Tag Archives: Medicine

Decorum

There were two events yesterday, two and a half really, which proved to me, if I needed anymore proof, that I now have absolutely no decorum whatsoever. The subject in question, was of course, my faeces or my lack there of.

Everybody requires a little bit of context and this is mine. I am currently on six tablets of docusate sodium a day plus two senna pills before I go to bed, and still, despite this hefty dose of laxatives, going to the toilet continues to be the bane of my daily existence. In case you were wondering, myeloma is the bane of my world. At least once daily, I also have a portion of linseed, which I believe gives the medicine a healthy, natural helping hand. Linseed also means I occasionally have to visit a Holland and Barrett, thus allowing me to feel superior to the unhealthy masses, that is, until I look in a mirror.

I have long been of the opinion and voiced it several times, that constipation is one of the biggest, unspoken downsides of my medical predicament. I had an appointment with a Senior Medically Trained Person recently, who I had not met before, but Mamma Jones once saw on the television and I instantly took a liking to him when he asked me about the difficulty of my bowel movements.

In that appointment, he told me that one side effect of the radiotherapy would be a slightly jippy tummy. It was a statement that solidified my positive opinion of him. I have now had three sessions of radiotherapy and that particular side effect is yet to appear. I am forgiving him of that, if in a few weeks time, I am able to sit on the toilet without a fear of snapping my spine in three when the struggle ups it’s game.

That is the unsavoury background to my daily (if I am clutching the glass half full), trials and tribulations. I will indeed talk about them to anybody who is willing to listen. The only difference is, depending on the company, I might deepen the code of the subject in which I speak.

Yesterday then, I had a particularly traumatic morning. I had to be up and dressed by 10am, ahead of the Patient Transport Service collecting me for my two hospital appointments of the day, the first of which, was at midday. The PTS can pick me up anytime between 10:00hrs and my appointment time two hours later. As such, stage fright usually kicks in and I cannot pass what needs to be passed because I need a clear 30 minutes to do it. Unfortunately for me, the biological need kicked in around 11:15hrs, shortly after I discovered my transport was not in fact, picking me up at the agreed time. In a panic, I booked a taxi and then visited the room between my kitchen and my bedroom. It was an act that was indeed a mistake for there was not enough time for me to do what needed to be done.

This brings me to my first example. Mid act, I had to give in. As I uncomfortably made my way through my flat to the waiting taxi outside, I said something to Housemate that does not need to be repeated here, such was the level of my crudeness. All that needs to be said is that it Is a term usually reserved for the delivery room in a hospital.

It was a very uncomfortable taxi ride, during which, it became apparent to me that I was going to have to be late for my counselling appointment at midday. Not wanting to be rude, I thought it necessary upon my arrival at the Cancer Centre to inform the relevant people that I may be a little late to my appointment.

Most people would probably have asked the the lady on reception to inform my counsellor that I would be late and send my apologies. Not me. In my second example, the conversation went something like this:

“Hi, I have an appointment with Sxxxx at midday, but I am going to be late…. I have a problem. Not a bad problem you understand, but the one people get with their medication that they don’t really talk about… You know… Um, I just really have to go to the toilet and I’m really uncomfortable and it might take a while. Can you let her know? I’ll go down to her office when I am done.”

It was a conversation that was greeted by a knowing smile, and off I went. Fifteen minutes later, with a large smile on my face, I returned to the reception desk to see smiles all round. I then proceeded to discuss matters in more depth for five minutes more.

Later in the day, I received a text message from a dear friend of mine, who is also experiencing similar woes, and what followed was a lengthy, open discussion about my troubles of the day and the effectiveness of linseed. It was that conversation that confirmed what I have long known… Cancer causes constipation and I absolutely love shouting it from the rooftops.

💩💩💩

EJB x

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My Chi

I am not a spiritual person. I am not actually sure what a ‘spiritual person’ is, but I would bet EMan on the fact that I am not of that ilk. I am not a religious person either. When it comes to believing in something that I cannot see, experience or evidence, I struggle. And by struggle, I mean I look constipated when I think about it. I really have tried several times in my lifetime. Meditation for example, looks so much fun. I genuinely believe that my life would improve if I managed to get a bit of zen and, you know, allowed myself to believe in its existence. As somebody with respect for others and their beliefs and all the jazz that makes me a perfect, humane person, I am most perplexed that my belief in existence is still so black and white. Black and white and westernised, just with the occasional massage or reiki session.

It is rare these days, that when in comes to the topic of cancer, for me to experience something new or be surprised by it. Last week, I managed to be surprised. As somebody on the minimum wage, I found myself in a taxi, which I hailed with my stick outside the cancer centre, with just myself and a devout taxi driver for company. These facts are important, because they explain how we got onto the subject of the subject we we talking about. My taxi driver introduced me to something that I had not considered at all since my diagnosis, and that something, was called ‘healing’. Not sexual healing, even I could do with a bit of that right now, he was selling, spiritual healing.

On the face of it, simple exercises designed to help one relax and breathe correctly is a beneficial thing. Positive thinking is also something I could take a dose of. This, so the taxi driver told me, is what Qigong is all about. Well, actually, it is about an invisible energy, chi, and the cultivation of it to improve ones life force, according to the worldwide web. Great I thought, I can get me some of that, it sounded like a less energetic form of Zumba. And then, he went on. And on. Traffic was heavy, so it went on some more. Qigong, he said, could cure cancer. Not medicine, Qigong.

In fact he said, the exercises are preventative and if I had been doing them already, I would not have myeloma now. Shame that. It’s not too late, he said, I could have I individual healing sessions with his master. I looked at their website and these sessions come with a 85% success rate, with a minimum of four sessions depending on the illness, at a cost of £300 per session. The taxi driver rightly pointed out though, that what is £300 when it can save your life? Indeed.

If only… I am stuck between thinking that this exchange is deplorable and insulting on the one hand, and thinking that if it gives some people hope, then what harm can be done, on the other. Personally, I know where I stand, but I am yet to reach the point where such an option would seem appealing. It appeals to me about as much as a visit to Lourdes does. Actually, at least the latter would be a holiday.

I can sit on my sofa and think that all the above is ludicrous. I can continue to have faith in western medicine, I like that it does not offer me the universe and it does not tell me that I am wrong. I hope that in the long, long, term when my end is near, that I do not wonder whether I should have explored the spiritual or religious path, rather than ridicule them.

I do not know why the thought it is making me angry.

This is enough, right?

EJB x

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The Menopause

Now then, I have discovered that when one is aware that they may experience certain symptoms, they inevitably experience those symptoms, especially if the drug is new. For me, I am never really sure if the symptoms are real or imagined. I hope they are real, otherwise, I’m getting all hot and bothered over nothing. Literally.

With that in mind, I certainly hope that I am going through the menopause. Does the drug work even work this fast? Who knows? To be frank, I don’t even know if I am injecting it properly. I am following the manual…

Yesterday, I walked a few hundred yards to get the bus and I was sweating. In the last few days in fact I have had quite a few Own Personal Summers. I really hope that by the end of the week I am not sweating profusely in the 8 degree heat. The look does not work on a large person. I do not want to look like a stereotype please, okay?

As for the mood. It’s hard to tell. Throughout this ordeal I have good and bad days, but yesterday morning I felt like there was a mood enhancer in my flat. Even listening to Cat Stevens really, really loudly didn’t help. Today, I feel fine, full of witticisms that only I find funny.

I am also not, you know, in need of a certain something. The men of this world are safe, I’m not going to jump you anymore. Well, I wouldn’t have jumped you anyway, I probably would have just taken my knickers off.

These symptoms are on temporary though, so, be prepared.

Isn’t medicine great?

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Prick

I am sure that there are many people out there who associate being poked by a foreign object a good thing. Maybe even a fun thing, depending on what the foreign object is attached to. In the world of medicine, and specifically to me, in the world of cancer treatment, being poked by a foreign object is not usually considered a pleasurable experience. Fortunately for me, thus far in my journey, the poking has been undertaken by Medically Trained People.

Not anymore.

Next week I will start a course of treatment whereby I have to inject myself everyday for ten days. The gift that is self medicating started early for me, just a few minutes ago to be precise. I have asked to receive an extra medicine not usually given to patients preparing for a transplant. I have asked for a drug that I am sure is really technical and stuff, but essentially, the drug puts my body into a kind of fake menopause. I simply cannot wait for the side effects from that to kick in. I understand that one of the side effects will make it difficult for me to get a good old poking the way nature initially intended. That though, is by the by. Nature sucks. Medical advancements and Vaseline are where it is at.

What is praying on my mind, right now, is pricks. The pricks of a needle. It was not a good thing for Sleeping Beauty was it? Well, a handsome prince did rescue her at the end, but generally, the lesson I gained from that particular fairy tale was that needles are bad. Real bad.

I know there are many people in this world who have to inject themselves everyday. Knowing this fact, meant that I had to find the will to do my injections myself. It is hardly fair of me to ask others to do the injections for me, as daunting as it may be for me to stand in my kitchen with a needle and syringe aimed at my gut. It would be a lie if I said that injecting myself did not scare me. Anybody who saw me build up the courage to do the first injection would see that I was afraid. I made up the medicine, which by the way was no easy feat, then stood with a timer, targeting the needle, then removing it, then targeting it, and then removing it, then targeting it, and then removing it before I could stab myself. It was not an attractive sight for I was pinching my flab with my left hand and directing the syringe with the right.

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A complicated medical procedure

As it turned out, it was not that bad. I am sure as the week progresses, I will find it easier and easier.

It’ll never be a trip to the cinema.

EJB x

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The Helping Hand

I have denied myself a helping hand, or shall we say, jellied bullet, since, well, forever. It was not permitted in the hospital and it has not been permitted until now… However, after four days of chemotherapy and intense discomfort, I have given in. I am weak. Sometimes, one just needs a little medicine and my, was this dose eye opening.

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I am not sure what I am happier about, the return to normal service or the fact that I was nimble enough to, erm, do the deed.

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