Thursday, September 15, 2005

September 15 - Healing

Eight weeks now since treatment ended. Feel wonderful! Good energy, good attitude, grateful for what’s been gained, beyond viral response. Certainly, my perspective has been enhanced and, without effort, I still notice the beauty in the world, visual and otherwise. This is nice – a part of me had been suspicious that this renewed appreciation of life and living might be a hidden lovely side effect of treatment, that I would somehow lose it as the drugs left me. Fortunately, it remains.

The last month has brought end of summer and beginning of another cycle of school: James and Annikka both starting new courses and balancing work at the same time, and Phillip now in grade 10. Amazing how the time passes. It will be one year next month that I was positively diagnosed with hepC. Treatment seemed agonizingly slow to start and painfully tedious to get through, but retrospectively the last year has flown by. Perhaps this is part of the healing process: part of separating myself from the thought of being infected with a “communicable disease”; part of moving away from the distaste of treatment.

Healing is generally happening at a pretty good pace! Social life has picked up immensely. Ron and I had a great weekend out in London, Ontario with friends. Finally seem to be able to get out and about with people who I’ve been neglecting for months. More energy is available and I have hugely increased physical strength – can now carry two bags of groceries in knapsack and more in arms when walking home and shopping through Kensington market – absolutely impossible a short time ago. I’d lost a little weight towards the end of treatment, but it’s returning nicely. Had Shiatsu massage with Allison Tuesday, who commented that I seemed less thin and drawn, and that my colour was much, much better (as in I now have some). Will definitely be continuing the Shiatsu therapy. It was invaluable for me during treatment and I continue to reap benefits.

Also keeping up with yoga, with some limitations, i.e. I tried to do a Bikram class this past weekend and did well for about the first 45 minutes, after which blood pressure started climbing and, at about 60 minutes, had to stop, relax and cool. Perhaps body just not up for hot yoga quite yet. Am convinced, though, that I unloaded a ton of toxins in the process. Will stick to room temperature Hatha yoga for now, both at home and for classes. Yesterday, attended a “yoga for you” class at a recently discovered site in the market (, and loved it. Seems a perfect class for the recuperative time my body and mind now require. Will continue there weekly, supplemented by my home yoga, for awhile.

Still awaiting return of hair growth. And waiting. Cut it short, short. Was slightly traumatic at first, but am adjusting and it would seem that lots of people really like it this way. Am having way fun using product to create different effects. During treatment, it started coming in completely grey/white, but that’s something that would have happened eventually anyway and is easy enough to deal with (hello L’Oreal). Tooth situation seems to be straightening out – is actually not tooth abscess, but it would seem there’s some bone/gum loss from the chemo, so it’s more of a periodontal thing. Anyway, is much improved. Hot flashes have returned (were gone during treatment), but are becoming more infrequent than a couple of weeks ago. Think that’s about it for residual icky stuff. Everything else good!

Awaiting the autumn. Has been continuing hot here, up to 35 degrees last week. Cooling now though. Wonderful in the morning walking in to work, with sun and a breeze, squirrels knocking chestnuts out of the trees onto the streets and a few progressive leaves starting to turn colour at their tips. Autumn is beautiful here, with crispness, colours and smells that remind you that you are alive.

My sister Sally is picking me up at work tomorrow and we’re driving up north for a weekend at the cottage, just the two of us. Will be lovely. The following weekend, Ron, Phil, his friend Mike, and I, with Sal and her daughter Sarah, heading up again for the weekend, with a “Fall Fair” being held in the local town – is always great fun. Am hoping to be able to cottage maybe once more prior to heading up for Thanksgiving in mid-October, when we’ll close up for the winter. That final weekend always a surprise – has been warm enough some years to swim, and other years so cold it snowed. The autumn up north will be at its spectacular multicoloured best over the next month, or so, and I want to incorporate as much of it as possible. The cottage is that place where reflection, consideration and growth all seem to flow.



Blogger Alan said...

Hi Sue

It's great to hear your life is returning to some normality.

Thanks for your message, i'm now a veteran of combo treatment and already I can feel small changes. Long may it continue!

Stay well


10:36 AM  
Blogger jeremy said...

Hi Sue
Great to hear you're feeling good - particularly for me because I realise that my biggest fear is that the treatment will be a success but I won't feel better!
Hope it continues for you at a good pace.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Ron Metcalfe said...

Hi Sue

Good to read your positivity and good news about life post-treatment. I'm beginning to feel like I'm hanging on by the finger nails - really hoping (when I can visualise it) that I will find the Spanish sunshine energising for the last 3 weeks of my treatment.

Great to read about life returning to normality for you.

All the best

1:38 PM  
Blogger Kerry Grace said...

It is good to hear from you! You sound very happy and looking forward to a beautiful season ~ your cabin just sounds lovely. I hope you enjoy and am glad you are feeling so well.


