far you try to run from it. If I had won over it I wouldn’t be taking 20 mgs of methadone every day just to cut the edge of the chronic pain I have.

Harvoni is my best chance of living. Hep C will eventually kill my new liver. Then I’ll be too old for another transplant. I wouldn’t survive it anyway. Harvoni works for 95% of those who take it. That is great odds, but still, 5 out of 100 don’t get cured. What happened to them? No one talks about them.

I feel I’ve done everything I could and I stay optimistic about my future. I have much to do yet. I still have dreams and goals to meet. I will live every minute of my life and work to make a difference in people’s lives. My life matters. I am still a mother, a grandmother, and I am still wonderfully, appreciatively a daughter and a sister.

I have said in other posts, “The only legacy we really leave behind is the effect we had on other people”. That has been my goal in life – to be a positive effect on people. To give them hope, strength and encouragement to change their lives and become happy. Those things are found inside you, not “out there”.

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17 thoughts on “Hepatitis C, Harvoni, Changing Karma and Me

    1. I will do that. Lately I’ve been too sick to do more than sit and play for a few minutes, but someday with patience it will be over. I’ve been trying to keep some blog posts going. I wanted to go to tx in November to visit with Jamie and work on details of the book but I think I can’t make it and will have to wait. Everything happens for a reason so I’ll have to wait to see what it is.

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      1. IT’S HARD AND FRUSTRATING, WHEN A SIMPLE THING CAN’T BE DONE, WITHOUT YOUR ILLNESS CRAPPING ON IT. I HAVE TO TAKE A SHOWER .IT IS AN ALL DAY ORDEAL. I AM SICK OF HEARING “I’M GOING TO JUMP INTO THE SHOWER”. THOSE WORDS NOW MAKE ME SICK .A SIMPLE THING: BUT SO DAMN HARD FOR ME.

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      2. Lol – yep – no jumping for me! Step carefully and always hold on to the handrail. My 82 year old mother lives a block away. She’s very active. always driving here and there for this committee or that. We have to learn when to slow down when we do things that can cause us harm. She wants to stay as active as possible for as long as possible. I think she’s in better shape than I am! But it’s nice to still have a mother who wants to take care of you. I let her because I know it makes her feel vital. I call her the Eveready bunny. We just wind her up in the morning and off she goes!

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  1. Good Morning ….it is a lovely day. I just read and reread your post and it continues to blow my mind. It is powerful and there’s so much to learn. It gives a whole picture of a girl that I thought I knew but for much of your life, when you were living far away from your family,, much was happening to you that we were not aware of what you were going through. Telling me things that you were doing and that were happening didn’t seem real at the time. We can’t go back and do anything over, but we can continue to improve our actions and know there’s a much better chance of positive change than could ever be if we continued on the wrong path…….more later…Love you always, Mom

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  2. I am sad, as I read your story, even though you do not need or want any sympathy, but how can one stay unmoved by the suffering you have endured. Your paragraph on karma is interesting. I do not understand all these deep things, but I choose to believe in grace and truth which comes through Jesus Christ. If you’ll forgive my honesty, I think that you are a beautifuly butterfly caught in a spider’s web, and miraculously and gracefully you have survived. I can’t buy into karma, and know its been your life-line, but for me, there has to be more than just me taking responsiblity for my self created destiny. There is a bigger story to find ! And it is a seeking out ! I admire your resilience in your adversities, and I am sad (and not in a condescending manner) that you have know much suffering and discomfort in your life, and you are brave beyond words to share it with us on the blog. May you heal in body mind and spirit in the years to come, and taste the victory that can await you.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. Each person has to find their own truth that brings them peace and happiness and that is okay. It is hard to understand a concept that doesn’t coincide what you were taught. But did you know that until about the 1500’s karma was taught in the Bible. It was one of the many books that were were removed by the church of England during their crusade to force one religion on the people. They couldn’t have people believe in the law of cause and effect. Priests needed control of the people and instill the fear of going to hell. Religion has been so misused all through the ages. What do you think the term – you reap what you sow means? That is karma pure and simple. As for what I’ve been through it is 100% karma. Completely my fault. My responsibility. There is nothing else at work here. Yes, at times it has been very hard, but when I have succeesucceedded, and indeed created happiness with what I have learned I will have learned the lessons I needed to learn and I will not repeat the karma again in another life. It will be over. I don’t have to die to go to a place of happiness. We experience the life conditions of heaven and hell while we live. This is one difference between Buddhism and Christianity. Sometimes it’s good to reach outside the box of what you were taught and experience a different way of thinking. That doesn’t mean you have to change. Knowledge is good. We should always strive to learn. The law of karma is nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is like the roar of a lion. Therefore what illness can be an obstacle? I have stayed alive by studying this law. Through determination and prayer for wisdom. Not prayer for something outside myself to give me wisdom or using the wisdom of some other entity, but instead, prayer inside myself to bring forth the wisdom I needed. Thank you for reading.

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