Saturday, October 15, 2005

October 15 - Flying

Saturday morning with grande bold starbucks coffee and a pumpkin scone (being seasonal). Some habits die hard! A lovely Toronto autumn weekend, sunny and crisp.

Is a year since I was diagnosed with hepC and almost three months since completing combo therapy. Now that treatment is finished, there’s not as much relevant material to post in the blog – life is flying and my world has returned to the hectic pace of work deadlines, bringing up teenager, getting together with friends, keeping the house together, and, of course, development of mind and body. There are obviously things kept, hopefully the positive, growth-oriented concepts that must accompany such an experience. There are also things lost, or in the process of being lost, that I am happy to see go. I am no longer dependent upon water for normal existence (or whatever optimal treatment existence might be characterized as), and while I have kept up with a fair amount of “clear fluid intake”, no doubt a healthy thing, multiple litres of water each day is no longer required. Appetite has curbed and I am no longer hungry all of the time, as compared to feeling continuously starving while on treatment. Weight has pretty much maintained throughout the process and am about 50 kg now, as compared to 51 at treatment onset, so the hunger thing during treatment was likely a good physiologic response to try and keep the weight on. Hair still isn’t exactly thick and luxurious, but what’s there seems to be growing and is in much better shape, plus no more is falling out. I am optimistic that what fell out will start growing back in soon.

One of the big things that I’m pleased to lose is the “sick person syndrome”, that I believe is a normal response to being diagnosed with an illness, and especially to undergoing treatment. Despite trying desperately to lead as normal a life as possible on treatment, it wears you down and with that comes associated feelings of helplessness, dependence on others, isolation…. a quasi victim mentality. Although I have learned to accept assistance and love from others much more willingly as a result (one of the big positives), any victim status is happily left behind. I am reveling in my autonomy! This is not, for me anyway, a completely smooth transition and there are adjustments to be made during the shift from one mindset to another, as well as to physical reactions to the medications vacating the building. It is becoming much easier as time goes on.

We closed up the cottage over the Canadian Thanksgiving and the autumn colours were possibly the best ever seen. Looking out across the lake was brilliant, with oranges, reds and yellows lighting up the forest before the long, cold winter. It was cold up there at night, below zero, but the days were warm enough. My sister Sal and I cooked up the mega-turkey dinner, which was delicious. We kept the fire going 24 hours in the big fireplace and the wood stove in the kitchen was kept stoked throughout the weekend. It was wonderful to spend time with my father, who’s now returned to the States.

Finally figured out how to do the flickr zeitgeist thing, so there is a collage of photos from summer cottage posted on the sidebar. If you click on one, it should bring you into the photostream. Am going to try to load some of the cottage fall colours – downtown Toronto shots to come. Still having fun with the digital (another plus from treatment), and now seriously desire a better camera. Christmas is coming….

Have been keeping up with the blogs, plus some new ones, about once weekly, as well as with Ron’s forum ( and the slohepc forum ( Am so happy to see some familiar people coming to the end of treatment. All my hopes and prayers are with them for svr, health and happiness.



Blogger SnoWav said...

Hi Sue always look forward to your post's been raining here for 10 days now the sun came out today for about 30 seconds so I ran up to the stardeck for the foliage pic of the day. Is it me or has the slo hep board changed over the last months? it seems ((((whiney)))
I think it may just be harder for me to stay positive. A little tylnol takes care of the sides but I can see from pictures taken of me that I look sickly.Have not lost any hair but it's more gray.Getting older and wiser quicker yep eeee. happy trails too you Sue Toronto cheers jeff

10:54 PM  
Blogger teddy said...

Great to hear you thinking about getting back to normal Sue. Must be difficult after so long with your life on hold. Autumn sounds wonderful there, summer is hanging on and on here! (long may it last)
You sound very positive-So good to hear.
All the best... Teddy

7:19 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Snowav,

Hang in - you're the most postive person on treatment I've ever come across and I am completely confident you will get through this thing. Older and wiser is a good thing (well, wiser is anyway!). Hopefully, the rain will stop, the sun will come out and you'll be lifted. Ten days of rain is enough to bring even the most positive person down!

Have noticed the same thing about slohepc. Am hopeful that it's just some of the current group populating the board and that as new people come on, it'll revert to a less whiney place to go. Am a big believer in the cyber world being a place to be bolstered and find a proactive mindset around hepC and treatment.

Happy trails to you too, Jeff. Keep looking forward - not too much more left to go. Sue

10:09 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Teddy,

Yes, things are rebalancing quickly, much to my enjoyment! It takes a little time, I think, for everything to restabilize, but now at three months post-tx it's really coming together.

Am envious of your extended summer. Is becoming much cooler here (cloudy, grey and 10 degrees today). Enjoy the warmth there! All best wishes for the remainder of your treatment to pass smoothly.

10:17 AM  
Blogger carol said...

Hi Sue,
Ditto what I said to Jane!

