Sunday, November 24, 2013

I hate you dexamethasone

I've written before about dex. It's a steroid that most myeloma patients are familiar with. It causes insomnia, anxiety and has an assortment of potential long term side effects. But it is necessary (so they say) to making the treatment of myeloma that much more successful.

I do my maintenance chemo every other Thursday. Some folks take dex in a pill form at home. I get a massive dose during my chemo infusion. I work on Fridays the day after chemo and am highly productive. I'm so used to being low on blood, that I actually welcome the high and the energy I get from dex the day after treatment. I imagine this is how Rob Ford feels when he is high and running the city of Toronto. On top of the world. 

But there is always the dex crash.  And it is never consistent. Sometimes, it is a gentle landing. I'll be a little tired, but that's about it. Occasionally though the crash is big. And that's how it is this weekend. It's a huge crash. I'm emotionally unstable. A little depression, a lot tired and a whole lot of anger. I woke up today, a beautiful Sunday, filled with hate and anger. I walked Gracie and she pulled her usual stubborn shenanigans. Usually her stubbornness on walks is cute and simply adds to her Gracie uniqueness.

Not today. She pissed me off. I wanted a long walk, but no such luck. The neighbor's dog that barks incessantly has me totally on edge. The cars that make a right turn in front of me as I enter the crosswalk really irked me. I flipped a few cars off this morning and I'd say "fucking shit" were the words I've used the most today. And it is only 8:30 in the morning.

Our neighbor runs a carpet cleaning business out of his house. He's got a couple of piece of shit vans that leak tons of oil onto the street. Seeing that this morning was almost the last straw. Pools of oil all over the place. Can't be good having that stuff run into our sewers.

I'm hungry. I want junk food. I want wings. But I'm trying to be healthy, so how the heck do I balance these things?  It's fucking annoying, the crazy balancing act brought on by the myeloma and brought on even more so by the treatment that is supposed to maintain the quality of life.

I've got a good quality of life, but jesus h christ, this emotional roller coaster is kicking my ass. My head feels ready to explode.

I had acupuncture yesterday. Truly a calming and healing process. But a day later, I'd say I've wasted that calmness. Last night I had plans to call people up. Friends who I haven't spoken with in a while. But I had nothing to say. Dex made me nearly mute. Dex left me without a feeling of self worth. How can I talk to people if I have nothing at all to say?  No phone calls were made. Where is my cave to crawl into?

I recently read Slow Getting Up by Nate Jackson. It's a story of one man's NFL experience.  He mentions dex is taken to help recover from injuries.  It reduces inflammation, is my understanding.  I suppose dex for a football player isn't a bad thing. The anger and rage it creates can be good for the aggressive nature of football. Unfortunately dex is not a steroid that helps build muscle.

And this is how I feel today.  I tell myself things are good. I feel good. Living a normal life. We've got a nice Hawaii trip coming up in a couple of days. Minnesota two weeks after that.  All good. But also all so maddening. Today I need to start thinking about all the meds I need to take on my trip. It takes some planning. Footloose and fancy free is generally gone from my vocabulary.

Have I made my point yet? Don't worry folks, I'll get over it, but today is not a good day. Grrrr.

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Berenson Oncology Success Rate

 Some reading about my myeloma specialist's success rate. A press release and an article from Targeted Oncology.