Thursday, January 06, 2005

Rhythms of Treatment

Halfway through the third treatment period, I am learning the cycles of how my body handles the chemo. The day of I am not uncomfortable so much as just out of it. Then a couple of days where the steroids have me pumped up and I feel weird, but good. Then some mild mouth soreness for a few days. About five days after chemo I get aches, mostly in my arms and back. During the day they don't bother me, but at night, of course, I use them as an opportunity to not sleep. (Check out Leslie What's blog for a nice discussion of not sleeping.)

The last couple of days I'm pretty much completely normal.

All of this is realy easy to tolerate, but the first cycle, it was all a little scary. You know, the hypervigilant thing. Now, it's kind of no big deal. I know that the Tylenol won't really do much for the aches, so I will have to break down and take a Motrin, even though it mildly depresses white blood count. Life is amazingly mundane.

Funny thing, that. Here I am having this rather life altering experience and mostly it feels about as exotic as going to the grocery. We homo sapiens are an adaptable bunch, I guess. What am I really worried about? Thanks to David Moles, I am now worried about antibiotic resistent bacteria. I'm already buying meat that was raised without antibiotics, but David has a link to a Bruce Sterling column which makes it all so...horrifyingly Sterlingesque. And me with a punk immune system


Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

I want to hear more about "weird, but good."

January 06, 2005 9:33 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

"Weird, but good."

You ever heard of speedballing? It's where a drug user takes heroin for the euphoria, and speed for the energy. It's an attempt to capitalize on the best effects of both drugs. The poor man's version of it is probably caffeine and alcohol.

On chemo day they basically poison me. And I should be violently ill and miserable. But at the same time they fill me up with potent feel good stuff--atavan (which is like valium) and a heavy dose of steroids and anit-nausea drugs. Steroids of course give one a sense of vitality and well being. So over top of the effects of chemo I have this weird calm and vitality. My cheeks are pink, there's a spring in my step and I'm somehow completely out of sync with myself. I don't feel bad, I feel pretty good.

Weird. But Good.

January 06, 2005 11:37 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Interesting! Thanks. I =thought= that "weird, but good" suggested illegal drugs.

January 06, 2005 1:13 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Well, a friend told me her son could get me medicinal marijuana if I wanted it...

January 06, 2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Is medical marijuana any different from the regular sort, other than the fact that it is dispensed by prescription?

January 06, 2005 3:44 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Well, I'm pretty sure my friend's son is neither a doctor nor a pharmacist...

January 06, 2005 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"nice goin', mawm! you totally blawgged my connection!"

-maureen's son

January 06, 2005 9:55 PM  

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