11:49 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Hi Sue,
I am glad to hear you feeling so well and happy. Yes I was slightly afraid that the feelings were post treatment euphoria but except for the occassional hiccough when I have a bad day, I am generally a much happier and dare I say nicer person to be around these days. Wish I had the guts to cut my hair short too, maybe in a week or two.
Hope you enjoy the autumn.
best wishes

9:08 AM  
Blogger SnoWav said...

You sound great Sue,In Cali with the whole fam for a vacation.been very long days but awesome fun they are a very high energy as you can imagine.I just got a chance to sit down for a few minutes and saw your new post.All the best to you and your fam.34 weeks on line.jeff

9:33 PM  
Blogger ijaz ahmad said...

Hi Sue,

i am very pleased to read that you are feeling great as always. i hope you enjoy your life with more health and happyness.

All the best.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Alan,

The return to "normal" life is a good thing indeed. Am finding there's some balancing to be achieved, but the changes as the drugs leave our bodies are welcome. So glad you're feeling them too! Congratulations on finishing tx and moving on. Sue

8:53 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jeremy,

Trust me, when treatment ends you feel better. No question. I think there's definitely time taken for the meds to dissipate, but almost immediately there was increased energy and decreased brain fog, at least for me.

I hope you're doing alright and treatment is progressing without too much difficulty. Am off to read up on the blogs, once I've finished responding to comments. Will definitely be checking in to see how things are going for you.

All best wishes, Sue

8:57 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ron,

Keep those fingernails dug in and hang on - you've not long to go! I truly hope that the Spanish sunshine (am SO jealous!) is providing a calming, warming culmination to your treatment. All the best for a relaxing final few weeks, Sue

9:00 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Kerry,

Thank you for your kind words. The cottage really is the most wonderful place and the time we manage to spend there is precious.

I hope that you are doing okay. With the new position and continued responsibilities you face, it can't be easy. Your strength and fortitude continues to astound me. Am thinking of you both, Sue

9:11 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Wendy,

Yes, post-treatment life is just good, good, good! Agree that there are some days that are difficult, but at such times I try to remind myself that this is just how life goes - difficult days existed before treatment, too.

For me, the weakness/fatigue that accompanied treatment made slowing down a necessity, whereas now I'm trying desparately to hold myself back from rushing too fast and taking on too much.... working on reducing that "type A" me to perhaps an "A minus", as a benefit of lessons learned during combo.

So glad to hear that you're happier (you're always nice, nicer must be amazing!). All best wishes for continued good health and happiness! Sue

9:20 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jeff,

Just caught your post on the SlohepC board - mountain climbing and quartz digging while vacationing in California at 34 weeks on combo has got to be one of the most impressive treatment regimes I've heard of yet! Awesome! Glad you and the family are having a wonderful time.

As always, you sound positive and so able to stay on top of things. Continue looking forward, it's not too long to go now. Sue

9:29 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ijaz,

Thank you for your comment. I am pretty sure you've now just finished treatment - congratulations!! Will be checking in on your blog and will comment further there. All my hopes and prayers for svr and a quick post-treatment recovery are with you. Sue

9:31 AM  
Blogger ijaz ahmad said...

Hi dear Sue,

Thanks for your comments in my site.

i want to say special for your love, guidence and sharing your feeling with me. i can not forget your sweet, happy writing blog. you got smiling pleasant personality which helps others aswel.
i wil be all ways wishing you good heathy life.


10:51 AM  
Blogger SnoWav said...

Aloha Sue,I will be posting the story of that climb once I get it sorted out there were things that went beyond normal explanation, So I found you can have mystical experences on TX cool , let you know when it's up. jeff

12:55 PM  
Blogger denson said...

Thanks for you comment at my site. (

I put a permanent link to your site as an example of a Hepatitis C patient's experiences.

My site usually gets people who are newly diagnosed so, your site should prove beyond value to them.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Anne said...

Hi Sue,

I just looked at all your beautiful pictures! Hadn't noticed them until today for some reason. Surprisingly it looks a lot like BC. Glad you have shared :)

7:18 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Dear Ijaz,

Thank you for such kind words. It is really incredible how we have all been there for eachother through this. Reinforces my belief that humanity is intrinsically good (certainly the hepc bloggers are!).

I hope you are feeling better each day post treatment. Sue

8:25 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hey Snowav,

Look forward to hearing about mystic experiences on treatment - sounds amazing! Hope things are going well for you and that the time is passing quickly. Take care,


8:28 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Denson,

Thanks for the link. Being able to access blogs about others experiences with hepC and treatment has been very helpful for me while going through this. I hope that my blog, or one of the many others available through the links, might provide someone out there with a less isolated space. We're not alone.


8:34 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Elizabeth Anne,

Thank you - glad you like the pics. I actually only just recently figured out how to paste the javascript into my blog to do the Flikr zeitgeist thing. Am hoping to load some local Toronto shots on the next blog post.

Very interesting that Northern Ontario looks a lot like B.C. I've never been out there, but hear that it's absolutely beautiful. Certainly, your pics are gorgeous!

Hope all is well, Sue

8:51 PM  

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