Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Round 1 winner: me

My first round of chemo is technically done. It consists of two weeks of treatments followed by a week to rest and recuperate, and I'm in my "off" week right now. My energy is low but steadily improving. I actually have plans to go to the gym on Friday, though I will be amazed if I manage more than 5 minutes on the treadmill. I won't push it: if I've learned one thing during this experience, it's how to read my body and know when I'm pushing it too hard.

The pain has been steadily decreasing over the past week or so, having seemed to level off at a generalized tightness and faint soreness in my lower back. Sitting at the computer chair (which I'm doing right now) aggravates it a bit so I'll make this brief for my own selfish ends.

I called an talked to Dr. Bonzo (the Palliative Care Doc.) when I realized that the pain was decreasing. The Methadone (which I'm on for pain) is scary-ass shit, and I don't want to be on it one minute longer than I need to. With the pain gone, there is no reason for it. The problem is, there is a reason that this is used as a replacement for people who are addicted to heroine. NOTE: I am not addicted to heroine. Nor have I ever even tried it, but I sincerely think that there are Facebook friends of mine who believe that I'm on methadone as some sort of drug-recovery tool. I always say that the only thing more dangerous than no information is a little bit of information. But I digress.

So I'm on Methadone. If I were to go off the drug cold-turkey, I would have withdrawal symptoms similar to going off heroine. Ever see Trainspotting? Get the buckets ready. I would have the shakes, the vomits, the squirts, sweats, and generally wish I were dead... for a period of days. So I must follow their tapering-off schedule, which takes 9 days. Today is technically day 2 and it is going all right except for a few random muscle jerks and twitches and a poor mood in general.

The nausea is also fading, but I've learned a few things about keeping that in check as well. Its sad that this is becoming routine, both for me and for the people around me. No one should ever get used to this feeling.
My next round starts up next Monday, 9/12.


Jen said...

I get knocked down!
but I get up again!
You're never gonna keep me down!
- Chumbawamba

nihilix said...

I've been casting around for a musical quote to go with this for a while... the first thought was some righteous bashing of the right wing from an anarchist viewpoint - but I couldn't find decent lyrics sites for Chumba's early stuff, or the lyrics I found weren't political.

Then I went looking in KMFDM, but they were waaaay too nihilistic for someone with bad cancer. But I started playing them, so thanks for the soundtrack.

Ooooh! I know - here's a total 'ive got a recipe for clam dip' lyric:

Democrats are out of power
Across that great wide ocean
Reagan’s president elect
Fascist God in motion
Generals tell him what to do
Stop your good time dancing
Train their guns on me and you
Fascist thang advancing
-Heaven 17

Anyway, glad you're feeling better!

M said...

@Jen, thanks! @Nihilix: I appreciate the thoughts (and I remember that Heaven 17 song fondly from my high-school days). I have to say that I'm not sure where the right-wing bashing read you get from my note comes from. Rereading it, I can definitely see some frustration and anger there, but its not directed at any person or group. I'm a lefty for sure, but I find that having a terminal disease makes me not want to "bash" anyone. There's too much hatred in the world already. I do make the blog political when I'm railing on specifics like how we should have medicinal marijuana n Minnesota, or how we should have healthcare for all -- stuff that directly relates to my situation. Sorry, old friend. As I mentioned, this methadone shit puts me in a poor mood.

If I were to search for a soundtrack, would be the guitar solo from Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb".

Nickster said...

Love is the drug!

Deborah in MN said...

The tune that comes tomind when I think about you and I and all the bad stuff that keeps coming at us (and this may be before your time) is "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!", which is upbeat and positive. When you can't go on, ask God to carry you the next mile. That's what has gotten me thru my dark days.

nihilix said...

The politics were all mine; you didn't bring them in. Jen quoted Chumba, and I got the idea I could quote another of their songs and be like political. It's a Saul Alinsky tactic, sorry, was carrying over my work.

But I couldn't find a good political lyric, so I went back to an old fave, which I knew you'd listened to.

I don't hate, really. My new age spiritualism and organizer pragmatism both tell me that it just drains things. And it's so misused by the bad guys.

Don't worry about being out of sorts. Thanks for being straight up and I think it was mostly a misunderstanding.

Colleen said...

So you wean yourself almost off and then have to start up with the methadone again for each round?
On another note I saw a few articles about Gibson guitar getting raided by the feds because of wood they use in the guitars, it sound like any older instrument could be a problem, as a musician is this really an issue or just hyped for the 24/7 news cycle? Maybe I should of posted this part on FB but since I was here. Hope you have a good weekend.


M said...

@Nihilix: thanks for that -- love and ttys. @Commeen: No, the Methadone is a painkiller, not a chemo drug. THe pain *may* be fading because of the work that the chemo drugs are doing, and if that's the case it should last at least while they're doing chemo. Hopefully I will not have to go on this drug again. Re: Gibson, I haven't seen the article, were they using criminally sub-par woods in their guitars? I would assume -- whatever it is -- that they haven't been doing it for 50+ years, but now I'm curious. There are some protected rainforest woods that the makers use legally (with some restrictions), that's all I can think of.

Nickster said...

He takes a blue pill
He takes an red pill
He takes a white pill
He takes a paisley pill
He sings the songs that remind him of the good times
He sings the songs the remind him of the better times...

M said...

@Colleen: sorry, my keyboarding is poor when sitting on the couch!

cmmastro said...

Glad to hear you are moving to your preferred Monday chemo schedule! That should make it a little easier.

colleen said...

it does have to do with protected woods, but the issue is that it applies to all not just those built after the law went into effect. Everyone is supposed tohave documention that thier guitar doesn't have banned wood. If you have a older guitar it doesn't exist and that could be an issue going thru customs. What exactly Gibson has done isn't too clear, but it looks more like a paperwork issue, or maybe they are importing banned wood.

Glad to hear you hopefully won't need the methadone for pain control, just reading about it was scary, much less taking it.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of banned wood in guitars, some woods are endangered, and are illegal to buy, I would bet that every guitar shop/maker/factory that's been around long enough has some old wood that was legal when it was bought but is now illegal to buy. But can you prove when you bought it?

Fish oil and some other supplements are supposed to help methadone withdrawal, I am sure you could find a list online easily. I can't imagine you were on it long enough to have too many problems. But do go slow! Good thing about methadone is it's got a really long half life, so that's better for withdrawal. It's also why you only had to take it every 8 hours, and people using it to replace their heroine addiction can take it once a day. Glad your pain is better enough to not need it any more!!


Deborah in MN said...

I agree that hate doesn't do any good. I'm politically and socially pretty conservative (makes me an odd duck in my birth family, but that's okay, makes life interesting) and I don't like all the hype and hate I see on both sides. Reminds me of when I was a kid in the 60s and teen in the 70's. It calmed down in the 80's and there was more respect and reason between both political parties. You probably don't think much of Reagan, but he's one of my heroes and he did a lot to bridge the gap. Sad it didn't stay that way, but that doesn't fill the political coffers. I'm both eternally naive and constantly cynical. I don't hate anyone, even if I get upset with them for doing wrong things. Hate serves the Devil and who wants to do that?
@M - still praying for you. I'm trying to wean myself off oxycodone. I am off the valium, but using a milder muscle relaxant. Not nearly so scary as what you're on, but I empathize.

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