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.

24 Comments:

Blogger Ron Metcalfe said...

Hi Sue

You sound positive brimming with good news and energy - despite the setbacks of the absess & hormonal and neurochemistry rebalancing.

And many congratulations on the PCR result. Every good wish for a SVR next.

All the time I've been reading your blog 'brain fog' never was apparent - so I can just imagine there will be no stopping you now.

Am really pleased to hear your news. All the best
Ron

10:47 AM  
Blogger Kerry Grace said...

Sue,

You sound so fabulously cheerful! I am thrilled all is going well for you and will keep fingers crossed for SVR. The “cottaging” (we don’t use that word down here) sounds like it was the perfect way to end the treatment and transition into better health and brighter days. Bummer about the toothache, though, I imagine it has been put into perspective after combo treatment! A little confession about sharing your sense of the connectivity of the universe - Mike lived in downtown Toronto for a few years and we visit friends there every Christmas. Telling him about your blogs and descriptions of Toronto city life, he replied "It would be just like life if she lived next door to Robert!" Do you happen to have a next door neighbor named Robert? Ha! You have my best wishes for everything.

Kerry

12:38 PM  
Blogger MartinB said...

Great news Sue! May the recovery continue at full speed!
Best wishes,
Martin

12:39 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Anne said...

Hi Sue,

I'm so happy for you!! Coming off treatment is wonderful and to have the counts be undetectable is doubley wonderful. I hope it stays that way for you and I wish you all the best in the future.

Anne

2:11 PM  
Blogger SnoWav said...

hi sue congratulations on the test results.glad to hear you are feeling better but bummer on the tooth.So happy you got off the bus halfway from where Im going the ride is bummpy and Im getting grumpy.keep the light on.jeff

8:20 PM  
Blogger ijaz ahmad said...

Hi Sue,

Wonderfuul news at the return from the great holidays "Cottaging".

I wish you continue enjoying your life with great thrill of life.

With best wishes.

Ijaz

4:45 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ron,

Thank you for your kind comments. Now that there appears to be some cerebral clarity in life, I can honesty say that for me, there was a "brain fog" during treatment - sort of a haze over everything.

Congratulations on your admission to the registrar of social workers. I hope that you are experiencing some increased energy. Not long to go now - hang on! Sue

8:10 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Kerry,

No, Robert not next door, but great to hear that you manage to get up here annually! Although, Christmas in Toronto is not the best weather here.... no warmth, usually no snow, just that special cold, wet, grey slushiness we Torontonians love so much.

Thank you for your kind wishes Kerry. I really liked your recent blog regarding taking personal ownership and responsibility for our own health care. Thinking of you both,

Sue

7:06 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Martin,

Thank you! Great to read that you're back following a good break. Looking forward to hearing how things are progressing - you sound terrific.

Sue

7:10 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Elizabeth Anne and thank you so much. It really is sooo wonderful to be finished the treatment. Hope you're doing well. Your recent photo's on your blog are great (love the little rooster!).

Sue

7:17 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hey Jeff - I feel very fortunate to have only had a ticket for 1/2 the trip. You may be getting grumpy, but I've no doubt at all that you'll get through the entire ride! Last of the twenties complete, you're moving forward fast. Hang on,

Sue

7:21 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ijaz,

Thank you so much. You are almost finished your treatment as well, now into the final quarter. I hope for a smooth final chapter that passes quickly for you.

Sue

7:25 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

Hi Sue
Great to hear you are feeling so positive and well, despite the rebalancing and the tooth. Excellent news about the PCR result and being able to get back to yoga. I'm also really interested to hear about the brain fog going - I'm looking forward to all of these good things as I've passed the half way mark now.
best wishes
Jeremy

7:26 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jeremy,

Wonderful to hear from you following your vacation! Thank you for your comments. The absent brain fog is definitely a highlight of post treatment life - had been a little worried it might linger on.

So great that you're past the half way mark! Makes the end seem attainable. All best wishes,

Sue

8:43 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

Hi Sue,

Its been good catching up with your blog and wonderful to hear you're doing so well. I hope to soon be in that same fine, fine place.. though I think I may give the cottaging a miss (means something entirely different here!).

Stay well

Alan

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Eddie said...

Congratulations Sue on the PCR result. Good wishes for a SVR.
Eddie

5:51 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Alan,

Just don't want to know what "cottaging" means in your area... sounding sinister....

You must now be at final 2 weeks, I think. All the best to you Alan. I hope they pass quickly.

Sue

10:05 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Eddie,

Thank you for your kind wishes. Hope that all is well in Germany and that you are feeling okay. All the best,
Sue

10:06 AM  
Blogger lu said...

Hi Sue
Firstly WOW FANTASTIC! I am thrilled for you having such a good result at this point! Congratulations!
Secondly - sorry I haven't been in touch for so long! For some reason I thought I had written to both of your last blogs, and then when I checked, I hadn't at all! Brain problems I guess...
The hair thing - mine started growing back a bit when I became less anaemic and actually the regrowth is kind of soft, straight and just looks like new hair really. I quite like it!
You sound busy - and you sound like that's the way you like it! Hope you continue on the up and up!
Take care
Lu

2:37 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Lu,

Just read your blog and congratulations again on your final injection!

Am STILL waiting on the new hair.... oh well, am working with a shorter, punkier, pixier cut now - looking very city.

Definitely enjoying the faster pace! Will always be reminding myself, though, to take the time to appreciate those things that have been revealed during treatment. There's a lot learned about life and living that I have no intention of forgetting.

Have a great vacation in Spain! Sue

10:11 AM  
Blogger jane said...

With everything that's been going on, holidays etc, I realise I haven't added my congratulations, Sue. You have been an inspiration with your positive attitude, and support to everyone else.
I am so pleased for you.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jane,

Thank you so much. I believe we all inspire eachother. So supportive to be able to share the experience with others.

You sound busy and alive - isn't it great?!! I continue to read your blog and look forward to hearing how things are going.
Sue

9:16 AM  
Anonymous gogirl said...

thanks SUE,for making this possable....i just started treatment,and so for so good,just waiting on my 1 test....alot of people told me to get off it???boy its nice to read some possitive stuff....thanks...FRAN

7:21 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Fran/Gogirl,

Great to hear that your treatment is gong so well! It is doable, I really believe that. Just got my final six month post-treatment pcr results, which are negative! Makes every single moment of treatment worthwhile.

I hope your treatment passes quickly and painlessly. Would love to hear how things work out for you. Take care,
Sue

9:20 AM  

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