Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 12 - Moving On

Starbucks coffee and maple scone. Now part of weekend life. Also now part of weekend life, about once monthly, is blogging. I’ve come to enjoy putting a blog together. However, this blog was set up to document my HCV treatment course and that is completed. Successfully completed! It seems reasonable to close this blog. Moving on is important, both from the perspective of maintaining a hepatitis C focus on this site, and for personal development. This will be the final post for the HCV Treatment Journal. I’ll leave it online, with the hope that it may be useful for others having to face similar circumstances.

I’ve made many wonderful connections with some truly amazing people through this experience. Will continue to monitor both Ron’s forum and the SLO hep C message board, and will be checking in on the personal blogs of other hep C sufferers (links on sidebar). Want to shout out a huge thank you to everyone – you’ll never know just how much you’ve helped me get through this.

Will be setting up a new “Sue, Toronto” blog, to continue blogging about things in general: yoga, walking, Toronto, photos, the randomness of the universe, Toronto, etc… because I really do like to blog!

New blog site is

Really hope to hear from some of the people who drop by this site and, of course, anyone is welcome. It’ll probably take a little while until a reasonable post gets put together, but I’ll definitely be there.

All best wishes to everyone embarking on, going through, or having completed the HCV treatment journey. Not totally fun, but a journey that may open doors and bring forward perspectives not previously considered and unexpectedly mind altering. A very positive experience after all.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

March 4 - 6 Month Post-tx PCR = NEGATIVE

Well, that’s the very good news that I’m pleased to share this Saturday morning, with a Starbucks coffee and lemon scone in hand. Negative. That’s the last pcr testing that the government will fund, Ontario feeling that if you’re negative six months after finishing treatment, you’re negative for good. I feel inclined to share their optimism, feeling mighty optimistic myself. However, I will arrange to get tested annually, realistically disinclined to ignore the possibility of relapse.

Other hepc-related business – went for my annual liver ultrasound, which was just perfect – liver looking good, no cirrhosis, no portal hypertension and no masses. Was scheduled to do the “health care worker as patient” research interview yesterday morning, however, am sick as dog with some kind of cold, so have deferred until Monday morning, when I plan to be completely well again.

Cuba week long vacation was excelente! Resort was small, very clean, very nice, had great staff, reasonable food, fantastic white powder sand beach and a turquoise blue, clear ocean. A week “away from it all” was so good. My sister Sally and I flew with Sunwing and for the vacation charter concept, they were terrific, certainly surpassing other charters I’ve flown with previously in virtually every way. Weather was variable; we had about 3 cloudy days with some rain and about 4 knock you on your back scorchers. Managed to obtain a respectable amount of light tan and freckles. Sally, who inherited our mother’s French Canadian skin (as compared to the pale, freckled stuff I received via our Scot paternal line – thanks Dad!), is now a darkly tanned goddess. Very mixed crowd – hotel is German chain and there were lots of Canadian, Italian, German, French and British – it was great! Everyone was extremely tolerant of my continued pathetic attempts at Spanish. Kept up with daily yoga practice in the exercise facilities. The cloudy days allowed us to explore the local area, which is quite rural and beautiful; we were in the Guardalavaca area. This is the second time I’ve been to Cuba on holiday and it is lovely, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Flying into Holguin as you land at the airport, there is a long, tall white billboard/fence on which is printed in long, tall red letters “socialismo o muerte” – sort of says it all. Pics this month are Cuba vacation shots (a little variety from the regular Toronto fare).

Return to work, home and the real world now makes Caribbean vacation a distant dream. Work very busy, particularly with several of us hit by this illness. Suspect it’ll be awhile before work settles down. Lots of stuff going on with both of our kids, which is keeping us busy too. Phil off to Italy and Greece with his school music program in a week and we’re trying to get prepared. He turns 16 in two days…. man, the time flies….

Listening to: Arctic Monkeys (thanks to Banger and others on Ron’s forum, who are turning me on to tons of new music with a British/Euro slant), Boards of Canada, Rachid Taha and De-Phazz. Continuing yoga, with a restorative class on Wednesdays and, on Saturdays, a very interesting yoga practice with focus on Qigong breathing. Also still keeping up with Shiatsu massage every 2 weeks, convinced it is one of the big positives discovered during treatment.

It’s been freezing here (-20 C pre-wind chill this morning on our deck), but there is little snow. Still walking everywhere and am truly looking forward with longing to Spring, with the equinox and the balancing of the light and dark approaching.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

January 28 - Waiting Game

Saturday morning, venti starbucks bold coffee and cinnamon streusel coffee cake. Ready to embrace the day. The usual weekend fare for life in the working world: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping. However, it’s absolutely balmy outside (2 C), so am looking forward to doing some yoga and then heading off for a market walk to get the shopping completed. My sister Sal is going to head downtown and join me. There’s no snow and the sun is actually shining! Having my weekends completely knocked out for six months on treatment has provided me with a unique appreciation for being able to accomplish routine tasks on Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate every weekend moment.

Tried to obtain my 6 month post treatment pcr test results yesterday, but nurse Sharon is off on a business trip, my specialist has moved to Singapore and the back-up staff were unable to locate my chart. Ah well, I do recognize that this is just how things go sometimes, particularly on a Friday. Will call next week once Sharon’s back. In terms of my hepatologist, was aware that he was leaving and, in some ways, this works out well. Had been considering transferring to the liver centre within the health care institute where I’m employed and will now do so for follow-up care. When first diagnosed, I was reluctant to be seen at my place of work, as I wanted to maintain confidentiality until figuring out my own head space around all of this. Now, much more secure in myself, it just doesn’t matter. Our institute is among the best hepatitis c service providers in North America and I’ll transfer to them. So for now, play the waiting game. I feel so darn great that the thought of relapse is, well, it’s terrible. Am trying hard not to go there, but actually getting the pcr results will sure take away some edge. Just want to know.

Has been a busy month. Two birthdays: our eldest son James turned 25 (wow!!) and my youngest sister Sally also celebrating. We had a party for each at our home on separate weekends, so it’s been lots of dinners, cakes and presents. All wonderful! Big news this month is that James has been accepted into a program he’d wanted at the University of Toronto. We are so proud of him. It’s my alma mater, so this is especially nice for me. My grandparents were also U of T alumni. Carry on the tradition James! Pictures this month, therefore, are of the University of Toronto (, originally founded in 1827, so an eclectic mix of architectural styles covering a multitude of downtown city blocks, running from Spadina Avenue to University Avenue in East-West dimension and from Bloor Street to College Street North-South. It is just slightly North of us and we frequently take advantage of its proximity to walk through the beautiful campus.

Music on the discman this month: Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Shakira (solo en Espanol por favor), Be Good Tanyas (thanks James), Postal Service (thanks Sarah), and still some Imogen Heap and Stars (Ageless Beauty gorgeous).

Am planning a few days away in February on a Caribbean or Mexican beach. Midwinter in Toronto, this is an absolute mental health necessity. Ron’s too busy to get away right now, but I may go with my sister, or friend, or maybe for 3-4 days on my own. Am getting excited just thinking of the ocean, the sand, the music and especially, the warmth.

Today is January 28th – my mother died quite some time ago – today is her birthday. I will light a candle. I’m thinking of you, mom.