Considering I was trying to find a good excuse not to go to the HepC symposium it all turned to be a positive if not bittersweet experience for me.
As you can imagine, the last year and a half has been heartbreaking without Allen. I guess I was afraid attending the symposium might reopen painful wounds I’ve been trying to heal. Anyway I mustered the courage up and off I went. My being a newbie on the board, Rosemary was an invaluable resource and a nice, easygoing travel partner. On arrival in Banff Thurs nite we were invited out for a lovely dinner with the AbbVie pharmaceutical reps so that was great for me to connect with them. Fri and Sat were jam-packed, long days up at the world renowned amazing Banff Springs Hotel. Pretty magical really with the huge wood burning fireplace and the snow coming down outside!! We met up with Del on these days.
The CASL and CAHN meetings and speakers were both interesting and knowledgeable. It was quite awe inspiring to be present in those big rooms with such a variety of liver passionate health care professionals from all over the world. There was a real positive buzz in the air with the recent news of increased availability of the DAA HepC drug regimens. As I expected I had a few emotional moments during some of the talks, especially ones referring to end stage liver disease, hepatorenal syndrome, H.E., need for transplantation, etc. A bit close to home if you know what I mean. I was kind of surprised there was no representation from any of the transplant clinics there, well none that I saw anyway.
I couldn’t help feeling profoundly sad for Allen, losing the life he loved so much. If only he had applied for a liver transplant when he was first diagnosed, he might still be alive today?? But all in all it was a very insightful, educational and enjoyable weekend for me. I am more inspired than ever to use my field of expertise, my lived experience and this recent educational opportunity to be the best advocate I can be to help anyone afflicted with the hepatitis C virus.
Susan Malloch, R.N. (Mill Bay) – TREASURER
Susan is retired (sometimes part-time), an orthopedic nurse and partner of our former Board Member Allen McCulloch who died recently while on treatment for hepatitis C. Susan wants to do what she can to help prevent others from having to go through what she and Allen did. She is willing to share her experience by speaking publicly about hepatitis C and end-stage liver disease as she did on World Hepatitis Day 2015 in Victoria, and at the Ministry of Health this year.