Hello and thank you for visiting.
I no longer actively post to this blog but have kept the page available in the hope you will explore the archives and find some bit of information, support or encouragement. I do periodically check comments so do feel free to comment on anything you read here.
Nowadays, I can be found blogging at nanakoosasplace.blogspot.com
and at

Peace, Health and Blessings!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Final Thoughts and the Future

Hello Everyone,
After much consideration I have decided I no longer have the time to contribute to this blog on a regular basis, at least not in a way that can be consistently useful My energies in the Hep c community are better utilized by participating in support groups and my continuing to do outreach and education within my community. I am enclosing a video blog as my parting message and I do hope you will utilize the resources I have posted in the links section.
Also please do make use of the items I have posted over the past 2 years and do feel free to add comments, questions or feedback as updates will continue to be forwarded to my email account.
I wish you all well on your journey with this disease and hopefully on the pathway to a cure.
Health and Blessings,

© 2010-2012 Jennifer Hazard

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Personal Introduction and Video Blog 1

hello all, I am exploring the brave new world of video blogging! As much as I enjoy the written word, I also feel that forums that are designed to offer support and personal experience can benefit from a more intimate connection. Putting a face and a voice to the words makes us feel more accessible and authentic, in my opinion. I do hope this proves to be the case. I'm also, personally, enjoying experimenting with this new medium, and now that I have a new laptop which makes the process much easier I'm finding it to be quite a bit of fun. I hope my words can offer some support, and provide a sense that you, my viewers are not alone! I am always open to feedback, questions and suggestions which can be added in the comments section below. So please feel free to respond, let me know what's working, what could be improved and please offer ideas for topics you'd like to have discussed in future posts.
Wishing you all good health, loving friendships and courage on your journey!

© 2010-2012 Jennifer Hazard

Monday, March 12, 2012

365 Days and In The Groove

Another Milestone along the winding road. A rest stop we make now and again, once our treatment has been completed. Pull over on the left, look both ways, pull into the scenic overlook of Dr C.s office. You must pay toll fees in the amount of 8 or 9 vials of blood before entering. Sign some papers and wait for the next road trip to the office. In between paying the toll you are not certain how to proceed. Stuck on the slow lane, reviewing in your mind the many possible paths that lie ahead, but without a road map or GPS, and even if you had these tools you don't know which one's you'll be able to use until you know what's in that blood.
Finally after a week of bumping around in the disabled lane, you get the call, start your engines, and off the the Doc's office you go.
Or, it happens like this; The phone rings and thanks to cel phone technology you know it the Doc calling. You take a deep breath before answering..."Hello?"
"Hello Jenny, how are you feeling?" something in her voice leads me to believe I should say "bad". I don't feel bad, however, I feel great and I tell her so.
"Well then we need to recheck your blood work"
"okaaay, later this wee..."
"No today"
"Um is everything okay? Is the virus back?"
"We haven't even gotten the results of the viral count yet but .....blah blah blah" she goes on to essentially tell me that according to my bloodwork I should be hastily jotting my final wishes on a notebook while on my way to the hospital.
By now I'm pretty sure the color is drained from my face, my voice is a mere whisper and I am beginning to feel like I probably am critically ill. The Usual Suspects of lethal symptoms begin to appear. You know the ones that can be caused by anything from a high fat lunch to Dengue fever.
Zoom back to the hospital, fast lane this time, pay the toll, 8 more vials and because these things only happen on Fridays, return home to spend the weekend wondering if I'm dying.
Monday finally decides to roll it's casual self around and I'm dialing the phone at 8:01 am. About three hours and 5 phone calls later I finally get the report that there must have been some mistake because just about everything is perfectly normal and, wait for it.....the virus is still undetectable!
I felt pretty confident at the 6 month point that I was going to remain undetectable, but I'm the kind of person who wants just that extra bit of reassurance.
Funny thing is, until more is known about this disease, I will most likely be paying toll once a year to maintain that bit of reassurance. When my non-hep friends ask me if this means I'm clear forever, I'm still not sure what to tell them, except "probably". I've not heard of people relapsing after a year, but I've never been told that it's impossible either.
My one year post treatment pit stop was about two months ago now, and I am feeling good. I mean I am feeling healthy. Looking back over the past year I can say in retrospect it has taken the better part of the past year to gradually restore myself, my complete self. I can look back and see how every aspect of my life was affected by treatment. Some parts heal more slowly than others. Some parts rely on other parts to get stronger before they can even begin to heal. The physical body, much as it represents us to the rest of the world and carries us around as our container, is the hardest hit and the first to need repair. But the body heals in increments, once it reaches a point where it can sustain some energy and movement, we begin to reintegrate into some of our daily activities, and that's when we realize that the old brain hasn't quite caught up yet. We go out for a social event and can't remember half the names of people we encounter. This gets the emotions a little distressed, and then we can't quite decide what we want to do, early show or late show? Comedy or drama? It feels impossible to think what we want, to decide based on what we feel isn't helping either because our emotions are subject to change at any given moment. Socially, whatever company we are in, no matter how patient and loving is probably just a little bit frustrated with the impossible task of trying to give this woman a good time out on the town. By now we are so exhausted, we don't even want a time out on the town, good or otherwise and retreat home to our now familiar bed.
Gradually our stamina increases and along with it our problem solving and decision making capacities re emerge, and because of this we feel better about ourselves emotionally which prompts us to care for our physical self more tenderly and lovingly and the cycle goes on. It's an interpretive dance of sorts between all the parts of our selves as we repair and restore. Like most dances, it moves slowly at times, flowing in order to find some sort of groove and then faster and more agile, until the body needs rest. We continue our dance which was at first awkward and uncertain until finally at some point along we are in the groove. Does it mean we are out of the woods? Who knows? Someday that little bit of liver damage could throw us off step. Or we could be one of those one in whatever million people who mysteriously relapses. I don't have those answers, but I do know that we all have been given a great gift in this life on Earth and however it is that we move through life I hope we can all listen to the music and dance our dance the best we can.