2:29 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Carol,

Done. Forum is a valuable place to comment on how great it is to be through it all - thank you for making the suggestion. Nice to hear from you and all best wishes,

3:13 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

Hi Sue
Delighted to hear that you are doing so well, great to hear about the success, which is the thing for all of us to keep in view.
Best wishes

6:36 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Hi Sue,
Thanks for your comment on my blog, I AM starting to feel better now the Thyroxine is kicking in.
I was wondering..Have you managed to hold on to the Llama lashes post treatment? ;)

9:10 AM  
Blogger Ron Metcalfe said...

Hi Sue

Good to read your news - as optimistic and positive as ever, providing inspiration about how it can be post-treatment.

Great pix - once again, bringing up lots of memories for me of life in Ontario. Looking forward to the Topronto set - curious to know what I would even recognise these days!

Wishing you well

8:51 AM  
Blogger jane said...

Hi Sue. Glad you are feeling so good. The cottage sounds lovely.
I know what you mean about sick person syndrome. It's such a relief to shake free of all of that.
But I suspect I've been making up for lost time rather too much - working frantically, out every night, packed weekends.
I'm going to try to take the time to slow down over the next few weeks.
As Teddy says, Summer still hanging on here, in spite of leaves falling. I still have roses in my garden.
best wishes

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Wendy,

Really glad to hear that the thyroxine is making a difference!

Sadly, the llama lashes have disappeared. However, given the choice of great eyelashes versus end of treatment, the second option is the definite winner. Still, it was nice to have the Bambi look for awhile.

Best wishes for continued recovery,

9:42 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ron,

You are sounding good. Glad you like the Ontario cottage country pics. Plan to post Toronto on November blog - will include College and Spadina for you (the Clarke still looks the same, but there's a quite a lot of change otherwise - Spadina was rebuilt several years ago to include a central meridian lane devoted to streetcars).

Your pictures of Morrocco are spectacular! What an amazing trip, and what a wonderful way to end treatment. Thank you for linking me in flickr... I must figure out how that all works, as I'm pretty new to the web/photo thing.

I hope that you are feeling better and better each day. It can be slow at first, especially with our high expectations for rejuvenation, but it really does come. Hope it's quick for you Ron,

9:49 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Jane,

Know what you mean about trying to do it all. Am finding I have to pace myself a little, too - just so much to do now and energy to do it!

Yes, losing the sick person persona really, really nice - was right up there with the most unpleasant sides of treatment, for me.

You sound busy, happy and well. It's so great, Jane!

9:53 AM  
Blogger ijaz ahmad said...

Dear Sue,

I am very happy to read that you are feeling normal. i wish you carry on enjoying your virus free life.

All the best

11:53 AM  
Blogger lu said...

Hi Sue
Not sure if I'm going mad or what, but I'm certain I keep writing to you, then when I look back there's no sign of a message to you! The treatment is still affecting my memory and things are still a bit blurry at times, so who knows!
Anyway, I have been keeping up with your blog, and am really happy to hear you making such good progress. Also, those photos! Amazing! What a beautiful place and it looks so peaceful and spiritual! I bet you really appreciate going up there, such a perfect place to get in touch with some of the more important things in life.
All the best for a trip up there again very soon!

5:06 AM  
Anonymous john said...

Its nice to hear about getting back to normal. I am happy for you

9:27 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Ijaz,

Great to hear from you! Isn't it wonderful being through all of this? I hope you are feeling well. Will be checking the blogs today. All best wishes,

8:59 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Lu,

Also great to hear from you! Know what you mean about the residual memory thing. Hung on with me, too, for a few weeks post treatment and then completely lifted. Amazing feeling.

There are so many of us at this recuperative point right now - obviously the group of us that shared treatment around the same timelines - it's interesting to see everyone's progress.

Thank you for your comments on the cottage pics. While not a fabulous photographer, it is something that I got into on treatment and I'm still enjoying it. The countryside in northern Ontario really lends itself to the process.

Hope each day brings wonderful things for you! Sue

9:04 AM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi John,

Thank you for your comment. It is great to have a "normal" life back! I hope that you are doing well,

9:06 AM  
Blogger RegentLynx said...

Hi Sue. Loved the photos, beautiful. I have also linked your blog to mine. Glad to hear you are doing so well. It's great to hear such a positive message :-)

2:33 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Regentlynx,

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Glad you like the photos - I adore that part of Ontario and am always sad to have to leave it for the winter (our cottage isn't winterized).

Is great to have found another hepc blogger - I'm very interested to see how your appt with Dr. Zhang goes - will be following your blog. All the best,

8:54 AM  
Blogger Keren Douek said...

Hi Sue,
I am first considering treatment and have found your blog very informative, and hopeful. Congratulations on completing treatment. I totally understand what you mean by the "sick person syndrome", as that is one of my concerns. But then again, I have so many concerns these days. There is just so much to think about, or should I say obsess about?
Thank you for helping,

1:33 PM  
Blogger Sue, Toronto said...

Hi Keren,

Really glad you found my blog and hope you've had a chance to link to some of the others out there. You are so totally not alone; there are so many of us facing hepc diagnosis and questions around disease progress and treatment.

Taking combo therapy was the right decision for me. I am guardedly optimistic that I'll remain pcr negative. Treatment is not much fun, but it can definitely be done. Only you are able to make the decision that is right for you.

It would be great to hear from you again and learn how things are going. All my best wishes Keren,

4:18 PM  

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