Sunday, January 3, 2010

Just a spoonful of sugar

I used to be so timid when it came to taking medicine. Ingesting so much as a single aspirin was something I would avoid at all costs.

Getting an HIV diagnosis helped me overcome my drug phobia pretty quickly. Since the early '90s I've been taking a few AIDS treatments at a time, until they stop working, and then I have moved on to a new combination.

In 2009, with my cancer diagnosis, my drug experience exploded. Now, I take more than a dozen medications every day, and I have a handful of others that are ready for me whenever I need them. All of my drugs are lined up on my coffee table, along with a variety of syringes I use to pump the meds down my G-tube.

I'm no longer taking anti-cancer medications. The three that I tried —carboplatin, Erbitux and radiation therapy— all failed for one reason or another.

If one of them worked as reliably as Sorbitol I might not still be adrift at sea on the S.S. Cancer. Sorbitol is intended to treat constipation —caused by another one of my meds— and if I'm not already sitting on the can when I pack Sorbitol into my G-tube, there's a good chance that I'm not going to get there in time.

My hospice physician last week prescribed Lorazepam after I complained about not getting a full night's sleep. Lorazepam also works —it's probably too effective, in fact. After waking up at 6 to read the newspapers and to take my medicine, I've been crawling back into bed and sleeping till 11.

A friend suggests cutting the Lorazepam tablet in half but as it is it's about the size of a grain of salt.

I'm not crazy about padding about the apartment in my jammies till noon so I'll bring this up with the doctor when I see him again.

What I really would like is to see the quality of anti-cancer drugs improved. It doesn't look like that's going to happen in my lifetime, but I hope it does in yours.

1 comment:

  1. Paul I don't know if you remember me, but it's Coleen Johnson. I worked with you at APLA for a time. I am sorry for your troubles..... I have cancer also, but not so serious. You do have a terrific blog (what I've read so far... ) Sending you warm wishes.