Day 20 of 84

Yes indeed … almost 3 of the 12 weeks … time passes when you are … well, never mind.

Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese poet who wrote “The Prophet“, one of my all time favorite books of wisdom. I read it when I was still in high school, when books were still popular and so was reading. There were three books at the time (along with the Prophet was Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse and the Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac) that have stay with me for life. Whenever I seem to get off track I read them again and let myself be reminded about my life discipline, direction, and destination. These were not stories of joy and happiness. They were books about forging our character through rough times. What we go through does not make us who were are. It’s how we deal with the everyday (good or bad, smooth or rough) that makes us who we are.

They say a true warrior always has deep tears behind his eyes. Warriors don’t fight because they hate the enemy but because they love the people they protect. But what they do to protect the people they love scars them deeply and permanently. We often hear about the Knights in shining armor.  A warrior knows that a Knight in shining armor has never seen battle. It’s the armor that is filled with dents and scratches that has seen battle and tested their character. It is the armor that is rusted shut from the inside through sweat and tears that often traps the warrior within their own character. Many people want to be and talk about being a warrior until its time to do what warriors do – go to war and do battle. We can be taught what to do and our true character will show in how well we stand up to the task. Yet, people are never really taught how to live with it. Yet somehow, people get up every morning and do what needs to be done without question or complaining because that is who they have chosen to become.

Buddhists believe that life has suffering and that suffering comes from ignorance and attachment. The way out of suffering is intelligent insight (through deep contemplation and meditation to see through the ego illusions of separation) and by doing the right thing no matter what (not because of some rules or gains – but because it’s the right thing to do).

We also know that wounds hurt and that scars are just the history of that experience and suffering. If we hurt we are living through it or have not let go of it. If we have scars, we have already healed.

Today was a good day. Slept okay and woke up less tired than usual and with less of a headache (perhaps because of a lower viral load or just the ebb and flow of the disease, treatment, and life). Went to an early Aikido class (I often crash and burn too early in the evening to consistently make that class). Had a talk with my older son – always a good thing. Bought a new chair for my office and picked up the new vanity top for the bathroom we are remodeling. Cleared my online class discussions and graded some papers. Took a large mirror off the bathroom wall. Now just waiting for a pizza to be delivered and the evening crash and burn to happen.

Thanks for checking in …

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again, (tomorrow)

Lynn

Day 19 of 84

Greetings from the sunny Florida gulf coast …

Good day today, at least good by my standards … which at the moment are pretty low.

Three weeks ago my viral load (how much virus my blood carries per unit) was 304,000, which is considered pretty low. When I was in treatment years before, the load was over a million. So, I got my labs back today after only two weeks of treatment. My fear was that I would not respond or that the viral load number would actually go up. Sometimes I have to indulge myself in the worst case scenario and accept that I can handle it before I let the negative fantasy go. Well, I didn’t go up. I didn’t stay the same. And I didn’t clear. I went from 304,000 to 13. Not 13 thousand. Not 13 hundred. But just 13. It means the medication is certainly working and we are going in the right direction. We will check again in two weeks.

I may have mentioned that Mr. Murphy and I are great friends by now. As my brother says, as Seiser’s we are (at best) cautiously optimistic. We think its realism because as we know, if something can go wrong it probably will and probably will at the most inopportune time, and probably to me. As I previouslyl mentioned, I relapsed once before in treatment after clearing (the virus was undetectable), so I keep an open mind. Expect and train for the worse but hope (I hate that word) for the best and accept whatever happens.

A friend just reminded me that she first heard “what is, is” from me. It has gotten her through some rough times. And it certainly has gotten me through many questionable situations and circumstances. It is about acceptance. There is the acceptance of what is or there is resistance. While life often has pain, the suffering often is our refusal/resistance to accept the truth that reality presents us. So we can live in fantasy land or we can live in reality. Many people prefer their fantasies, but every so often they do a reality check and the difference/discrepancy between external reality and internal fantasy is the amount/level of dissatisfaction, depression, and suffering. It’s a choice we make. We can try to get the world to match up to our personal fantasy criteria (fat chance) or we can change our minds (better probability) or just live with the suffering of the unavoidable differences.

When I read about this Harvoni treatment for HCV (remember that I have been waiting for the next generation genotype specific miracle drug for years) they reported very little or no side effects. Well, I have side effects – that is what is. Many people are clearing (being undetected) in two weeks. Well, I didn’t clear – that is what is. I  guess it even started 10 years ago being diagnosed with Hepatitis C – that is what is.

