25 January 2008


Needle boy

I haven't written all that much about my cancer treatment recently, but that's not because things are winding down. Rather, it's simply grinding along as it has since mid-October. Every second Wednesday I go to the B.C. Cancer Agency, take some blood tests, maybe see my oncologist, and then sit in a chair for a few hours while various chemotherapy poisons are fed into my bloodstream. At the end, I'm hooked up through the same IV to a "baby bottle" of 5-FU chemo, which I take home and keep on for 48 hours.

Two days ago was one of those Wednesdays. In a way I'm lucky to have been an insulin-dependent diabetic since 1991. Needles don't bother me. That was good on Wednesday, because in the morning I took two different insulin shots, then had blood drawn for tests, then took some more insulin with brunch, then got plugged into the chemo drip, then had an atropine injection to avoid some side effects, then took more insulin at dinnertime, then took two more insulin shots at bedtime, then finished off with my daily blood thinner needle.

So what's that? Ten needles in one day, some to take fluids out of my body, others to put them in. Whew. And I'm not even counting the finger pricks I do at least four times daily to test my blood glucose. Lots of people don't get that many needles in a year. Today I get the bottle taken off, which is always a relief. (I can't get my chest wet while the chemo is on because of the needle taped to my body, so my Friday post-unhook showers feel amazing.) This will continue until at least late March.

If you met me on the street, other than my increasingly-scraggly hair, you'd be hard-pressed to know I was a cancer patient until I told you. Or unless I let you examine my fingers and inner elbows and chest for all the needle and lancet scars. So it's pretty hard for me to forget what's going on.

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