Pain, Morphine, Steroids and Baseball, plus… Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Other Lame Duck Accomplishments!
Wednesday December 22nd 2010, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Leukemia, Liberty!, Sodapopcornculture

Another day, another day of feeling like I was hit by a truck. Well, I’ve never actually been hit by a truck and I don’t mean to offend anyone who has been hit by any sort of vehicle; this is just what I imagine being hit by a truck might feel like. What I know it feels like and can accurately explain from personal experience is being on steroids used to treat leukemia (not the kind of steroids baseball players are given with their hats and uniforms).

I remember the first dose of steroids I took as a chemotherapy drug. I had taken steroids before for sinus infections, but the amount I was taking to fight leukemia made the amount I was taking to fight sinus infections seem like SweeTarts. I remember being at home in bed when I first felt the effects of taking such a high dose of a glucocorticoid steroid (as opposed to anabolic steroids like the ones baseball players are given every time they’re “on deck”) I woke up and felt like I couldn’t move. I had taken dexamethasone (or maybe it was prednisone, a corticosteroid) the night before, had slept through the night but woke up feeling like I was bound with heavy chains to my bed. I called for help. My body just hurt too much to move and so my brain was saying, “don’t move!” It was scary.

I haven’t been on steroids since June 2009, when I had my third and final case of pancreatitis. I had been in maintenance for just over a year, and had been taking prednisone on a regular schedule that whole time. These steroids are particularly good at suppressing the immune system and they play a huge role in stopping leukemia, whose modus operandi is to take over white blood cells and replicate over and over. After that last case of pancreatitis, when I left my body to cruise around the universe for ten days, however, someone decided the risk vs. reward was too heavily weighted on the risk side.

As relieved as I was to be free from the pain, I was actually quite afraid to go off the steroids. They were the first maintenance drug I went off and I was scared, just as I was when I went off IT methotrexate even though it nearly gave me a stroke, that we were letting my defenses down. Frankly that still scares me. I try not to think about a sleeper cell of leukemia hiding in wait for all chemo to end and then repopulating my body because the defenses have been so compromised.

I got a bit off topic here. I’m tired and my eyelids are heavy, so I’ll try to pull this back to where I wanted to be. My intention in mentioning steroids was to explain how they made me feel and how I’ve felt that way several times in the past few months despite not having been on steroids for a year and a half. I am surrounded by, and filled with pain. Every joint, every bone, every muscle and sinew is crying out in agony. Once again, just like two weeks ago, Mom called the docs, who said to hold the oral methotrexate tonight since I’m in so much pain.

Pro: I won’t have that three to six day methotrexated feeling.

Con: Three maintenance drugs down mean that imaginary sleeper cell I fear gets another bye week.

I guess I should note that no doctor has ever indicated that they are worried about my lowered defenses allowing leukemia to create a plan, bide its time, and strike when my defenses are at their weakest. In fact, as I’ve mentioned in other entries, my oncologist has suggested (on more than one occasion) going off one or two other maintenance drugs, too. It’s been a very difficult run for me and I feel the more that can be done to make sure there’s not a recurrance, the better.

I really wanted this entry to be about morphine, but it keeps getting away from me and I really want to go to sleep. Here’s what I have to say about morphine tonight: when I feel like I do right now, like I’ve been hit by a truck carrying immunosuppressive steroids (as opposed to a truck carrying the kinds of steroids famous baseball players advertise on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel), the only thing that gives me any relief is usually morphine. I have been prescribed several narcotics for use when I feel I need them. Each helps in different circumstances, and in this particular circumstance, morphine is the only one that helps.

I don’t like taking it. Taking it makes me feel like a pariah. It makes me feels like I’m doing something bad. It feels like my oncologist wants me off of it. It feels like it’s associated with recreational and unnecessary drug use. It feels like giving a patient three kinds of narcotics to manage their pain at home where one bottle contains 90 pills, one contains 60 pills and one contains 30 pills creates the impression that taking three of one drug is the same as taking one of another. There are more reasons and things I want to say about morphine, but, quite honestly, I took some over an hour ago and it’s made me too sleepy to keep typing.

I’ll follow up with more thoughts about morphine and other narcotics at some point down the line. For now, I’ll just say goodnight.


Oh… wait… I’m adding this to the entry:

I should also mention how truly happy I am about the vote to phase out the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy from the United States’ military, the vote to support ratifying the START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and the vote (that should have been a no brainer all along) to adopt the Zadroga bill to help the surviving first responders of 9/11 by giving them money to pay for things like chemotherapy and radiation to fight off three different kinds of cancer in a single body. Great work, Mr. President and everyone else who positively contributed to making these things happen. I finally feel like some of the most important things to me have at least been heard. Not all the things, but it’s a good start, better late than never. If only net neutrality hadn’t been–


>>>>>> _

C0McASt & AT&T ARe 0UR >>>> NEW CYBER-OVERLoRDS AND ! WeLComE THeM W1TH AN 0PEN H3ART ANd AN >> OpEn WALLET >>>> 1000100011101011001 >>>> transmission complete… Ω


Now playing: CAKE – Let Me Go
via FoxyTunes

2 Comments so far
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Three points:
1) I hope your need for morphine magically disappears. Well, it doesn’t need to be magical. It just needs to disappear. That’s right,pain. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

2) Hooray for actual progress in politics. However long overdue they may be, its still cause for celebration that these changes will finally be implemented.

3) Down with the Cyber-Overlords! Down with the Cyber-Overlords! Oh,look. A taser. Down with…Ahhhh!

Well,that takes care of #35. Now the rest of you, open your wallets! You’re just gonna love our new on demand breathing package, because if you don’t, # 7 will put you in a choke hold.

Jokes on you, Cyber bastards. #35 is back. Feel better, Reid!

Comment by Krista Harris 12.23.10 @ 11:43 am

Thanks Krista. Fortunately, I can tell you exactly when my need for morphine will go away: when I’m no longer taking any chemo drugs in any manner and have allowed all the toxins to exit my body and let my system reboot. So I’d say definitely by July. Maybe by June.

I’m going to use this as a starting point for my entry tonight. It’ll be much shorter than this entry was.

Keep up the good fight! Neutrality!


Comment by Reid 12.23.10 @ 11:28 pm

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