As you've already seen from the blog in general, my name is Euclides Montes and I'm 25. I live in North London with my partner and I'm a sociologist. I was born in Bogotá, Colombia where I lived until the age of 16. In 1999, I moved to England and I've lived in London ever since. [That's me on the right!]
When I was 12, I got a scholarship to go to one of the best public schools in Colombia where the curriculum included agricultural studies. As part of that module, I had to start using tools and very soon into my first year at the school my right arm started to get very swollen and the pain was unbearable. After seeing several doctors [and being mis-diagnosed as suffering from acute tendonitis] I was eventually diagnosed with the late stages of a very aggressive bone cancer that was already spreading to other parts of my body.
I immediately started treatment that included chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a few operations. Half way through this very strenuous treatment, my body defenses were down entirely and a simple cold almost killed me. I was hospitalised and, sparing you all the gruesome details, three nights into my stay at hospital I almost died and I had to have two emergency blood tranfusions during the night. The tranfusions helped me to see it through the night and eventually I recovered and was allowed to go home.
In the course of the health screenings I had to undergo whilst having my treatment, it came to the attention of the doctors that I had been given Hep B and Hep C when I had received those emergency blood tranfusions.
So, at the age of 12 1/2, I also started to receive treatment for both cases of hepatitis.
By the age of 14, I had finished the inteferon course for my hepatitis and I had survived the tumour that had threatened my life. I stopped going to hospital and as far as I was aware, I was 100% healthy.
On the first week of January this year, and as part of a routine health check, I had my blood screened and I was very shocked when I heard that I still had Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. It was a very hard blow for me personally to find out that I had been carrying these diseases for the last 12 years and that I could go through life unaware of that fact.
For the best part of a month, I could not even tell my family the news. The pain was unbearable. I was very lucky to have an amazing partner that helped me to come to terms with being Hep B and Hep C positive and I don't doubt that life would have been a lot harder without her love and support [thanks beautiful].
And here we are now. I've had a liver biopsy, my blood has been screened and tested and the doctors have suggested that I undergo a treatment that would include 1 year of daily tablets and weekly injections. I have decided that I'm going to take the treatment [in spite of the less-than-50% chances of a full recovery and the undesirable side effects of the treatment - I will post later on on this topic] and in my next appointment I will hopefully start my treatment.
So, this is where this project comes from. Its purposes are manifold really. I want to make sure people learn more about these diseases and raise awareness of this important issue. I want Hep positive patients to have a place where they can find the information they need to make informed decisions about treatment, lifestyle and other concerns that they may have. I want to use this as forum to help me put into words the challenges and worries that lie in the year ahead for me in the hope that my experience will help others in some way.
Hope you join me!