I talked with my youngest son today (it’s his birthday) and he asked how it was going. He said that when he goes to bed at night with a headache at least he knows he will wake up okay. He can’t image what its like to wake up everyday with the same headache (and other flu-like symptoms) for 10 years and finally have the chance to wake up okay. Brought tears to this old man’s eyes realizing that my son truly has listened and understands. And that’s what is …

Thanks for checking in …

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Lynn

PS: Being born on Halloween, the number 13 has always been lucky for me … LOL

Day 18 of 84

Welcome to the rainy (morning) sunny (afternoon) Florida gulf coast …

I am a big fan of singer Tom Waits. Tom, Bud, and I spent a lot of time together years ago (inside family joke). He has a song about an Emotional Weather Forecast. (Check it out on YouTube) It was so accurate, I’d laugh and cry. Emotions vacillate, often from opposites.

Last night as I lay down, I thought I should write about how good horizontal feels. When you are standing up all day (vertical) laying down (horizontal) feels so good. Someone once said that gravity was a myth – that the earth just sucked. Well, the earth/gravity certainly has a dislike for us the older we get. I won’t go into all the details but many of you will know what I mean.

Emotionally I am pretty even keeled. I try to find the balance in the middle road of not too happy (with my successes) and not too sad (with my failures). Today was not one of those days. I bounce between apathy and frustration.

Today they were rioting/protesting in Baltimore. Okay, some punk kids used a funeral as an excuse to loot and vandalize. (Guess some people have learned nothing since the Detroit riots in 1968 or anything for the true Civil Rights Movement – study history, don’t repeat it.) Those kids may think they were protesting but the were just teenage thugs and criminals. The two saving graces caught on video was a mother and a veteran. The mother was pulling he son out of the crowd and slapping him upside his head for being a part of such stupidity. Way to go Mom – now that’s a parent. The other was an old veteran who stood in the middle of the street and told the kids to go home. When asked if he was afraid for his own safety, he simply said that he had been through worse and that he was not a color, he was an American. Too often the way we think we are trying to solve a problem is by repeating and perpetuating it. Way to go Baltimore – prove your critics correct (live up to the profile).

The Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding same-sex marriages. The majority of states have already legalized it without the heavens opening up and lightning striking everyone dead. It’s hard to believe in this day and age of information and humanitarian efforts that some people still live with the fear and ignorance that marriage/love is only for the certain people and not for others. How does two people of the same sex who have love for each other invalidate their relationship (must not have much strength in that family)? I do hope the Supreme Court will have the clarity, compassion, and courage to stand up and do the right thing. If not today, someone else will do it another day and the current Justices will be known for their ignorance.

And all this is more important than a devastating earthquake in Nepal. I posted a picture on FaceBook of a hand lighting candles in a temple and I sent good thoughts/energy to all those suffering today from natural disasters or from their own ignorance and fears.

Helps me keep my own little struggle/story in perspective.  Woke up this morning with my usual symptoms/side-effects of fatigue, stiffness/pain, and a dull headache. Didn’t feel like doing much, so I guess the apathy and lethargy were also present. My lady said she notices – often before I do.  So I got my work done, cleaned out some gutters, and attempted to wire in a new light. I cannot tell you how many lights I have wired and installed in my lifetime – okay, I will tell you – a lot! But, not today. After re-wiring it twice only to get a pop when I went to turn it on, the apathy went right to frustration. Perhaps this was my reality check to remind me about who I was today and what I was personally going through. Whatever I needed, I just didn’t have it. So I dis-assembled the light, put it back in the box, and we will wait for another day. So it goes.

Thoughts and emotions come and go if we do not get too attached to them. (Computer just froze up as I typed this and had to wait for it and my mind to start responding appropriately again.) Everyday is another opportunity for me to practice not taking my apathy or frustration too seriously or too personally.

Thanks for checking in.

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Lynn

PS: Did you notice someone had taken a shot-gun to the reality check? Yea, its like that … LOL

Day 17 of 84

Greetings from another beautiful Florida gulf coast day …

I have never done normal well. Not that I tried very hard.

I have always been a fan of the normal bell-shaped distribution curve. The majority of people are grouped together in the middle. Then you have the extremes at both ends. Most people have an average level of competence and intelligence. Some people are below that and some people above. Often where we fall on that curve is a matter of choice. And sometimes it’s not.

When I was a kid, I was pretty sick. My parents told me that their pregnancy with me was high risk (Rh) and that they kept making trips with me to the hospital my first couple of years. Then things leveled off. It is said that 80% of accidents happen to 20% of children.  I was certainly a part of that 20%. Okay, I was clumsy and careless. Looking back, I realize that they were really accidents and just really bad choices on my part.

Then as a young adult I found martial arts and my normal changed. I started getting fit. In order to get some cardio-vascular wind, I started to run. I always loved swimming. Then due to some running injuries I started bicycling. So besides fighting/training on a regular basis I completed 10 marathons (26.2 miles running), 15 triathlons (international distances – 1 mile swim, 25 miles on a bike, and 6.2 miles running), and a 100 mile bike ride. A lot of pounding for a rather big man. When someone asked how long it takes a normal/average person to earn a black belt, the teacher quietly responded that the normal/average person never earns a black belt. So I guess I am not normal.

Probably to compensate for an inferior complex, I become  a student. I have a Bachelor, Masters, and a Doctorate degree. So I guess I am not normal.

As I often comment on, through a lot of people talk about patriotism, only 1% actually show up, stand up, and swear in. So yet again, I am on the far side of the normal distribution curve, I am not normal.

The problem with all this is that you become very aware when you are no longer “not normal”. If you have never been in good shape, you don’t really know when you are not because whatever shape you are in is normal to you. When you get sick and have chronic fatigue and chronic pain, you just want to be normal. Your new-normal is fatigue and stiffness. Your mind remembers  what you no longer can do. I used to be able to kick to the head and now I would be lucky to trip someone – hand speed and power is still pretty good.

I woke up this morning tired and with a dull headache – my new normal. I fight fatigue all day – my new normal. We did some yard work this afternoon – looking for the old normal. And this evening, tired again – my new normal.

What is important to me is to do something every day from the old-normal to remind me what I am fighting to get back to and to let myself and others know that this is just a temporary inconvenience.

Thanks for reading and supporting/encouraging me and all others fighting quietly with as much dignity and grace as possible some silent epidemic. We will get through this and back to my not-normal normality.

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Lynn

Day 16 of 84

Greetings from the Florida gulf coast …

There are two stories about cups and glasses I tend to share.

A client and I had a heated discussion about the infamous debate is your glass half empty or half full. He was convinced that though mine had been half empty in the past I now saw life as it being half full. He, of course, still saw his life as half empty. A Course in Miracles teaches us that a miracle is a change in perception. When he arrived the following week for his next session, you could just see that something was very different about him. He said that he had a moment of clarity in that the glass was neither half empty or half full, that the glass was simply too big. With a smaller glass, the same amount of fluid would be full and over flowing. We both laughed and neither of us were ever the same.

The other story is about a scholar who was scheduled to interview a Zen master. To prepare for the interview, the scholar read everything he could get his hands on about Zen, Buddhism, and this specific master. When he arrived, the master invited him for tea. They sat quietly going through the mindful tea ceremony. When it came time to fill the scholar’s cup, the master kept pouring the tea until it over flowed onto the table and floor. The scholar proclaimed his cup was full. The master politely agreed and asked him to come back when it was empty.

Last night I  had a restless night with Harvoni-dreams of riding in police cars, my parents old trailer filled with junk, asking for help, losing my hair, and sobbing uncontrollably knowing I was going to die. It was almost like a lucid dream where I was still mindful/aware/conscious of the dream, but somehow detached and a spectator of it. While I was upset in the dream, I the dreamer was rather calm and relaxed, even when relaying it to my wife in the morning. Dreams are often considered messages from our unconscious and the royal road to insight. The content is hidden in symbolism relevant only to the dreamer. Yet, this one seemed pretty clear and obvious (but, I’ll leave it to your imagination anyway).

Easy day. Actually spent much of it watching cartoons with my 3 year granddaughter. Sponge Bob Square Pants to be exact. I don’t get it, but I tend to be more interested in who I spend my time with than what we actually do to fill that time. In the afternoon, my wife and I sat and watched them (granddaughter and 1-year-old grandson) run though the sprinklers. Family  dinner and now getting ready for bed. Basic flu-like symptoms from the HCV and an increase of them from the treatment. I did mention to the family that I had been quiet during a family dinner earlier because of fatigue. They were polite enough to say they hadn’t  noticed.

I have been reading/studying Zen Buddhism since high school (which was a long time ago). Many things in life present themselves as Zen Koans (or nonsensical questions which cannot be answered in a normal state of consciousness – like what is the sound of one hand clapping?). So there really is no half-empty or half-full (life is just what it is). In fact there is no glass. There are no scholars or masters, but to hear the truth we often have to empty our minds of what we think we already know.

Thanks for being here. Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Lynn

Day 15 of 84

I love Einstein. Besides the math genius stuff and being rather weird, he was intelligent enough to see things differently than most people and he had the courage (or he just didn’t care) to say it out loud. Fortunately, he was famous enough that someone wrote them down and we get the benefit of his intelligent wisdom.

I have often used this specific idea in almost all I do. “The type of thinking that creates a problem is never the type of thinking that solves it.” Sounds obvious, doesn’t it. But it’s not. When I teach addiction classes I often see that people are trying to solve their addiction (seeking recovery) by using the same thought strategies they used to create their addiction. It doesn’t work. Many government programs actually mimic and  perpetuate the problem they think they are trying to solve.

It’s like hating people who hate, is still more hate. It’s more of the same. I am a firm believer in freedom of thought, belief, and expression. While I would prefer people live lives of clarity, compassion, and courage. If they prefer ignorance and fear, I guess they have that right. Hate-speak says more about the person than what they are speaking about.

What we truly think is manifested in our lives. I guess we need to be mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I listen to people all the time trying to explain to me “why” they think, feel, and do what they do – and then wonder why that’s exactly what they have going on in their lives. When I go shopping, I tend to make a shopping list of what I want. Yet, I see most people going through life with a long list of what they do not want. A reality check would prove that it doesn’t work – but, they go right back to what they have always thought, felt and done. Another old saying (I know – I am so full of them/it), is that if we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we always got. If we want something different, we have to change how we think, feel, and behave in every aspects of our lives.

I should have mentioned in the beginning that besides my degree in psychology, as an undergraduate I had a double major in philosophy. Helped me look deeper into those unconscious core beliefs we have and how they influence everything we do. Einstein also said that perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves is if we belief it’s a safe universe. If we do, we can be love-based. If not, we become fear-based.

It has been a good day. Took my meds at 8 AM. Did my online job. Then took down, transported, and put back together grandchildren’s play castles and swing set. A dip in the pool. Watching grandchildren run through the sprinklers. Now, letting people know that it’s a safe universe and we are solving problems here.

Thanks for listening and sharing the journey. Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Lynn

 

Day 14 of 84

It’s interesting how we create the illusion that we are in control. We fear people out of control. Yet, so much of our lives are. We try to control the things we have no control over and forget we have control over the stuff we do (our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors).

So why do I say that today?

Got up this morning with my new usual; still tired with a dull headache. Had breakfast, took a shower and drove over to VA.

Went to the lab to get blood drawn.  Walk-in at audiology (got a hearing test/baseline and document for the ringing in my ear – tinnitus), then went to my doctor appointment. Reported my side-affects (from the labs they could tell that my body was tolerating the treatment well). I keep listening for the viral load count. So I just asked – after all the whole purpose of this part of the journey is to get the number down where it’s undetectable and keep it there. Then the news came – but not today. Apparently its a bit more complicated and takes a bit longer, so the doctor will call me when the viral load count is in. I actually thought I would be more disappointed, but I took the delay rather well. The news/count was out of my control, but how I reacted/responded to the lack of information was not. But must admit, I do look forward to that call.

I only get two weeks of medication at a time – 14 pills. If I miss an appointment, the treatment is over. So I went down to pharmacy only to be told the prescription order was still pending and I would have to wait. I am pretty good at waiting. Nothing I could do about it and I wasn’t leaving without the medication for the next day. They said my name would appear on the monitor. I kept watching and watching. My name did not appear. Finally, after two hours, I walked up to the counter to ask if there was a problem. They smiled and gave me my pills. Guess I have to remember that I don’t really have to wait too long to check in.

This makes a good point about not procrastinating. There are so many things we put off as if we have all the time in the world to resolve the problems we have in life. The longer we wait, the worse things usually become. We put off getting all types of medical check ups. Yet, it was because of a routine medical check up that I finally got diagnosed 10 years ago, accepted the disease/condition, got service-connected benefits, and am in treatment today. Many people have died of liver disease/complications have actually died of hepatitis. Perhaps if more people got tested and diagnosed (we are coming up on Hepatitis Awareness month this May and Testing Day is the 19th). HCV is epidemic with the baby-boomer generation and Vietnam-era veterans. I can only encourage everyone to get proactive and get educated about the possibilities.

In program (12-Steps) they talk about control and change. It’s about having the clarity and courage to accept the things we cannot control/change and the strength to control/change the things we can. Serenity and wisdom are knowing the difference. Actually, we all already know the difference. We cannot change other people, places, and things but we can change our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I cannot change that there are intoxicants in the world, but I can decide not to think, want, or ingest them. I cannot change or control that I have Hepatitis C, but I can control how I choose to live with it and how I let it affect my life and the lives of the people I love.

We can choose to let fear and Hepatitis control us or we can choose to let love control our choices. Choose wisely and if you don’t choose wisely – then choose again until you do.

I’ll keep you posted.

As we say in the family; love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Lynn

 

Day 13 of 84

Welcome to the rainy Florida gulf coast …

Rained hard most of the morning. Good for coffee and family conversation … not always easy, but always appreciated.

Work up with the now normal fatigue and dull headache. This may continue as long as I am on the medication or it may stop when I clear (the virus is undetected in my blood work) and the major work is done. After that we just have to keep the virus from duplicating/replicating (its major function while doing damage) with the medication to the point that it cannot reproduce even in the absence of the medication. So, if its 12 weeks of treatment plus 12 weeks of follow-up, then its 24 weeks and I am almost through only the first 2. This is far from over – this is only the beginning.

I used to run quite a bit. I used to hate running. But, I was somewhat forced to if I wanted to keep my wind in martial arts training. So I ran, I didn’t like it, but I ran. My brother Gary and my best friend Dave started running 10K (6.2 miles). Trained during the week, then ran together on Saturday or Sunday. It was great. We got t-shirts and free beer at the time. Later in the afternoon we were beat (mostly by drinking too much than the actual run). After a while, even if we had not hit the road during the week we would hit the run and struggle to finish them together, laughing all the way. Then we got the wild idea to do a marathon (26.2 miles). Just to say you finished a single marathon is an accomplishment few can brag about. If they brag about more than one, it’s because of the brain damage that they received on that first run. I know, I actually completed 10 marathons. I learned a lot about myself and life while training for these marathons and being able to finish them. I learned I am (or was) a lot stronger than I thought and that I had to let go of past fears (and actual historical limitation) to make it not only possible but probable. It is about pacing and determination. One of the hardest tasks is to put running shorts on, lace up the shoes, line up in the street, and start to move when the whistle blows. I would always say that if I lined up at the start line that I would cross the finish line. And I did, 10 times.

So, why am I telling you this?

Guess I feel like life is a marathon and not a sprint. And this disease and treatment is not a quick ordeal or a quick fix. It’s a marathon. The training is over (that was the daily discipline of coping with the disease) and I have lined up and started the first few days of treatment. I am a bit compulsive so I take my medication everyday by the clock. I am finding my pace and my new normal (more of the same but about 25% worse). I have my first doctors appointment and labs tomorrow at 11:00 AM. We will see what the truth is in the numbers, what my current viral load is. I will let you know. But … I won’t get too excited because I have a lot of miles/days in front of me.

When I was in the service (Army) we realized that we lived and died as a team. We took care of each other and covered each others back. We each had our own job and together we had a better chance of surviving. I know I am not running this marathon alone and I am not fighting this fight alone. I have the support of many people and I support them too. Life is a reciprocal inter-connected and inter-dependent holistic system. We all win or we all lose. The only way to lose is to quit and none of us are quitters.

Feeling the evening fatigue set in so I think I’ll head for bed early.

Thanks for being here and listening to my journey and especially thanks for sharing it.

Until again,

Lynn

Day 12 of 84

Greetings again from the sunny Florida gulf coast …

Its day 12 and in 2 days I get my labs and have my 1st doctor’s appointment in treatment. Very curious what we will find. Hopefully … nothing.

Just tracking side effects (which feel a lot like the HCV symptoms – so I guess it’s just degrees of the same). Woke up feeling tired and had a dull headache. Didn’t sleep real well, but that’s not unusual, I am known for sleeping lightly and waking up often.

Went to our chiropractor, adjustments always feel good. We get them weekly and they certainly help.

I notice that I seem to have more hair in my brush than usual. My hair thinned the last time I was in treatment, and though I don’t hear much about it in the support groups, it’s not a big thing. Just keeping descriptive notes so I can report the facts to my doctor and he can decide what they mean.

Also have developed a few sores inside my mouth. Again, nothing serious or unusual. Started with the warm salt water rinse and it seems to take care of the matter or at least diminish the sensation. Again, knowing that these are some of the common side effects helps me keep everything in perspective. I read where some people really freak out when their bodies do these things, but it comes with the medication and treatment.

Today was one of those quiet days. Okay, the day wasn’t quiet, but I was. A bit low energy (lethargic and apathetic) and would just sit. Actually felt quietly okay.

Cleared my classes online (I teach online Psychology for a couple universities) and worked out. Trying to keep the daily discipline going to feel normal.  Okay, my normal, normal for me, which I know and accept is not the norm for everyone else.

Had a nice family dinner and watched the grandkids (ages 1 and 3) entertain us with their antics.

I love saying “if you’re going through hell .. keep going” because so often we just want to sit down, shut down, and give in. But, that’s not what I  was taught. I was taught that “when the going gets tough, that the tough get going“. It’s gotten me through a lot of bad days and times. Perhaps that is some of the wear and tear I am feeling. Besides being sick and in treatment, I’ve got some mileage and wreckage don’t you know. I was laughing the other day because a lot of the HCV symptoms and the side effects of treatment are also just signs of getting older. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference. But where ever its comes from, it’s here and it’s mine. Own it, accept it, and move on. Life has that momentum and inertia that helps me keep on the keeping on. Hell’s not all that unfamiliar, but I refuse to be a permanent resident – just temporarily passing through thank you.

Just dropping a note and then off to early bed.

Thanks for taking to time to peek into my day – the journey continues tomorrow.

Until again,

Lynn

Day 11 of 84

Greetings on this 11 of 84 days from the Florida gulf coast …

Remember I mentioned that the American Legion Magazine did an article on HCV in their May (Hepatitis Awareness Month) issue and that I felt I my need to write in Vet Voice …well I did….

“I would like to thank Beth W. Orentein and American Legion for the Living Well article on New drugs offer hope for hepatitis C patients in the May (Hepatitis Awareness month) Legion Magazine. As one of those baby-boomer Vietnam-era Army veterans, with service-connected Hepatitis C, currently receiving the newest treatment (Harvoni) through the local (Bay Pines, Florida) VA, seeing a voice for the silent epidemic (that is killing more people today than HIV/Aids) is greatly appreciated. I would also like to add that the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense have stopped the use of the mass jet-gun inoculations/vaccinations because of its potential and proven contamination and contagion of blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis C. When being tested, in absence of other risk factors, please remind people to mention any jet-gun inoculations that could be more likely than not be the source of their infection. Lynn Seiser PhD MFT Seminole, Florida”

Woke up tired and with a mild headache. Lasting all day. So it goes. For a 95% chance at getting healthy … bring it on.

I often talk about that on some level we all know the truth and what the right thing to do is … and that walking the talk is about connecting, identifying, deciding, and acting from there. If we want to be truly happy and healthy, we have to start with the truth. The truth is very humbling. HCV is humbling. At times I refer to myself as “pathetic and apologetic” from being a broken old man. I guess its my way of talking myself into the truth. Most people see me as such a strong silent character. One of my VA doctors referred to me one time as a “cowboy” who is embarrassed to ask for help. Damn, I hate it when people see through me. On the other hand, usually I am the one holding someone’s hand and reassuring them. Now I am on the receiving end. Asking for and humbling accepting help. It took me quite a while to begin to take my medication for symptom management, figuring I could handle everything chemical/drug free through nutrition, exercise, medication, and the loving support of my family and friends. It was hard to admit that I cannot do it all myself and that I would appreciate some chemical assistance/relief. But, that’s the truth.

I remember when I first got diagnosed and all my labs/test were in.  I was told that I was in good enough condition that HCV was something that I would die with but not because of. The first treatment (2008-2009) held out some hope of living without the disease, but it didn’t work and I kept my eyes open (but not really hopeful). I am not much a fan of hope because its usually a relatively passive wishful perspective of something we don’t really believe in. It’s like hoping to win the lottery without buying a ticket. I have heard so many people hang on to hope without any real effort in that direction and without any real evidence that it’s even the vaguest possibility. But you know, when you actually do the work (walk the walk), that possibility may just become a probability (still with a reserved option for failure – be prepared, Mr. Murphy still knows your address). Yet, I can withstand any temporary inconvenience (or medical struggle of your life) if I have a shot at feeling better for the rest of my life.

So, it is another day in the same direction. If I keep the daily discipline and the course true, I just might get to where I am headed. Has certainly worked for me in the past, it’s the best shot I have at the future.

I don’t always trust that there will be a tomorrow, but if there is, I’ll keep you posted (you will always be in my thoughts and heart).

Until again,

Lynn