Dexamethasone. Dex to us myeloma patients. It's a powerful steroid that works in concert with our other drugs to make the whole concoction do its job. Dex typically induces a day or two of insomnia and unchecked energy. It's followed by a crash. A couple days of tiredness.
To be honest, I don't mind the dex high. At times I actually like it. The first night of insomnia I use to my benefit. I work out. I read. I stay up late watching tv. I send long emails to people. I keep Leslie and Gracie awake. I update my quicken. I make plans. I look at cars, bikes, vacation spots, shoes, all kinds of stuff on the internet.
The first day, after the night of insomnia, is unchecked energy and isn't so bad either. I go to work. I'm highly productive. My brain is working double time. I'm funnier and smarter on my dex day. At least, I think I am. I do a lot of clapping and jumping on dex day. I encourage team efforts. Anything seems possible. Myeloma seems like a little hiccup at worst on dex day. Not bad, right?
This is my dex love.
But I also get moody right from the get go with dex. I have little patience and am annoyed if things don't go my way. Oh wait, maybe I'm like that already. I'm sure some people would say I've always been like that. I think I mentioned that I warn co-workers not to annoy me, given the dex driven short fuse. Despite the energy and the high, dex does make me want to crawl into a corner somewhere and avoid all contact with other people.
Two days after my treatment, the dex wears off and there is a crash. It's a physical and mental crash. Physically, I'm just plain old tired. This past Sunday I laid on the couch all day watching tv. I didn't even have energy or desire to take Gracie for a walk. I force myself to move around a bit, but I'd prefer not to.
Mentally, the crash for me is more difficult. As I said, the mental challenge of myeloma is a tough one. So many thoughts run through my head. The dex crash amplifies all my negative thoughts. Woe is me is heightened. I feel like a loser for not embracing life. I think about how much the cancer has consumed me and I have no ability to have a normal conversation about anything other than cancer. Yesterday was a particularly bad crash day. My mind was fucked up. We had a lunch for my retiring boss. I sat with some folks who I like but haven't seen too much lately. I had nothing to say. I just sat there, thinking every word that came out of my mouth was pathetic. I had meetings, I had issues to solve...and I just couldn't get in to them. It all felt hopeless and pointless. I went home after work and laid down in the middle of the living room floor, eyes closed. Leslie got me moving.
I mentioned my achy nut yesterday. It's fine now and really isn't anything to worry about. I know I can delete any post I write at any time. But I tell myself, once I upload a post it stays. So last night, I came home and was kicking myself for mentioning my nut. Why would I do that? Who wants to hear about my nut? Why would I want to open myself to questions about my left nut? But I posted it and it had to stay.
This is my dex hate. Self loathing, self pity, hopelessness run rampant at times. See why I hate it?
But then there is the high. That wonderful high. I love the energy I get for two days. I love feeling invincible and on top of the world. It's a roller coaster for sure.
And that is my dex story. I'm not even getting into potential issues associated with long term steroid use.