Saturday, July 30, 2005

July 30 - Cottaging

Well, two weeks since last interferon shot, one week since last ribavirin capsule. Performing the Saturday morning ritual: tall bold Starbucks coffee and sticky bun with butter. Had blood work done for my end of treatment viral load pcr July 22, courtesy of nurse Sharon. Took her a thank you card and a little gift (a soy candle). Figure that she mostly hears our whining and complaining – might be nice to have something positive. Will find out my results mid/end August, once back from the cottage.

It’s nice to be done with treatment. Some things are great, others not so terrific…. get those out of the way first. Hair continues to fall out. Went and had another cut yesterday. Am now between chin and ears. Stylist is wonderful; only wets hair, doesn’t wash it, cuts and leaves it to dry on own – end up with cute style that looks okay with no maintenance and follows the (minimal) wave of my hair. Also, only charges me half price! Have had a huge exacerbation of my rheumatoid arthritis over the last week – am told by physician that this is not uncommon. Evidently, interferon may act as a protective agent in terms of some illnesses during combo treatment, hence my having absolutely no arthritic pain during those six months. Am surely making up for it now! Yoga has become a meditative experience, with very minimal gentle stretching. Using ice packs, tiger balm, and Tylenol extra strength when absolutely necessary. Continue to walk, in hopes that it will help loosen things up, without pushing things too far. This should be a “pendulum” effect and I expect that, within a few weeks, I’ll experience a return to more normal levels of arthritic activity, the acute flare diminished. Have a Shiatsu treatment scheduled for this afternoon, which will help.

Things that are great: I finally have llama lashes! Long, long, long eyelashes! So long, in fact, that they hit my glasses. Must purchase eyelash curler. Am finding this hysterical, as I normally have really short, stubby, white blonde eyelashes that require two tons of mascara to even be seen. These are thick, long and slightly darker! Mascara not even required. Am tres impressed! Also good – vertigo is dissipating. Still have to be careful about where I am in time and space (no moving too quickly at too sharp an angle), but is definitely better than previous. Best, best news: Brain fog is gone. Absent. Has left the building. Like a veil has been lifted from in front of my face and everything is sharper and clearer. Is truly wonderful.

Needless to say, life has picked up speed somewhat. Out with my friend Ligia last weekend, basking on College Street patio drinking lattes and enjoying people, music and talk for hours. Ligia brought me a dozen yellow roses for completing treatment – what a sweetie! Tuesday, out with my sister Sally. Wednesday, best friend Barb took me out for dinner at my favorite Toronto restaurant, Peruvian “El Bodegon”, in celebration of birthday/end of treatment. Thursday, Ron, James and I off to Phil’s theatre arts camp drama production – amazing watching Phil, with the young kids singing and dancing, joking with the other counselors – he’s been invited back again next summer as a counselor. Then James and Annikka over to our place for a visit afterwards. Work insanely busy all week, but satisfying and fulfilling, and it is incredible not to feel beaten up at the end of a busy day.

The heat wave has broken finally here in Toronto the hotspot. After weeks of 35 degree weather, we’re down to a more seasonal 25 degrees, which is supposed to last. This is the hottest summer I’ve ever experienced in this city. No complaints – it is the weather I dream of on those cold, grey, snowy winter days. This weekend is Caribana, a huge celebration of Caribbean culture ( It’s wild, fun and a total party. Hoping to get out to the main parade today, which is spectacular and extends along Toronto’s lakeshore. Must also shop, shop, shop pre-cottage and pack, pack, pack. We’re driving up early Monday morning, thereby missing the mega long weekend traffic that will be present on the only highway that leads to Northern Ontario from Toronto. Soon we’ll be at the cottage, swimming in the cool, clear fresh water, smelling the giant fir trees, walking through the forest, and being close with family, all coming together for our annual reunion at the most beautiful spot in the world.



Blogger SnoWav said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:54 PM  
Blogger SnoWav said...

Aloha Sue,wonder if my arthritis will come back ,it left after I started TX. Best wishes to you on all your life's adventures.Good to know you have a most beautiful spot on earth it's worth a whole life time of looking to find it.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hey Jeff,

Have found IT. Amazing, it was there all my life, but it took awhile before I recognized it. So looking forward to being there.

WOW - my son and I are amazed at your family. Just totally, completely awesome! The page is really well done, too.

Yes, return of the arthritis not fab, but at least I got a six month break out of the deal. Some people remain free of it post treatment, evidently - will hope for you.

