Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How ironic

I got word yesterday that a manuscript I submitted to a peer-review nursing journal has been published in the August issue. I also recently re-certified my clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner license. It will be my last time; I won't have the requisite practice hours next time around. So, I'm still a nurse with credentials and I just got published. But the other, ugly side is that I am not working at all and will probably never practice nursing again.

This week marks the anniversary of a wonderful week spent up north with my dearest friend. She passed away unexpectedly last October. I still miss her terribly and this week I'm feeling morose. I know that's the reason. I am blessed with dear friends, but close friends of 30 years or more are rare. We used to talk every Sunday night. Oh how I miss her! Grieving is such difficult work; and it never completely leaves us. I have a hole where Susan used to be that can't be filled, replaced or repaired.

People with HCV often monitor this thing called "viral load." Basically, it's an indicator of how many viral cells are floating around in your body. Surprisingly, one with HCV does not have a steady level. Logic would dictate that viral load is commensurate with length of infection, but that's not the case. Actually, viral load fluctuates for a variety of reasons. I seem to run in the area of 1.8 million (very high). But it's probable there are times I drop to 1 million and times I exceed 2 million. My doctor no longer monitors this indicator as it's irrelevant at my stage and it's an expensive test that gets sent to Mayo Clinic. But my recent symptoms would suggest that my viral load is running high. I feel more flu-like symptoms in recent weeks. Today it's unlikely I'll get dressed. Yesterday I plowed through it and had dinner with my spouse at a friend's home. I didn't feel well, but I still went. Yeah, I should listen to my body but sometimes I just gotta get out and do something, anything to get my mind off how lousy I feel. Today I am paying the price, but it was worth it.

I must mention that this is invisible illness awareness week. Today's message: how to cope with a crisis when you have a chronic illness. Here's the link: