I hope you all had a pleasant holiday however you choose to acknowledge it. As always my kids and I did ours on Wednesday then they go to their Dad’s on Thursday. We had a nice meal and I was having a “good” day in terms of energy level. My son prepared nearly the entire meal and my daughter did all the cleanup. I started to protest but it occurred to me that for all the bitching I do about lack of support for people on treatment I should just relax and be THANKFUL that they did all the work. One family tradition we have is that as we sit down to eat everyone lists things for which they are thankful, and I was truly thankful for my family. They don’t always get it when I’m exhausted or sick, but how could they really? they are 17 and 19 as I recall at that age one’s capacity for empathy is still developing. In fact I believe that although the seeds are planted in early life, empathy is a trait which develops over an entire lifetime-hopefully.
Today was not such a good day, I felt terrible all day, neck ache, headache, nausea and just generally feeling out of it. It seems to go that way, a good day or two followed by feeling like crap. I’m in my 9th month of treatment now and starting to feel very toxic, and really have had just about enough. But two months to go and it will be over; then begins the 6 month trial period to see if I attain SVR. I honestly try not to have too many expectations one way of another. We hear a lot of people talk about the power of positive thought in the healing process and although I do firmly believe this myself I find it difficult to apply specifically to healing my Hep C. I feel that, for me, it’s probably more productive and healing to maintain positive perspective in general and that will extend to my physical well being. I tend to get a bit obsessive and if I were to spend hours sitting around focusing on my liver, I think it would do more harm than good. But that’s just me, and my way of doing things. Other than coping with side effects and participating in education, support and advocacy (mostly online) I try not to think about it too much. I don’t countdown the weeks until EOT I couldn’t even guess how many shots I’ve done (although I could figure it out if I wanted to) and even following my lab results I only pay attention to what is absolutely necessary.
This process of managing side effects is enough of a task all by itself, as far as the rest, what will be will be. Because this is such a difficult process and for me the sides have been pretty bad, I appreciate having a day to remind us to focus on things for which we are Grateful, it’s good practice for every day!
© 2010 Jennifer Hazard
Monthly Archives: November 2010
Nanakooa’s Healing Place In the midst of the trends of family pressure, the expectation of the “perfect meal” and media invasion (Black Friday Sales) let’s remember the origin of this day, Gratitude for a bountiful harvest and for generous help of others; without these we cannot survive.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who embrace the concept of Thanksgiving as a day of Gratitude. I have seen and heard many expressions of Thankfulness and Appreciation, mostly for the non-material gifts in life. Of course having such wonderful people in my life this doesn’t happen by accident or pure luck. I’ve been thinking and writing about personal choice lately after realizing that, as a learned response to being victimized, I had accepted a sense of powerlessness. I believed I was at the mercy of my environment and other people who would choose to manipulate that environment. Life was something that happened to me and it was my job (I thought) to just buck up and make the best of things. Naturally this world view does little to inspire gratitude or hope and it tends to attract people and situations that do not serve our best interests. I remember being surrounded by people who could only focus on the negative aspects of Holidays; having to be with family they don’t get along with, pressuring themselves to have the “perfect” meal and getting up at 3 am the next day to be pushed and shoved around by rabid shoppers vying for 10 dollar microwaves. These individuals, whether they had been victimized in the traditional sense of not, obviously were operating with the same blueprint I was. They allowed themselves to be controlled by whatever expectations family or society or the media had dealt them, and they tried to make the best of it. Making the best of something that is not authentically your desire is hard work, it’s exhausting and in the end we are usually dissatisfied with the results in on way or another. Unfortunately many people never consider that they have options, that they have the power of choice.
Eventually we realize that if we make choices that are aligned with our values and desires the world won’t fall apart, that everyone we love will not abandon us (although some may be pissed off!) nor will any other of the fears that keep us from being true to ourselves will manifest. Once we reach this point we are able to create Holiday traditions that express the best intentions of celebration.
I frequently make gratitude lists, it’s something I learned I AODA treatment and it has become an important element in my road to recovery. It helps me to maintain perspective and it helps me to know myself, what makes me grow and what brings me happiness. By clarifying all these elements I find it easier to make goals, to set intentions to plan and work for toward creating the kind of lifestyle that suits my individual needs and desires. I hope that at least this one day of thanks can help others do the same.
