Maybe it was in a dope house in Tijuana, Mexico. Maybe I was shooting up in a gas station in East Los Angeles, near Brooklyn Avenue. But then again, it could have been in Orange County, in a nice suburban home. Wherever it was, I became contaminated with the hepatitis C virus, which can destroy the liver.
Perhaps I used someone else's needle, which was common in those days. Because I didn't care about anything other than feeling the rush. It was like a long climax.
All I know, is that it was over 30 years ago. Because that's about how long ago a doctor asked me if I knew I had hepatitis. I was surprised. But I wasn't shocked. There had to be some residual effects after shooting heroin over a span of 37 years.
But by the grace of God, my liver has stayed healthy for thirty years. (Healthy means one has minimal scarring and minimal inflammation.) And as I wrote a few weeks ago, the pharmaceutical companies finally came up with a pill, Harvoni, for the type of hepatitis C that I had.
And I say had, because a few days ago my liver doctor told me I was cured. When he entered the exam room he handed me a paper with the results of my last blood test. It said that the HCV virus was undetectable in my system. That was after only four weeks of taking one pill a day.
Needless to say, I was excited at the news.
I encourage any of you who have put a needle in your arm to ask your doctor to test you for hepatitis C at your next check up. Because now there is a cure.
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