For the last few months I’ve had a weekly date every Friday with a very cold and piercing individual whom, truth be told, I really hate but whose weekly kiss upon my body is hopefully helping me to rid myself of the horrible viruses that run in my bloodstream. Whenever the needle breaks through my skin, I feel a little prickly sting that then turns into a dull itchy pain when the cold contents of the small syringe enter my body. And then, almost straight away, I feel when the drugs hit my system. My head goes a bit light, I feel my shoulders drop while I sink on whatever chair I happen to be sitting, I stare for a few seconds at whatever is in front of me and then I start to feel my whole body being drained of all the energy I might have had up to that moment. A quite unfortunate situation really because since my weekly dates started, ‘energy’ is something I haven’t really had for any period of time. After the first injection, my body has felt like its batteries had been taken out and it hasn’t recovered since. So, when on Fridays my energy is drained again, the drugs are simply taking the little reserves I’ve built up over the week, taking me back to square one, needing to start building my weekly energy for the days ahead.
Regrettably, this lack of energy has slowly but surely taken hold not only of my body but my life too. What started as a tired weekend [I have my injections on Friday nights so they affect my work as little as possible… the bills still have to be paid!] has turned into a daily struggle to remain upbeat, positive and to find the energy to carry on with my life as normally as I can, finding the energy the drugs have denied me in other unlikely sources. A good book, a nice cup of coffee, little personal projects here and there. But more importantly, I’ve found that energy in the love, patience and support of my wonderful partner, my amazing family, my dearest of friends and my understanding workplace who have never allowed my constant cancellations, my lethargic chats, my tendency to just crash on the sofa staring at anything to diminish the amount of energy they inject into my life every day. However, it’s hard sometimes not to allow the tiredness to just take hold and it’s very easy to slip into a vicious circle of tiredness and lethargy and if I cannot find ways to fight it, once it takes hold I might be stuck with it for the next 6 months [or maybe even the next 18]. So, I’ve talked a lot before about trying to fight this but have never taken decisive action. Well, that changes from now and the fight back starts here!
Euclides is running from Hepatitis
I don’t give up easily and I’ve never been one to run away from my troubles. In fact, I’ve never been a runner in any sense of the word, occasionally mocking the courageous winter joggers in Hampstead Heath whilst I slowly strolled in search of a good cappuccino. But I’m making an exception this time and I’m running from hepatitis, or rather, I’m racing it! I’ve decided that the best way to fight the constant state of drug-induced slumber my life has become is to run the Edinburgh Marathon on behalf of a charity. ‘Erm… how’s that the best way Euclides?’ I hear you ask. Well, here’s how.
Firstly, it is a way for me to start wrestling control of my life and my health away from my treatment. This isn’t a reckless, spur-of-the-moment decision and I’ve discussed it with my doctor. I’m aware it is going to be very hard to train up to 5 times a week whilst the interferon is working its magic on my body but the fact that my training will help me get fitter to deal with the drugs and the even healthier lifestyle I’ll have to adopt will increase the chances of my treatment working should hopefully offset the nastiness of very cold 6 AM runs in the months to come.
Secondly, and more importantly, there are two worthy causes that will benefit from my efforts. The first one is the issue of raising awareness of hepatitis in our society. When 1 in 12 of us is suffering from hepatitis and as a society we don’t seem to offer the levels of awareness needed to prevent and raise the standard of treatment of such an ailment, it is important for individuals to make as much noise as possible to draw attention to the issue. That was initially the purpose of this blog but somehow along the way, I never actually came out of the Hep closet. I opened its doors wide open for anyone who would want to make the effort and take a peek but I truly remained perched on the floor of the closet. Not anymore. By taking this decision, I’m effectively coming out of the closet and because I need to raise as much money as possible, I will have to make all the noise I possibly can, hopefully raising awareness about these illnesses along the way.
The other cause is the charity that will benefit from the funds I raise during my training. As I mentioned above, the situation I’m going through at the moment would have been unimaginably worse without the love, support and encouragement of my close network of loved ones who have been there willing me on in one way or another. However, there are millions of people around the planet who are going through situations many times worse than mine and who lack the help they so badly need to continue. Amnesty International is one of the few charities whose unflinching commitment to provide a word of hope for those people while at the same trying to raise awareness of these issues worldwide has never wavered. Their work is very important, especially right now, and it’s essential that we try and help them whichever way we can. That’s why I’ve decided to do my bit.
Over the next few months I’ll talk a bit more about these things but this is a very long post as it is and I think I’ve bored you enough for one week. Incidentally, if you’ve just been sent here by a link in an email/forum/fundraising page, please stick around and have a look at the blog, there’s a lot more about me, hepatitis and other things. And if you’re one of the loyal readers of the blog, thanks for helping me get this far!
Last [but most certainly not least!] please go to my fundraising page here to be effectively mugged by me!
Thanks for reading and see you next week.