One last side note, we often see this holiday as the beginning of the White mans genocide of the Native Americans. While I have both native and puritan ancestry, I believe that at this point there was harmony between the two cultures. Each lived simply from the earth and respected the gifts the earth gave in return. It wasn’t until investors, profit seekers and big business discovered the settlers could be manipulated and used to serve their own greed did things start to go bad. It is the same greed and profiteering that ruins so many peoples 4 day weekends with the repeated messages about Black Friday. Sure consumers are getting some “good deals” comparatively speaking, but the wealthy are sitting back, enjoying whatever it is they enjoy on their day off and raking in huge profits. I prefer not to give them the satisfaction, because that’s my choice.
Have a Blessed and Grateful day,
© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard
Here is a link to the Chapman House Community Center located in S.C. I addition to providing services to the Elderly, disadvantaged, homeless and jobless they are also home to StopHepC, a non-profit organization providing education, prevention, support and advocacy for those with Hep C and Hep C/HIV co-infection. Please check out their resources page as there is lots of great information there. From what I can tell this is a fabulous organization and a model for more Hep C support programs nationwide! I’m really hoping to be able to get something like this going in my area; we have a lot to learn from organizations such as this to help us organize and advocate for ourselves! Keep on fighting the good fight!
Stop Hep C
© 2010 Jennifer Hazard
I’m enclosing a link to my most recent post on my Nanakoosa’s Place blog because it has relevancy to my experience on treatment and how tx effects functioning, decision making and major life events. The consequences to our health, emotional state and ability to function become a vital part of any major decisions we make while on treatment and it is often a challenge to weigh the options and anticipated outcomes.
I have been pretty sick for an entire week now and am just coming out of the fog enough to get back to what I enjoy doing; writing and advocating.
May you all be well and take good care of yourselves.
© 2010 Jennifer Hazard
Everything seemed to fall into place perfectly, which my former AODA counselor used to say was a sign that you were on the right path. I was able to qualify for funding from a local Advocacy agency to help with the moving costs, I hired movers for the first time in my life and on November 2, I moved into my new digs.
It’s a cute place, it has character, a huge kitchen, a sizable balcony/upper porch and lots of closet space. Like many of the houses in my neighborhood it’s probably between 80-100 years old and was very likely a single family home that was converted into a flat sometime around the 1940’s, which is partially what gives it it’s unique character and floor plan, (and tiny bedrooms!)
Now, my sole purpose for moving was to save money, which I will eventually (the movers cost twice what they’d estimated) but it also was an important step for me to make this decision and go with it while in the midst of treatment for Hep C which leaves me with sporadic motivation and low (if any) energy. I knew I would be doing a lot of the work alone and I knew it would, frankly, knock me on my ass for a few days. I also knew it needed to be done and it was up to me to make it happen.
In addiction “Geographical Relocation” is a trick that people frequently use on themselves and their loved ones to create a sense of false hope for interpersonal change. “Once we get out of this neighborhood with all our history/ with all the bars/ with all our “using friends”/ (fill in any appropriate external force of control that is preventing change) “things will change”. Of course as we all know, we take our problems with us because our problems don’t live in the house, or the bar or in our friends, but within us. Naturally, with my History, I’ve dragged myself, my family and all my personal belongings down that Yellow Brick Road many times, and learned the same lesson that Dorothy ultimately learned; “Over the Rainbow” is within us all, we only need to look inside to find it.
After moving, not surprisingly I was exhausted. Not just moving exhausted but being on toxic treatment and overdoing it exhausted. Enter, stage left, sick grandchildren and next thing I know I am sick as a proverbial dog. After two days of not keeping any food down and basically sleeping the entire time, I came back to the real world long enough to realize I had a counseling session scheduled with my therapist that day. I gave him a call to let him know I wouldn’t be there and why. His response was “oh no everything was supposed to be okay after you moved”
Did I give the impression that I believed that? Did I imply I was falling for the old “Geographical Relocation” self scam? I’m pretty sure I did not, and yet his response irritated me at the time. I wasn’t sure if he was being facetious or….what. I responded by telling him that I was simply sick with a bug, no deeper meaning attached, and things will be fine.
Funny how once we’ve travelled the Yellow Brick Road, learned our lesson and moved on, we still carry the stigma of our old ways, even if only in our own minds.
© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard