Monday, August 31, 2009

Beginning week 2

I just thought I would write a note acknowledging that I have not been subjected to the usual side effects from the interferon injections. I have now administered two injections in my body, a week apart. And aside from being exhausted easily, some minor eczema, itching at the injection site and having difficulty going up stairs (due to joint pain, etc), I can say that it isn't at all what I was expecting. Very anti-climactic considering I had psyched myself up for living hell.

Now I am convinced that maybe the treatment isn't working because I have not experienced any negative effects.

How is it possible that I am an exception from the norm? What's wrong with me? Did I perhaps get placebo or even water in my pre-filled syringes? Was it the doing of a lazy or pissed off employee at the drug company? I am 50% convinced that this is what has happened.

Now it is just the waiting for the all important blood tests to show if it has started working, or if I am a non-responder.

Of course I will let you know.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Matthew at the Savoy

As I am counting down the days until I embark on my journey to (70% chance) wellness, I thought I would utilize the time and share...

It was December, I am pretty sure because it was really cold out, there was snow on the ground. It was Saturday night at about 3am. I was hanging around outside of the Savoy, that's where the dope dealers were that night ( the dope dealers that I preferred - there were MANY other dealers elsewhere), and I also had a good vantage point because I had a clear view of Hastings and Gore, which is good corner for spotting potential dates.

But this night it was really dead on the street. The only people out were the people selling dope, the people scoring dope/trying to score dope, girls selling sex, (very few) men looking to buy sex, and the Police. I remember I was almost crying, I had no money and no prospective ways to MAKE money. And it was f'n freezing out.

A fellow street urchin named Todd said he may know someone that I could do a date with. He walked up to this old guy that was going into the lobby of the Savoy and offered my services.Next thing I know we are heading up the stairs to his room. His name was Matthew. I don't know why I remember his name, but I do.

At first I was just ecstatic at getting out of the cold, and at the chance to make some money, but that faded quickly. I never liked those downtown hotels anyways, I found them, frightening and intimidating. I always felt like if I was in serious danger and screamed or got stabbed, no one would care and come to my aid. At least on the street the cops MAY show up.

Anyways, back to Matthew's room. It was filthy, it was like one of those TLC shows about "hoarders", but much worse. There was garbage and dirty clothes and needles and roaches...tons of roaches. Like usual, I just wanted to get things over with so I could get my money and get out of there and of course I was being severely underpaid.

And so begins one of the many humiliating and degrading moments of my life. During the "date" in this horrible sanitation nightmare of a hotel room, Matthew starts speaking to me very quietly and deliberately. He was saying things like "who do you think you are, you fucking are nothing" and "you are worthless, piece of garbage". Over and over and over. I remember how it shredded any ounce of self respect I may have had still lingering in my soul.. It was painful, it was like I was outside myself watching and listening to all this. It was surreal, because usually I could go through the motions and not think about what I was doing. But I couldn't this time. I can't even explain myself enough to possibly make someone understand how truly humiliating it was to have someone say something like this to me and mean it. Especially someone like him. While I was having sex with him for money. And not a lot of money, so I couldn't even justify it to myself because I was being paid well.

When he noticed I was upset, he just said "oh, I didn't mean it, it just gets me off" or something stupid like that. Then it was over and I left. I went back outside and it probably wasn't long until I found myself in the same situation I had just been in. Except the next time maybe the setting was different. Could have been in a car or a stairwell.

We did use a condom. He was actually very adamant that we use one. Weird. I was a threat to his health, but he obviously wasn't concerned about the cockroach larvae, bed bugs and whatever else thrives in filth.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Combat Hep C

Yesterday I went in for my liver biopsy, a procedure I needed done to assess the damage to my liver from my Hepatitis C. And it was so easy. A little bit of pain after, but I am feeling even better today. I have attached an illustration, I figure that would be less gruesome than actual photos.
I saw my infectious disease doctor last week, and he had good news. Turns out I have been approved for treatment. So for the next six months, starting next week, I will be giving myself injections of "peginterferon alfa-2a" and six "ribavirin" pills everyday. The treatment is not always successful at getting rid of the Hep C and the side effects are quite intense, but it is better than the alternative. According to my doctor I have about a 70% chance at getting rid of it, which are pretty good odds. I actually don't even feel sick at all from the hepatitis, would not even know I had it unless I had gotten the original blood test 4 years ago. That is what is so dangerous about it, it can live inside some people for 20 years before their liver begins to fail. I read that Hep C is the number one reason for liver transplants today.

The weird thing about this is that one day I went into a walk in clinic, for reasons totally unrelated to Hep C, and when I mentioned my disease to the doctor, he ordered various blood tests, and then made me an appointment to see a specialist. And now here I am, days away from treatment. And I never would have known that my liver function was deteriorating if it hadn't been for the walk in clinic doctor. Bless him.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Life Now (Part One)

Well, my life now is not at all like my "previous existence". I actually went straight from being a drug addict to being a full time single mother. I had not choice in the matter, having my son removed from me at birth is what prompted me to finally get it together. I wasn't about to do it other wise.

Now it is a daily struggle to figure out how I can possibly find some purpose on the earth..and gain some useful skills that will allow me to integrate back into normal society. Not that you would know about my past by looking at me, but it's there, just under the surface.

I also have hep c..which is now affecting my liver. Never before, while I was using, and so close to death did I question my own mortality. I really didn't care. But now I have to. All my old friends have lived their lives "properly" and I am left to catch up. And sure, I am not HIV positive, which is something to be thankful for, but still my carelessness has left me affected emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I am sharing this because it needs to be understood that all my problems did not go away because I stopped using, and stopped living on the street. In fact I may have MORE problems now. Before it was just making sure I had my dope, making sure I didn't get my ass kicked, or making sure I had a place to sleep - whenever I actually wanted to sleep. But now, I have a lot more problems, different problems, but I am able to deal with them, have the necessary coping skills to do so. Well, I don't want to say I have all the skills to cope, I never actually went to treatment unfortunately, since I had to just get clean, to get my son back, the everything happened so quickly..and here I am. if I knew then what I know now, I would have gone to treatment.

It has been almost 3 years...and still feel parts of my soul missing. Slowly they are coming back, but I am not the same person I used to be. I find it difficult to connect to people now, whereas before I made friends very easily. My self confidence and esteem has taken a beating. I used to be a very creative person, and I feel that is missing now too. This is why treatment is very beneficial I think. You get to focus on healing and getting to love and know yourself again. I didn't have the option for treatment, so I am doing this the hard way.

This just a taste of where my life is now. What I haven't mentioned is all my personal victories, and there are many.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I just want to aplogize to my legions of followers that may be holding their breath waiting for my next post...I just haven't been motivated. Due to the heat maybe..due to my moods maybe..maybe I have lost some of my momentum. BUT, I promise when the spirit moves me...I will resume the exorcism.