Best wishes for the remainder - less than 1/2 to go.


1:25 PM  
Blogger annikka said...

wow! you are always so busy! :)
i am so glad treatment is over and that you have LLAMA LASHES... lol. they should market that.
was really nice talking to you on thursdy night; you all mean a lot to me.
the cottage will be amazing. can't wait!
have a safe trip up and see you soon!
love, annochka

5:45 PM  
Blogger becca said...

hi sue,
i'm a friend of james'. bec...we've met a few times before. annikka told me about your blog and i thought i'd check it out and say congrats on your treatment being done. annikka is always saying what a strong lady you are. she loves you to peices! had them over for lunch today and they said how good you (and "little bun bun" as annikka call phil and ron) are doing. i was so glad to hear it.

have a wonderful time at the cottage this week!

6:06 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Annikka,

Great to see you guys on Thursday eve! Can't wait until we're all up at cottage next week. Amazing that you and James could coordinate school and work so that you're able to be there. Am so very glad! See you soon (as in two days).
love Sue

7:03 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Becca,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I checked yours out too and like it. Love the rats - I had a pet rat (Bert), for years. Agree, sponge Bob potentially a dangerous character...

Very cool that you can hear the parade from your place. We wanted to try and get down to it, but are consumed with cottage preparations.

Sounds like you had nice lunch with James and Annikka today - we are so excited that they are able to come up North cottaging for a week!


7:11 PM  
Blogger Kerry Grace said...

Enjoy your holiday. Hopefully the rest and relaxation will help with the transitioning stuff - wow Llama lashes! It is wonderful that you find something fun about all of this - especially as arthritis is flaring. (I get in a 'helpful hints' frame of mind when I'm reading bolgs . . . this is something more than one person has told me was kooky, but my mother swears by it - there is such arthritis and lupus in our family tree - she swears that completely cutting tomatoes, pototoes and bell peppers from her diet has helped to reduce her pain. Who knows? I believe what she says just because she's my mother!)

Have a GREAT trip!

Kerry Grace

10:29 AM  
Blogger ijaz ahmad said...

Hi Sue,

Thanks for continuing is great to read that you are enjoying your life.

i hope you enjoy your holidays.

with best wishes.


7:36 AM  
Blogger JayneC said...

Hi Sue, just wanted to say congratulations for finishing treatment and best wishes for the future, whatever it may bring. Thanks for all the tips, I shall definately be using some. I am, however, intrigued by the eyelashes. Did they not fall out with the hair? Or have they grown back double quick and double thick?
with love, JayneC

6:59 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Kerry,

Just back and rested post vacation. Thankfully, arthritis flare has subsided substantially. Thank you for the helpful hints - am always open to new concepts and will see what happens with reducing intake of those food items with next arthritis flare.

Caught up on blog reading this morning and left a comment on your most recent post... you both are in my thoughts and prayers, Kerry.


9:48 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ijaz,

Thank you for your kind comments. Vacation was wonderful and, as always, passed too quickly!

You are approaching treatment end quickly. Time can't move too fast in this regard! All best wishes,


9:51 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jaynec,

Evidently "llama lashes" a side of treatment - I didn't experience them until the very end of treatment when suddently, lashes seemed longer, darker and stand out straight, actually hitting my glasses. Wow. Am still reaping benefits! Head hair loss now seems reduced (stopped tx July 22), but so far, no new growth. Hopefully, it'll start coming in soon.

Thank you for your kind comments. Hope things are progressing well for you. Continued best wishes,


9:59 AM  
Blogger SnoWav said...

Hi Sue figured you might have went to the monthly post.How have you been feeling? Finished my weekend building project so now its just getting in the firewood and regular stuff.Cut back to 1200 on the riba for awhile and my taste is better and don't feel quite as crap.been in the 60s here the last few days and sunny.Enjoy the little summer left.jeff

5:59 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jeff,

I know - summer seems to be passing so quickly! We had bonus 2 weeks at cottage though, with incredible weather.

Glad you're feeling a bit better with cutting back the riba. Don't know how you were doing that high a dose - the amt you're still on is high.

Yes, am thinking about once monthly will be a good blog level. Will keep up when I can with the other blogs and I still quite like the slohepc message board. Am feeling pretty good - suspect full return to normal takes a little bit - am hugely impressed with renewed energy, which is fabulous.

Congratulations on finishing the project! Hope you continue to feel well and the weeks pass quickly for you. Sue

10:48 AM  

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