Week 28: Staying the Course

Another good week.

I also had my regular bi-weekly clinic visit. All good. I can continue to taper down my Prednisone (4 tablets this week, and then a reduction of one tablet each week, so it is a gradual process). As my stomach problems seem to be over, no need for a colonoscopy, a procedure I was dreading somewhat (but if you don’t ask why and is this still necessary, it just happens!) Ironic, really, the same week a study comes out on the effectiveness of the procedure (Report Affirms Lifesaving Role of Colonoscopy); but as my CT scan was clear and the symptoms have gone away, no need for the additional worry of an additional test.

The only remaining noticeable side effect remains some irritability, usually over small things, which I continue to try to manage (biting my tongue!).

I also asked whether or not I should take Vitamin D, given that I have to avoid sun through clothing and sunscreen. Good question apparently, but the advice of 2000 units applies to all, not just someone in my situation. So I have started and readers can consider this for themselves.

Another sign of the 6 month mark and expected progress, my long-term disability insurance company wrote to my doctor asking for an update on my condition. I respected the process, not discussing what will be in the medical report prior to it being sent in (will ask next clinic visit) but given earlier discussions with my medical team, this is likely to be more of an issue at the one-year mark (August or so).

I filled out the large-scale comprehensive Ontario Health Study which is looking how lifestyle, environment and family history may influence our health. I expect some interesting data will emerge. If interested in completing the study (it is a bit clunky particularly the sign-up procedure), check it out at the following link.

For my reading this week, I have been going through an old diary and travel book, from different branches of the family, dating from the 1800s (5 generations ago). The diary is interesting in that some of the subjects are familiar and contemporary (extreme weather, raising children, money worries) while others are particular to the period (infant mortality).

The travel book, the old form of a blog, reflects the biases of the English of the time with respect to Turkey and the Middle East, particularly with respect to Islam, although the account of travelling and travellers of the period has its moments. This particular ancestor was a bit of a dilettante, it would appear, neglecting his family and inventing, at least in his self-promotion, a steam engine that in the end was neither built nor worked. The things one discovers.

For movies, we saw Pink Ribbons, Inc., a bit overly polemical but raising legitimate issues regarding corporate sponsorship of breast cancer charities and that the ‘false cheeriness’ can be counterproductive. As one person interviewed says, cancer is not cute and cuddly! Perhaps the most powerful part of the film are some of the interviews with Stage 4 breast cancer patients, and how they react to some of the messages.

I find the film, while respectful of people getting together to raise funds and be part of the cancer community, undervalues the human aspect of people wanting to feel that they are doing something to help. And just I find it annoying that Congressional hearings on birth control and related issues only had male witnesses, I found the lack of men being interviewed in Pink Ribbons, Inc. also irritating, given their perspective as husbands, family members, and caregivers.

More TV watching than other movies. The season closing to Downton Abbey, where the largely predictable happened but still fun, the Clinton documentary on PBS, reliving those years (while no excuse for his behaviour, there is something particular about sex scandals, and the hypocrisy of Gingrich et al), and watching the Republican Primary ‘Survivor’ debate. To put this all in perspective, some  watching again of Yes, Prime Minister.

Overall, a good week, lots of walking, time with our son back for reading week, and my wife had a good break skiing with a long-time friend out West, a necessary break for what we have all been going through.

No medical appointments this week, always a good thing, and will continue to see how the Prednisone phase-down continues. Highlights will be seeing our daughter’s school musical and one of my brothers coming next weekend to catch up and do his 3 month review of how I am doing!


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