Man I feel like I got hit by a truck this week. No idea what in the hell is going on but it’s like side-effect-palooza around here. In no particular order:
- Heart/chest pain. This is the scary one to me. I can’t tell if I’m having heart pain or some seriously Satanic heartburn. It’s right at the top of my chest underneath my breastbone, hurts like the Devil for 5-10 minutes, and sometimes I can banish it with drinking cold water (sometimes not). When I was on Velcade back in the day I used to have to take Prilosec to combat some side effects so I started taking that again, but I’m not 100% it’s a GI thing. Will talk to my doctor Friday, although I’m pretty sure that means it’s time to break out the EKG machine. Which I don’t mind, but the nurses at CBCI hate the combination of my chest hair and the not-really-sticky-whatsoever EKG pads. Not quite as much as I do when they RIP THEM OFF LIKE A CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Actually they’re pretty good about that stuff, I just thought that was a funny image.
- Body pain. I’m thinking this is Xanax-related. I had my sleep schedule pretty dialed in during the last few chemos but every time I start a new one, as some of you well know, it’s time to figure it all out again. I haven’t been able to sleep like I used to with past chemotherapies on this Dara cocktail so I started popping a Xanax on really bad nights again (I think this new steroid is really messing with my sleep), but then I wake up and my ENTIRE body hurts. It gets worse through the day.
- Other random things — minor neuropathy in my calves, exhaustion, temperature. I may just be coming down with something too. I’ve noticed I’m so much more aware of my body after four years of chemotherapy and everything else that I can usually point to something and say “yeah, think I’m run down because I’m fighting something off and my system is just taxed” or the like. Either way something is beating the hell out of my immune system as can be seen from the CBC results. At this point I’m curious if they’ll do my infusion Friday, which opens up a whole new can of worms — I missed a bunch of the clinical trial doses of my last regimen due to having pneumonia FOUR TIMES during it and obviously that’s not a positive (and also why I’m now on monthly IViG). I’d really rather stay on the chemo drugs and try to get this goddamn cancer beaten back a bit than be sick.
I went to bed a few hours earlier than normal last night and proceeded to wake up all night long, sweaty and confused as to what was waking me up. Like 10+ times. THAT is what the Xanax used to stop, but I refused to take any last night to give myself a break. Thankfully I’m heading home in a few hours for the day to hang with the kiddo while my wife gets some stuff done, because the thought of sitting here for another seven hours seems like a Herculean task today.
An interesting thing about Xanax (besides the fact that some dumbasses actually use the stuff recreationally) is that you can build a tolerance. I used to take 0.5’s but noticed they weren’t helping this time around so I asked for 1.0’s. The 0.5 aren’t working for beans, and the 1.0’s give me a hangover worse than my worst next-day in college. Except for that one tequila “why is this pebble embedded in my nose night” from undergrad in SoCal, but that’s another story.
As a cancer victim, you (well me, but others I’ve talked to about this agree), are constantly scanning and analyzing every new pain, twitch, bump, skin aberration, spasm, sleepless night, thought, etc. Is it a new cancer? A new side-effect? My cancer doing something? The drugs working hard (I know this is a myth but I’ll admit sometimes I hope this is the case still) or not working at all? Am I sick again? Etc. etc. I get a lot of lower back pain and I’m always worried, due to having Myeloma and knowing folks who have had vertebrae implode due to the osteoporosis Myeloma can cause, that I’m always one “picking up something heavy” from having my back shatter. Especially since the only PET scan I ever did showed my lower back as a highlighted spot (and my hip and a couple of other spots where there were bone lesions from this).
Anyhow nothing too philosophical today, just an update since this has consumed most of my thoughts lately. And don’t get me wrong, I’m actually doing pretty well mood-wise still (feel like I have to keep assuring that), just feel like hell.
Imagine that, cancer sucks. Someone call the New York Times!
Oh and bonus points if you know what the title of this entry is from. It’s not a contest, just a generational thing at this point.