Hi everyone. I’m so glad that there’s this community here of people with chronic hep b and supporters of people with chronic hep b.
I found out about my Hepatitis B diagnosis through a life insurance health exam. I signed up for life insurance and they scheduled a free health screening for me - and boom, got the email with the denial for life insurance and found out why - hepatitis b! Yep, in total shock.
It’s been a journey since then. My primary doctor originally told me it was only acute hep b (whew, I thought) but she still referred me to a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist was extremely knowledgeable, and also told me the news that I had chronic hep b, not acute. I was in shock, yet again.
Doc recommended ultrasound, blood tests, and fibroscan. Blood labs were elevated (ALT/AST) but ultrasound was normal. Then I got the fibroscan and it said I had advanced, end stage cirrhosis of the liver. Shocked again as I was a healthy 26 year old at the time with no symptoms. Doctor said this result is most likely false. Later on I realized the person who did my fibroscan was the assistant to the physicians assistant, and she was not familiar with the fibroscan (she literally told me that, but I thought it didn’t matter since fibroscans look so easy to do). This was during COVID when places were just starting to open back up, so they were swamped on appointments and had a newbie do my fibroscan. It turns out you need a trained tech to do fibroscans, this machine isn’t as simple and straight forward as it looks. If you’re reading this, make sure the person doing your fibroscan is incredibly familiar with this machine or you’ll get a false reading.
I ended up moving states and got a new doctor, who told me to get a fibroscan again. I was like, no, n more fibroscans! But I went anyways. I’ve gotten 4 fibroscans from different techs and they’ve all read that I have a healthy liver with no scarring whatsoever and after being on Entecavir for a couple of years, my labs, ultrasounds, and fibroscans are are normal and I’m almost at undetectable. I feel very lucky. My viral load was in the 999,999,999 range (don’t remember the exact number) which is almost unbelievable but now it’s less than 100.
Hepatitis B diagnosis was hard at first, and there are times where I feel shame and sadness about this. However, it’s made me so strong - I never thought I could deal with a surprise diagnosis and now I’m mentally stronger than ever. I take care of my self with yoga and a plant-based diet, sleeping well, and spending my time on things that matter to me. I got therapy, support from close friends and family, and feel like I truly have a long life to live. I’m so happy I found out I have Hepatitis B now instead of later.