Back On The Program

   Being back at home means that I must deal with reality and get myself back on the program. This means back into the clinics for blood-work and rolling up my sleeve for more vaccinations. There are also things to be handled around the house, and although I may not be the man I once was, the road trip has left me feeling pretty good, and I am capable of doing more than I could a year ago. So, over the last few weeks, I have started to demo the basement. It’s been a wet year and there has been damage that needs to be dealt with. I understand that this appears to be me making excuses for not writing anything recently, and well… that’s what it is.

I have started a new maintenance treatment for my Multiple Myeloma. “It’s what we’re doing now,” I was told by the doctor. That sounds reassuring, doesn’t it? Well, at least they’re trying something, and that something is a daily dose of a chemotherapy drug, called Lenalidomide. It’s a once-a-day capsule, that I can take with my opioids. Generally, it is not too much of an inconvenience. It does require me to do a monthly blood-test, talk to a doctor and because this is a “doing now” trial, speak to the doctor in-charge of the Cancer Care Pharmacy department, who reads to me the manufacturer’s disclaimer. Verbatim! It’s four pages long!! It’s mostly about having unprotected sex!! I’m sixty-one years-old and sick!! That makes me safer than any condom will!! Once the doctor has read me the disclaimer, and makes sure that I understand the possible side-effects, he then couriers the drug to my door. That’s right! To the door!! Pretty sweet, right?!!

The reason that the company running the trial are extremely concerned that I might mis-use their product and want to be sure that I understand what could happen to me or to the person that may give birth to my three-headed last-chance love-child, is to completely cover their asses should anything go wrong. It’s the ‘we told you so’ defense. The Lenalidomide also comes with the standard side-effects and I found myself holding the puke-pail three days after I started taking it. The joys of being alive. I’m a little more lethargic now, but far from comatose. This is a good thing when you have things to do.

   A week after my return I received my third COVID vaccine, which is actually the sixth time I have received a COVID vaccine. The first three got erased by my transplant, so I’m starting fresh. I have never had more than a minor reaction to any of the vaccinations in the past but this time was completely different. I woke up the day after and I was exhausted. My brain was in a cloud. So, I went back to bed. I’m retired! Four hours later I got up, had one cup of coffee, it did nothing to clear my head. I went back to bed. Five hours after that I got up and I was still in the same cloud. It was at this point it dawned on me that I had flu symptoms. It had been so long since I had had the flu that I had forgotten what it felt like. I’ve been taking my temperature every day for more than a year. I knew I had a slight fever that I usually get as a reaction to the vaccine, but when I checked it in the afternoon, I had a fever so bad that the digital-thermometer had gone to a red screen! I didn’t know there was a red screen!! I’ve never had anything but a green screen!! The thermometer was telling me to get my ass to the hospital!!! I ignored it because at this point I was pretty sure I was having a side-effect. I went back to bed. The next day it was gone. Head was clear, I was no longer exhausted and it was as if it had never happened and the thermometer had gone back to green. I must say that nothing breeds excitement more than an extreme side-effect, especially when you have a terminal illness.

Time to get back to my destructing of the basement, something that I am familiar with. It’s taking me days to do the work that only a few years ago would have been over in a day. There’s no urgency, since we don’t use the basement except for laundry and storing things we don’t use but can’t bring ourselves to discard. So, I can take my time and work at it in a pace I can handle. After all, I’m retired!




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