Saturday, August 20, 2005

August 20 - Undetectable!

So, wonderful, fabulous news regarding my post-tx pcr: undetectable hepatitis c virus (sensitivity of 50 IU)! Obtaining the results was not as straightforward as expected. Arrived at 7:30 a.m. appointment with nurse Sharon, who advised that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care had not sent the results of any hcv pcr testing from any of the clinic’s samples submitted since the end of June, evidently short staffed and backed up with tests. However, pretty sure that the pcr had been read by now, I managed to procure a direct telephone number for the Ministry virology lab. Within an hour, they had the results to nurse Sharon. Bloods are looking improved, particularly hemoglobin, but white cells and neutrophils continue to be pretty low. Sharon assured me that these will come up. Also assured me that my hair will indeed start growing back in at some point within the next few months and that I can look forward to having a lovely “hedgehog” head look as the bristling new growth comes in. Am actually looking forward to this!

Post treatment almost a month now, with less immediate “normal” feeling than I’d hoped for, but still much better than on combo. I’m moody, more so than when on treatment. Discussed at yesterday’s appointment and was advised that the rebalancing of my neurochemistry, as well as hormones (as treatment put me into postmenopausal status), are probably having a lovely general effect. This should abate. Great developments include that the original arthritic flare I experienced has completely stopped and I’m back to lots of walking and my total yoga routine. Have energy to burn! Brain fog seems permanently gone. Have unfortunately developed a tooth abscess, so am back on antibiotics again. They will monitor and book dental surgery once my immune status improves (i.e. wbc/neut counts come up). Meantime, taking the antibiotic capsules, rinsing with salt water and using clove oil for pain management. While at dentist yesterday, was advising dental technician of my new, improved hcv status for their records and she asked about my chemotherapeutic regime. It turns out she’s just started interferon chemo for leukemia and is on the same redipen that I was using. We talked for a while and exchanged telephone numbers. The connectivity of the universe never ceases to amaze me.

Cottaging was wonderful, with the best weather that’s probably ever been experienced in Muskoka, Ontario for two consecutive weeks! It was hot, beautiful, relatively bug-less (a very good thing given the propensity of West Nile virus in mosquitoes within Ontario), with the lake at a balmy 82 degrees F. We had one day of rain only. Spent quality time together with family and ate more food than is probably humanly possible. A friend of Phil’s was also up North, so he stayed with them for a couple of extra days and took the train down to Toronto on Wednesday. He’s off to Montreal today to visit my sister and her family. Next weekend, he’ll fly to London, Ontario to spend the final week before school in two homes, with invitations from both my friends Barb and Joan, who each have boys around the same age. Ron and I will pick him up the final week from Joan’s. Busy boy.

Back to work, back to life, moving with increased speed, more and more projects, plans and concepts building. What an incredible six months. How much it’s given me to take forward. How happy I am that it seems to have been worthwhile. How hopeful I remain for a sustained response.