Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body

Sorry, it's been a few days. Kinda rough ones.

I woke up Friday morning at around midnight in some of the worst pain I've been in since my surgery. I'll explain why.

You see, Neulasta is a wonder drug of sorts. It's only purpose is to basically force your body to over-produce baby white blood cells. It is a huge protein that is normally present in your body anyway, but providing more in the form of this shot helps give a chemo patient that extra boost they need to rebuild their immune system. To put this in perspective, imagine a factory (producing whatever you like). This factory has a set amount of manpower and machinery, space and power. Now imagine that you put every worker and every machine on steriods and speed. You still have the same number of resources, but they are working at max capacity. That's bound to cause some undue wear on both person and machine. And, you're eventually going to run out of space to put your product, and you'll be stacking things and squeezing things, etc. That's sort of what's happening in my bones--and it causes an immense amount of pain. My body is over-producing cells and it can cause bone pain as one of the side effects.

I woke up at around midnight on Friday in the fetal position, crying and shaking from the pain. I was given oxycodone for my jaw pain, and I was told that I could also use it if I experienced the bone pain. I have been taking one oxy every 4-6 hours for the jaw and things were very well under control. I had a little pain before bed, but nothing like what I woke up with. I tried to pull the old Nicole trick and just 'sleep it off' but I stayed awake for the next two and a half hours. I took two oxys at a quarter to three, and I had a very brief respite from the pain. I woke up again at around six, crying and shaking. I finally woke Ted up and told him to call the on-call to see what we could do. He said I could take 600 mg of ibuprofen and two oxys and hopefully that would help enough to get me through until I could talk to Dr. Datta's nurse in the morning, which I did. They gave me more oxy and Dr. Datta is halving my dose of Neulasta in the hopes that this won't happen again. I'm feeling a lot better now and am cutting down on the pain meds, which is good. The LAST thing I want out of this is an addiction to oxy!

My mom is going to be back here today. She is driving out here with my grandfather (my dad's dad). It will be nice to have her back. I do have to get some cleaning done before she gets here, though, so I will try to not make this too long.

I have heard lots of people talk about chemo brain. It seems that this is a common phenomenon. Chemo brain is where you completely forget words, names, to-do lists, why you walked into a room, what it was that you were doing five minutes ago, CONSTANTLY. I'm sure it's a combination of that and all these stupid painkillers I'm on, but I constantly feel like I'm in a fog. I'm usually pretty well-spoken, but I find that I'm really searching for the things I want to say and stammering out something that sounds so Neandertal. I like to use big words when appropriate, but those aren't coming so easily to me these days. I also find that I am very fractious---sooooooooo grouchy. I was watching TV this morning and a commercial came on, one that I don't normally give to you-know-whats about. I found myself thinking, 'That guys's face is PISSING ME OFF!!!!!!!' On a commercial! I about flew off the handle on the comments forum for the local paper online. It was about vaccinating kids against HiB, which is a very virulent and deadly form of the flu. People say some of the stupidest things with absolutely no basis or fact to back them up! Normally, I just chalk that up to people being people and it doesn't bother me that much, but it was REALLY getting under my skin today. People and their ignorance, their PURPOSEFUL ignorance, have no place in civilized society.

Anyhoo, I will step down from the soapbox. My next chemo is on Tuesday. On Monday, I go in to have an IUC placed. Doctors always tell female chemo patients to go on some sort of birth control, for two reasons. One is to (obviously) prevent pregnancy, because chemo can do massive damage to a fetus. Two is to protect fertility--there is evidence that birth control has a protective effect on female fertility during chemotherapy. We all know stories about fertility in both males and females being severely impacted by chemo. I'm not too worried--most of you know how I feel about having children--but it won't hurt anyone, so I figured I may as well. I'm doing the Mirena IUC. I'm hoping that it will solve some other issues I've been having as well--you know, hormonal stuff.

Well, I had better get thinking about cleaning. Haha.

Kelly, if you read this--isn't Damages getting REALLY good?? Do you watch Nip/Tuck, too?

Bye, all! Have a great weekend!!

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