© 2010-2012Jennifer Hazard

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Six Month Milestone

Here I am, unbelievably, at the 6 month post treatment milestone. For those you who have been through treatment either yourself or with someone you know, you probably know the swirling mass of emotions that accompany the wait for the blood work results.
In my world, everyone I know who did not maintain SVR post treatment found out at the 6 month follow up, hence the term "Milestone"
Naturally I am a bit anxious. Really I just want to know. In times of uncertainty people often declare that even bad news is better than no news.
Having had the kind of childhood that was frequently wrought with elements of unpredictability and a fair amount of instability, I developed the coping skills of magical thinking and a personal type of superstition as an attempt to predict and control my environment. Hoping for the best while preparing for the worst can be a reasonable adaptive technique, and yet is subject to the individuals state of mind and sense of self at the time. If I were feeling unworthy, down on myself and resigned to a life of struggle, I would spend far more time preparing for the worst. On a particularly optimistic, self confident day I may dare to hope for a positive outcome-because I may actually believe I deserve it.
In the real world however, even though a positive attitude can boost the body's healing processes the bottom line is either the treatment works or it doesn't. By now my body has made that decision and the only way it can tell me is via the results of my blood test. I have an appointment on Wednesday Aug 3 to have a discussion with my Nurse Practitioner, my blood and me. Until then I have no control or influence over the outcome.
I know that ultimately I will be okay no matter what the results tell me. My blood work has been returning to normal and I assume that means my body is functioning as it should be. My physical and emotional health continue to improve and my memory and cognitive functions are reasonably acceptable for someone with my history. My health is good enough that if I am faced with the decision of another attempt at treatment I can probably wait a few years. I have a wonderful supportive partner, a beautiful and funny family, a few good friends and 2 dogs and 2 cats who grace me with their company. I have hobbies and activities that I enjoy and I feel that now and then I am able to contribute something useful and meaningful to society. All in all life is pretty good and I am grateful for the people animals and opportunities that I have. Regardless of the test results I am a pretty lucky woman.

Image courtesy of i RainbowCupcake via photobucket

2010-2011 Jennifer Hazard

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More ups and Downs of Post Treatment

When deciding to post this morning I was surprised to see how long it had been since I last added to this blog. Time flies when you're having fun, as they say, and although I am still experiencing the effects of 48 weeks of treatment, I am slowly feeling better.
I also no longer spend 90% of my time in bed with only my laptop and pets for company. When I look back at that time, I realize there was something to be gained from the isolation. It was a kind of spiritual retreat, a Vision Quest in a sense. I came to terms with my own mortality, a giant developmental step for anyone in Mid-life. I learned how to be alone with my thoughts which nurtured my creativity as I searched for ways to express the turmoil that was raging inside a body that was too sick and tired to let anything out in a way that required physical effort or social interaction.
I'm also realizing now that the long road back to Me, is really a blank canvas which is both an end and a beginning, another chapter in the ongoing story of living with Hep C. I feel as if the old me is molting like a bird, and I am left to pluck off the feathers that no longer serve a purpose and carefully groom the ones I need to help me fly. I can't fly too far yet, but day by day I practice. Sometimes I return to my nest exhausted, in need of more rest and recuperation. Rebuilding one's self is no easy task, and my mind, body and spirit have taken a beating. Sometimes I want to fall into the Victim role (it's so easy and familiar!) but I choose not to take on the role. I am not a Hero either, but more of an Adventurer or Seeker as I traverse the path to recovery.
I am looking for a road map to help me on my journey, I read so much about Hep C and treatment while immersed in the experience, for a while I was saturated with Hep C information and needed to separate myself. Now as I realize the trip doesn't end with that last shot of Interferon I'll be looking for guides to help me along the way as I recover. If anyone knows of any books, blogs, websites etc. that are dedicated to the story of post treatment please do share and I will use the information well. And of course I will pass it on to others who are on the same path.
Thanks all!
Peace and Good Health,
Image courtesy of the Graphics Fairy
© 2011 Jennifer Hazard