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Hepatitis In Goldy’s Corner

July 28th is National Hepatitis Day and we highlight its awareness and prevention with a very public story of my colleague Devon Nicholson A.K.A. Hannibal of The HANNIBAL TV.

Hannibal spent his entire life training to be in the WWE and had it in the bag. May 2007 Devon had a match with Abdullah the Butcher that left him seeing more than red, rather, leaving him cut without his permission and resulting in being given Hepatitis C virus.

He said Shreve had a piece of razor blade taped to his finger during the match, a wrestling practice known as “blading.” Abdullah knew he had Hepatitis C for over 10 years and still proceeded with complete carelessness, negligence, and in my opinion, complete cruelty.

Nicholson eventually landed a 3 year WWE contract after that match and had it taken away less than 3 weeks later after they found out he had contracted Hepatitis C.

“A lot of people out there are funny because people always like to call wrestling fake. One of the excuses people will make is saying, oh you were wrestling Abdullah the Butcher and didn’t expect to get cut? You’re an idiot. Well, he’s not from Sudan, he’s from Windsor Ontario Canada, he now lives in Atlanta, he had a restaurant. You’re not going into it wrestling somebody names the butcher and expecting to be actually cut, cause “wrestling’s fake.” Their whole hypothesis is just stupid.”
Even I was confused about how this all happened and how it could have not have been discussed pre-match?

“He was choking me in the corner and he taped the blades to his finger and you can see him on the video slicing me. He didn’t have my permission. He wasn’t found guilty of giving him Hepatitis C rather negligence, assault, and battery. Whether he passed it to him or not, he was negligent knowing he had it and decided to share razor blades.”

There are various strains of Hepatitis C, and they both had genotype 2. He was tested the year before that match and negative for the virus. He had just gotten back from Puerto Rico and his then Girlfriend asked him to get a full blood test. He was glad he did because that established his timeline.

I asked him how he found out about contracting it, how long since that bloody match, and if he felt any symptoms.

“It was 2 years. When they did the liver biopsy on me in 2012 they found my liver had been damaged from having hep C. It’s a disease that slowly attacks the liver leading to liver cancer or liver failure or death. It’s not something that will have quick effects on you. The treatment side effects from the medication were far worse than the effects of the disease itself at that point.”

Devon is still waiting for his full justice through very expensive lawsuits still pending. In 2014 Hannibal received some money towards the 6.5-million lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) hall-of-famer Lawrence Robert Shreve, known as Abdullah the Butcher in the ring. It was used for an experimental treatment back then to stay alive which he is grateful for.

Hannibal talks about this new treatment here in this CBC News Story:

Hannibal was recently on Russo’s Brand’s Goldy’s Closet in support of World Hepatitis Day. The promo is here Watch the video version on The RELM Network or listen to the audio episode free on iTunesGoogle PlaySpotify, and iHeartRadio!

HANNIBAL continues to share informative information on his YouTube channel and across his social platforms. Something very helpful from Hannibal’s journey is what I learned at the end of our podcast that I will share with you all here. It’s invaluable because this advice and knowledge can possibly apply to other diseases as well.

“My advice is If you have any kind of H or h c get it treated. If one doctor won’t treat you, keep going to a doctor that will treat you. If you don’t have medical insurance, message the drug companies themselves. A lot of the time they’ll find a way to get you on the treatment one way or another. Or doctors, for the people who don’t finish their medication, sometimes those people have to return their medication to the doctors and the doctors will just keep it. If it’s not expired they’ll give it to people that can’t afford it. They’ve told me that themselves. There are ways of getting it. Do whatever you can to get it”

Please subscribe to THE HANNIBAL TV YouTube & follow at @TheHannibalTV because he’s a plethora of amazing information. It’s he that brought my attention to World Hepatitis Day (WHD) which is recognized annually on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011). Dr. Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967, and 2 years later he developed the first hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis impacts more than 354 million people worldwide.

When I was a kid there were so many PSAs for so many STD’s and other diseases one could contract. These days, not so much. That’s why this day is so important.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It may be caused by drugs, alcohol use, or certain medical conditions. But in most cases, it’s caused by a virus. This is known as viral hepatitis, and the most common forms are hepatitis A, B, and C.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.

Sometimes there are no symptoms of hepatitis in the first weeks after infection — the acute phase. But when they happen, the symptoms of types A, B, and C may include fatigue, nausea, poor appetite, belly pain, a mild fever, or yellow skin or eyes (jaundice). When hepatitis B and C become chronic, they may cause no symptoms for years. By the time there are any warning signs, the liver may already be damaged.

Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can spread from person to person in many different settings. It typically causes only a mild illness, and many people who are infected may never realize they’re sick at all. The virus almost always goes away on its own and does not cause long-term liver damage. It usually spreads through food or water. Food can be tainted when it’s touched by a person with hepatitis who did not wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Many adults who get hepatitis B have mild symptoms for a short time and then get better on their own. But some people are not able to clear the virus from the body, which causes a long-term infection. Nearly 90% of infants who get the virus will carry it for life. Over time, hepatitis B can lead to serious problems, such as liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.

You can get it through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. In the U.S., it’s most often spread through unprotected sex. It’s also possible to get hepatitis B by sharing an infected person’s needles, razors, or toothbrushes. And an infected mother can pass the virus to their baby during childbirth. Hepatitis B is not spread by hugging, sharing food, or coughing. Anyone can get hepatitis B, but people who have multiple sex partners or inject illegal drugs, have a contaminated tattoo needle used, have a higher risk.

Hepatitis C spreads through infected blood. In the U.S., sharing needles or other items used to inject drugs is the most common cause of infection. Getting a tattoo or body piercing with an infected needle is another means of exposure. A mother may pass the virus to their child at birth. In rare cases, unprotected sex spreads hepatitis C, but the risk appears small. Having multiple sex partners, HIV, or rough sex seems to raise the risk for spreading hepatitis C.

People who have injected illegal drugs at any time, even one time, many years ago, could be walking around with chronic hepatitis C. Because there are often no symptoms, many former drug users may not realize they have the infection. People who received a blood transfusion before 1992 also have a higher risk. Before that year, donated blood was not screened for the hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis A almost always goes away on its own, and no medication is needed. You can treat chronic hepatitis B by controlling the virus and keep it from damaging the liver.  Antiviral medications may help. C currently has the latest drug to be approved by the FDA is glecaprevir and pibrentasvir (Mavyret).

One of the most common complications of chronic hepatitis is cirrhosis. This is a scarring of the liver that can be found with a biopsy. Cirrhosis makes it difficult for the liver to do its job and can lead to liver failure. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and swelling in the belly and legs. In severe cases, patients may experience jaundice and confusion.

Viral hepatitis is the top cause of liver cancer, so people with chronic hepatitis B or C need monitoring even if they feel healthy. Blood tests can detect proteins that suggest the presence of liver cancer. Ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs can reveal abnormal lesions in the liver (seen here in green). A biopsy is needed to determine if these areas are cancerous. Tumors that are found early may be surgically removed. But most liver cancers are difficult to treat.

I asked HANNIBAL how he found out about contracting it, how long since that bloody match, and if he felt any symptoms.

“It was 2 years. When they did the liver biopsy on me in 2012 they found my liver had been damaged from having hep C. It’s a disease that slowly attacks the liver leading to liver cancer or liver failure or death. It’s not something that will have quick effects on you. The treatment side effects from the medication were far worse than the effects of the disease itself at that point.”

Listening to your body and having routine physicals and checkups need to be more of a priority. I know so many people in my industry that don’t even have health insurance. Even some colleagues in Canada with the free healthcare they receive don’t find it important to go.

There are vaccines to protect against hepatitis A and B. If you have chronic hepatitis, there are steps you can take to keep your liver resilient. Avoid alcohol, which can cause additional liver damage. Check with your doctor before taking any medications or supplements, because some are tough on the liver.

Remember this July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, and every day that if you contract this virus there is help out there. Stay calm, and find a doctor who is dedicated to helping you. Living with hepatitis:

1. remember the people around you. Let them know to get vaccinated against hepatitis B.

2. Pass on the smokes, drugs, and booze. It passes through your liver. All those things make it really hard for your liver to do its job. I digress, no one ever gets up to the podium to say thanks for an award and says, “I owe all of this success to drugs and alcohol.” Remember that one even if you don’t have hepatitis.

3. Exercise, but speak to your doctor about what’s right for you.

4. Pay attention to your emotions. Don’t get down. Find a support group with others who understand what you’re going through. It will help.

5. Practice safe sex. Be responsible and care about your partner. Make sure they get vaccinated and condoms can really help from spreading the disease.

6. Cover open cuts.

7. Ask about antiviral therapy

Antiviral therapy may be an option for some people with HBV. Although it is not a cure, antiviral treatment can help reduce your risk of liver disease and other complications, as well as decrease the chances of spreading your infection to others. Several oral antiviral medications are available, all of which fight the virus and weaken its effects on your liver. Consult with your doctor about these drugs and whether they are right for you.

By educating yourself about hepatitis B and plugging into a strong social and medical network, you can live well with this chronic condition.

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