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Common Bonds | Paul McVettyhorizontal rule

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Paul McVetty is forty-six years old and the father of a seventeen-month old, adopted daughter. He was diagnosed five years ago with Hepatitis C. He is awaiting a liver transplant, which is quite possibly the only thing that can save his life. He is also waiting for a blood test to see if he qualifies for Interferon treatments. His greatest wish is for things to go back to the way they were before his diagnosis.

On Mortality
One of the things that happens for me when I begin to approach talking about this is that it is so big for me and emotionally I get overwhelmed. It's difficult to begin to pinpoint that this loss belongs to this, that feeling belongs to that, so I have found out that I've been living in a state of emotional shock. In that shock I haven't really been able to get to some of the pain that I have associated with this. Some of the feelings, in a sense, have been frozen.
On His Illness
I find myself being jealous a little bit, now this might sound very strange, very bizarre, but just the idea of being treated. For my illness there really is no treatment except on your liver. They can treat my symptoms, which I have a fair amount of, and this is an illness that I have for life. Now I'm not going to get chemotherapy, there's not going to be a treatment that is going to, at this point in time, remove this virus from my body. I've had a difficult time accepting that. I really like the idea of not wanting the illness to take over your life. I've had a very difficult time. I've struggled really hard to have a normal life, or my old life.

On Support
I think the thing that helps me most is I have a lot of wonderful people around me and in support groups. I do some volunteer work in the organ and tissue donation awareness groups. I get tons of support there. But really one on-one-personal, down to the nitty-gritty, I just want someone to listen to me. I want someone to listen to my pain, my grief. I want to be able to express to them how much I love them and how much I care about them. I don't want anybody to give me advice, take this herb it's great for your liver.

On Acceptance and Healing
I would not have chosen this particular road for myself. But since it is mine, I'll deal with what I have to. I had a lot of mistrust of the world and people. I think how Hepatitis has helped me is that I've come in contact with so many people who have showed me another side of humanity: the kindness, the love, the attention. In a sense, they are loving me back into loving myself, being a more trusting, open, alive person, if you will. Sometimes I'm very joyful. I do volunteer work. I belong to a walking group and last Sunday was Bay to Breakers. We have a walking group of children who've all had transplants and we walked a few miles in the Bay to Breakers. To see all these kids who have had transplants, and they have energy. Their parents are hopeful and bright again and transformed. If I didn't have Hepatitis-C and needed a liver transplant, I would have never gotten contact with that group of people.

Next: Cathy Chin

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