‘Successful women in ELPA’s family,’ second act
On March 8, 2021 – Women’s Day, ELPA organized ‘Successful women in ELPA’s family,’ a talk dedicated to highlighting some success stories of women involved in ELPA. It was the occasion to listen to some inspirational stories inextricably linked to patient advocacy, liver disease, and patients’ associations. The event was live-streamed on the ELPA Facebook page.
However, ELPA would like to continue raising awareness and share a positive message on this topic. Thus, it decided to turn the event into 6 written interviews featuring all the guests available on the ELPA website.
Fergane Heydarova, engineer, and Vice-President of the Turkish ELPA Member association HepYasam.
ELPA: When and how did you discover to have Hepatitis C?
Fergane: I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C by chance – I received my test results, and I discover it – when I was about to have rhinoplasty surgery in 2008.
E: How did your disease influence your job career? Did you struggle, or did you feel discriminated against? How did you manage to overcome all the obstacles?
F: Well, generally, there are sad stories about that, but I’m one of the exceptions, I believe.
As soon as I received my result, I explained my seniors the situation, there were many questions, but at the end of the day, I was welcomed with understanding. Even after two years, when I’ve decided to start the treatment and quit the job (due to side effects of treatment), I was asked to reconsider my decision cause I was told that I’d be supported. So I wouldn’t say that I had any obstacles to be discriminated against.
E: You are now a mother of a 6-year-old girl. Were you scared of transmitting Hepatitis C to her during your pregnancy?
F: Yes, I was afraid and told my infection doctors following my medical story since the beginning and the obstetrician later.
I was told that there was a tiny possibility and that I would have been check regularly.
F: My infection doctor made an outstanding contribution to this. Thanks to him, I met Ms. Hilal, the president of our association. She was the patient’s relative and went through hard times during her mother’s treatment. Together we saw many patients and their relatives and heard different stories that push me to engage in this association to support and sometimes speak on behalf of them. Since I committed to this association after my successful treatment, I wouldn’t say that it helped me deal with my disease.
E: A wish for the future…
F: I would like to see more women, strong women, not just hearing voices but strong voices expressing themselves.