Every week I take a big handful of dexamethasone pills. It’s a multi-talented steroid that is assigned to work against my unhealthy B-lymphocytes. Being a good team player, it also offsets the side effects of the chemo agent, Velcade. I take the dex pills and get the chemo injection on Tuesdays. This is the fun and easy part of my treatment; no scary reactions to the antibody therapy nor long hours tied to the IV pole at the infusion center.
Before this part of the treatment got started, my docs – wonderfully straightforward and no b.s. — came right out and said, “Better warn your husband and friends that you may be more feisty, aggressive and easier to anger than usual.” OK. I’m pretty outspoken in normal circumstances…maybe getting more so, as a perk of growing up and being less concerned about pleasing everyone around me. “Dex” was going to be my conversational muse – inspiring and then letting me unleash a torrent of wicked comments, giving me an excuse for saying things that I would otherwise keep to myself.
On the Tuesday evening after my first treatment, I flattened my astonished husband. Took him out, took him down, and called him on some persistent behavior that’s bugged me for years. Amazingly, he realized it was the Dex speaking, and retreated after I’d unloaded on him. Wheweee! Score!! This was exhilarating, and on that evening, cathartic.
Dex is not all about the satisfying, energetic release of pent-up opinions. I’ve always been naturally wound-up, zipping around in fourth gear on most days. Until I was lucky enough to have the cancer thing going, I was using adult-onset ADHD as an excuse. That was a stretch. Thanks to lymphoma, I don’t have to look for other labels to explain why I am the way I am.
Dex doesn’t sleep, so neither do I.
This med makes everything accelerate. My words come out fast-forward. I dart around wherever I happen to be, charge up the hiking trail and drive faster than I should. It’s like I’ve popped four or five espresso shots. Or what I dimly recall feeling like after doing one too many lines.
Dex-fueled jitters turn otherwise easy manual tasks into heartbeat-raising challenges. Me vs. the meds! Try using a touchpad or keyboard when you’re vibrating at a high speed. Working at my desk becomes an aerobic activity. I swear it’s better than sweating in a gym.
You get what I’m saying. Or not, when it’s Dex Day. If you know me, stay clear. Dex, with its non-PC, blitz warfare Voice gets into the drivers seat. I rideshotgun, shocked and excited by what I’m saying to the people in my path. I’m not making this up. Here’s a recent email I sent to my daughter and a hiking pal who’s got lots of bandwidth for tolerating me.
“REMIND me to be locked up if I get Alzheimers and “think’ I am OK to do banking business. Had a 75 or so year old woman – who was horrific and OF COURSE in line in front of me at Wells Fargo.
I am exhausted. The energy drained as I tried really really hard to have charitable thoughts. I managed to limit my obnoxious behavior to eye rolling and head shaking at the teller who was trapped with her.
Thing was: she had a lazy, disinterested, flab-bag of a daughter who stood there and did NOT intervene. Let mom fiddle with bank cards, credit cards, family photos, trying to figure out what she had to give to the teller. Then mom had to decide how she wanted her $100 cash. (up her ass in my mind). Then she had to refold the bills 3 times. Zip and unzip her nylon purse again and again. And again.
As the line of customers grew longer.
JULIE: I cc’d you b/c of the above. If I slide off the mental cliff: keep me locked up. Or on a short, short leash.
LET me to tell you about last night’s cancer group meeting. It was a good meeting… but I got a revelation that there is a STATE LAW that is on the side of “service dog owners.” A director affirmed that lots of patients are really PISSED when they see a DOG in the infusion area. That’s right. Patients in heme/BMT with ventilator masks on — they might have the good fortune of being seated next to a “questionably certified” service pet. If they’re really unlucky, it’s a shedding dog or worse.
I ‘m on board with dogs for the visually impaired, as well as legit PTSD dogs. Hell! You spent a chunk of your growing-up years competing for my limited attention vs. the ever-present child-surrogate canines. This, despite your pet allergies. I’m usually all for dogs, right?
Everyone was gasping when we heard what was going on. This is not driven by the medical center. It is the State of California, where in most things civically-oriented, the TAIL REALLY DOES WAG THE DOG. If a neurotic Cat Mamma needed med care and wanted to bring her allergy-provoking, mewling, dander-bomb feline security blanket, she would just have to get one of those faux “mail order” Service Pet certificates. They come with pet-specific fashion accessories, too: designer neckerchiefs or North Face-y vests.
The med center staff has their hands tied. Can’t do a thing other than trying to convince the narcissistic spoiled needy bitches (human owners) to be treated in a private room, so faux service beast is confined. Evidently there’s been an incredible array of pets that owners insist are “service animals.” How about a SNAKE in a bag?!? We are not quite there yet. But it’s coming. I’m waiting for the day. You know I’m up to putting a Baggie filled with frozen mice in my bag, just in case I have to make friends with an escaped Service Serpent.”
Only fourteen weeks to go. If you’re my friend, don’t give up on me. I won’t be this crazed forever.
Although it is pretty exhilarating when the Voice of Dex speaks my mind.