Thursday, June 30, 2011

Having a hard time today ...

As of today, I'm halfway through the original treatment time period.

Of course, I still don't know whether the Hep C viral load is undetectable or not.  I won't know for another week and a half.  If it's not undetectable, there is still the possibility that instead of 6 months, I could be on these meds for 18 months.  18 months is going to be a difficult slog, both physically and financially.  However, I'm doing my best not to get caught up too much in what the future is like.

Honestly, today is hard enough.  I'm tired, working without backup at my job with several big projects coming due, and I was also informed that the theater company I work with needs volunteers to take down and build a set this weekend.

Fortunately, it's a three day weekend, but honestly, I was hoping to get my own house cleaned up this weekend, and still get some rest.  Going home and collapsing on the couch from exhaustion after work doesn't contribute to a lot of dusting and cleaning, and my place is an absolute wreck.  Again.  How did that happen so quickly?

In predictable news, the cats haven't offered to fill in the house-cleaning slack.

I also had a somewhat depressing conversation with somebody last night that left me reeling.

I'm not used to not having enough energy to do all the things I need and want during the day, and I guess that's the biggest drawback of this medication right now.

I've taken on some new duties at work, which I'm actually excited about, but sometimes my perfectionism steps in and I think I should be learning everything much more quickly, and I start to feel bad about myself.

The cherry on the top is that I'm putting on weight, and I feel like my belly is distended all the time and that my arms and legs look like sticks, which doesn't help my issues with feeling ugly.  It actually makes me kinda wanna hide in a closet somewhere.

This is all a long way of me saying that I'm feeling a bit down today, but given my predeliction for bouncing back, I imagine I'll be fine in a bit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Observation ...

I've noticed the oddest thing about people lately.

There have been a couple of times when my current health status has come up with casual acquaintances. I always say something fairly vague, such as "I'm going through some medical stuff, right now" hoping to minimize the dialog about specifics, but not actually like or reduce the communication to everyday platitudes.

If somebody had given me that information, I would have said, "are you okay?" or "do you need anything?" or something similar.

Interestingly enough, most people haven't responded that way.  They've immediately gotten a funny look on their face, followed by a startingly abrubt change in subject.

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally fine with it, but it is quite interesting to see that reaction.  Are people frightened of this subject?  Is it just a display of etiquette?  The old, "shhhhh, don't embarrass anybody?"  Uncomfortable?  I honestly don't know.  But it is fascinating, and maybe the next time I'm working on a character, I'll remember that reaction.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tired is the new good ...

... or is it "Good is the new tired?

I've been on these meds for about 2 1/2 months now, and everytime somebody asks me how I'm doing, I say, "I'm good, just a bit tired."  It occurred to me the other day that just shortening it to "I'm good" would be better.

I'm not a big guy for sharing every detail of how I'm feeling with other folks, especially when it comes to describing my physical state.  Honestly, many people don't care or don't know how to handle my personal trials and tribulations or want to.  There are of course folks that do care and are willing to listen, but I often feel like I'm taking advantage of their kindness by blabbing about myself, so I try to keep it to a minimum.  There's of course, a truth that I'm afraid of being vulnerable with most people.  I guess that tops the list as to why I'm single.  hahaha.

On the other hand, I'm also a guy that strives towards honesty with others.  I'm always torn between telling the absolute truth when somebody asks me how I'm doing, and the socially acceptable answer, "I'm good!"  So, I tend to land somewhere in the middle.  Hence the, by now, stock answer of "I'm good, just a bit tired."

The fact of the matter is that I'm going to be tired until this treatment is over.  The fatigue is constant and, for the most part, bearable.  Telling other people that I'm tired doesn't serve a purpose, except to expose a bit of my natural flair for the dramatic, and my neurotic need for attention.  I detest the part of me that craves attention.  Guess that's one of the reasons I'm an actor; it gives me something of an outlet for that part of me.

From now on, I'm going to do my best to just say, "I'm good" whenever anybody asks me how I'm doing, and leave the rest of it out, unless I'm lying in the hospital hooked up to an IV, and then you can all expect that I will be indulging both my natural flair for the dramatic and that neurotic need for attention.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grandma ...

My maternal grandmother passed away just before Easter.

I’ve been struggling to find some way to organize into coherency my thoughts and feelings about it.

As an adult, we weren’t particularly close.  She was a very strong and opiniated person and so am I, and the combination of our strengths and differing views of the world, along with my inherent and somewhat neurotic need to protect myself from rejection, kept me from cultivating a deeper relationship with her as an adult.

I went up to Fresno to attend her funeral and see the rest of the family, and do my best to support them, and in some small way, say goodbye to the last of my grandparents.

I wasn't quite prepared for the deluge of memories and varied emotions that awaited me.

After the funeral, my mother, step-father and I took a ride out to my grandmother's property in Clovis where I spent a lot of time as a kid with that side of my family: my grandmother, brother, mother, cousins, aunt and uncles.  The small memories, things I hadn't thought of in years flooded back so much that I kinda felt I was living simultaneously in the present and the past.

Memories like watching my cousins Tanya, Corky and Dayne walking up high on one side of the land so they were silhouetted against the sky.  Small little sense memories like all the frogs and toads that came out in such large numbers that it was impossible to not step on them, as much as I tried.  The absence of the sound of traffic that always made me a little uneasy for the first day or so, and the crickets and bullfrogs singing at night.  The life lessons my grandmother taught me, sometimes not particularly gently, but effectively.  The times when we went with her and my mother on trips in a motor home to various parts of the state.  Sundays at Carl's Jr. or Denny's after church.  The two memories I have of my grandfather (he passed on when I was very young).  When we all laughed.  Sleeping on her screened porch always sort of seemed the very definition of summer to me.  Of course, there many other memories that will keep me company through the years, like when she taught me how to hop over a fence.

Looking back, I'm not sure, given who the two of us are, we could have had a stronger relationship after I became an adult, but I certainly appreciate her place in my life as a child.

I miss her more than I expected.

Be blessed, Grandma.  You'll always have a place in my heart.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A tad bit annoyed ...

Yesterday I was a tad bit annoyed with the people who schedule my appointments with my liver doctor.

When I see my liver doctor, he always wants to see me 4 weeks after for a follow-up, which is fine.  The nurse always tells me to speak with the receptionist to make the appointment.  The receptionist always tells me they don't have an appointment available, so they'll have to fit me in, and that her supervisor will call me.  All well and good.

Over the past couple of months, the supervisor will call me, and give me one option for an appointment for three weeks from my last appointment.

It annoys me that after the doctor specically tells me four weeks, the supervisor schedules me for 3 weeks.  For all intents and purposes, I'm seeing the doctor a week earlier than he wanted to see me one month, which translates to two weeks earlier the next month, and then three weeks earlier the month after that, etc.

It sort of got to me yesterday, because this next appointment and it's attendant blood test results are going to be the deciding factor about whether I have to do this for 6 months or 18 months.  I'm afraid that they're taking the blood tests too early, and that the medication won't have had enough time to work, and then I'll be on this medication, possibly needlessly, for 18 months.

As this treatment goes on, I'll be dealing with more and more side effects, not to mention that if it stretches out to next year, I'm looking at another $4,000 in treatment costs.

Fear and I are not something that go together well, and although I do my best not to lash out (especially after a couple of years of therapy), I realized yesterday that I'm really dreading the next appointment and blood test results.

The good news is that I think I didn't come across as insane, just a little petulant and pedantic, but that's okay.  Once I got a chance to breathe, take a look at the situation, and give control of this stuff over to the universe where it belongs, I just shrugged my shoulders, calendared the date and went on about my day.

This whole process is a huge lesson in taking things one day at a time and trusting in something other than myself.