Tuesday, May 7, 2019

DAY 066 -- "In The Bendy Place"

A return to the road to forever and a day today: back to my IV infusions, resuming an amended chemotherapy regimen, now minus the immunotherapy drug Keytruda (see Day Sixty-Five). On this leg of my relay race with me, we’re passing the healing baton to Carboplatin, Pemetrexed and countless social media well-wishes, prayers, attaboys and pagan dances.

Today I felt like a medi-pop upright bass player student intruder at the A Cappella Academy For Unwritten Notes.
Question: as a seriocomic aside, whoinhell NAMES these drugs? Answer: the drug companies who make them, of course, and they are “reluctant to share their strategies,” on how this is done.
Fact is, they pay big bucks to very smart consulting folks who are part wordsmiths, part sorcerers and part Dr. Frankensteins, to come up with them. It’s no accident that a drug name hits you subliminally and often just plain hard-headedly, by tapping into images and emotions the carefully chosen suffixes and prefixes provoke.
They use everything for these name-naming assignments as resources, from thesauruses to country kitchen recipe books.
Examples? “Flovent,” a respiratory (air) drug. Bring anything to mind, like “Flow” and “Ventilate”? Simple but genius, rolling off the tongue into your lungs and pocketbook.
Or, how about “Lopressor," a drug for hypertension. Again, brilliant simplicity. If your brain doesn’t hear “low pressure” when it sees that name, then you’ve never been squeezed by a sphygmomanometer.
Or, “Almotriptan” (a real drug used to treat migraines). You know it without knowing it: You almost got a tan on your last trip, if you’d only taken your anti-headache pill Almotriptan. (Okay, I’ll stop).

Meanwhile, back at my perception of reality:
Difficult venipunctures today, looking for a vein that didn’t roll or “blow.” The first four “little stings” did (we used to call them “little pricks” in the nursing biz but political correctness nipped that in its budness.).
They moved the insertion sites around, palpated, eyeballed, until the nurse settled on the antecubital space of my dominant upper right extremity (crook of my right arm in the bendy place).
See the trouble we get into if we get too far in medical-ese? Better to simplify, simplify again, and then oversimplify.
Doc says: My labs again “look great,” some flirting with too-highs and/or too-lows, including one the Doc expected, like my elevated but not yet alarming CRP (C-Reactive Protein).
An elevated CRP in the blood is “a marker for inflammation.” In my case, pointing to leftovers from my recent bout with “immune-mediated colitis,” still stalling in the wings, which almost did me in, surprising everyone but me when it didn’t. (See Day Sixty-Four).
This is one that will be monitored closely, along with any of the routine complete blood count levels that could indicate an infection and/or other somatic red flags as we go along.
Infusions completed, I left the unit feeling fairly fine, armed with new med order tweaks: alternate/titrate my steroids, continue with antibiotics, my home self-anticoagulant injections . … and then …
I went down one floor to Radiology for my lung CT scan. This image will be a comparative study on the change, if any, in that tumor since my last scan and through this delayed treatment regimen.
You’ll have to wait, as will I, results pending for Day Sixty-Seven, when we’ll also review the findings of the follow-up MRI for my brain tumor, due next week. Lots to know what we don’t know, and enough for now.
Let’s see, if those two scans were new drugs, I’d call them:
Vumorinit and Nomorinitatal.
(See what I did there?) View more in it? No more in it at all!
More as we go, Elflexital.

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