Day +3759: Tell me, why’d you have to go and get me so constipated?

”’Cause right now I’d do anything to just get my bowels evacuated.
In the bathroom.
I sit and I wait and I strain and I sweat and I clench and I feel the pain.
Oh, Should I take laxatives of get my colon irrigated?”

3/16/2021: First, a big thank you to Michael for writing last week’s blog after my telling him, “I just don’t feel up to writing – I’ll do an update next week when I can be more positive and upbeat instead of whining and complaining.” There is nothing fun about chemo but at least he’s generally entertaining even when writing about bad stuff. Little did I know my attitude would continue spiraling downward. TMI warning: you may want to jump ahead to otolaryngology.

There are things I don’t care to discuss and typically no one wants to hear about – politics, religion, and the “big C”- no, not cancer…CONSTIPATION. After days of pure misery and consuming a myriad of pills, potions, powders, fibers, and oils, I experienced many disappointing bouts of intestinal cramping with mad dashes to the bathroom that brought to mind the old toilet graffiti: “Here I sit broken hearted, had to shit but only farted….” Then when the desired moment finally arrived at 1 a.m. Monday, I sadly didn’t get there quite fast enough. And then as I sat on the commode with a huge feeling of relief, I vomited, so suddenly and unexpectedly that my entire undigested dinner landed on my feet as well as on the cat dishes, a couple of rugs, and the side of the bathtub. Now that I’ve said way too much already, I’ll end this sad tale by saying Michael truly deserves sainthood after taking care of me and my huge mess.

”When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad…”

Moving right along, you may recall that I sometimes lightheartedly refer to my Vidaza injection sites as “bee stings.” This photo gives you an idea of what I mean (the spots look worse in person). Now imagine having 15 of these over a five day period every month plus having the prior month’s sites reawakened with the new shots. The injections themselves aren’t bad but the aftereffects can be miserable, akin to being stung by a swarm of hornets. Fortunately, I’ve learned that prophylactic Claritin on treatment days helps bring the overall itching down to a tolerable level. I was also taking oral Benadryl at night but it seemed to exacerbate the constipation issues as well as giving me an antihistamine hangover; Benadryl cream offers some relief. Overall itching continues into the middle of the next week post treatment and gradually disappears once the sites start peeling.

Given the aforementioned woes, along with the general malaise that Michael mentioned and a very painful ulcer on the side of my tongue, I’m very happy and grateful to report that because my leukemia is in remission again, I get to take a break from chemo for as long as my monthly blood counts remain stable. No one, including my doctors, can predict how long this will last but we are focusing on the positive and hoping for a lengthy respite, be it measured in months or possibly years.

Otolaryngology

”And my words don’t sound like they should
So soft then they slowly turn to wood
I look down to only remember
I got splinters on every single finger from
Holding back my tongue…”

Wow, it was a bit of a challenge finding a tongue song that wasn’t about oral sex!

After a couple of postponements due to Covid-19 and weather, I finally saw my otolaryngologist for my annual checkup today. It’s always a pleasure seeing her despite the minor discomfort of the through the nose scope to check my throat and base of tongue (which looked great). Despite our rocky start, she and I bonded years ago over our mutual cat craziness. Since my base of tongue surgery in 2012, the left side of my oral tongue has developed a bulge. While examining the ulcer last week, I noted a more pronounced bump. After much poking, probing, and pinching, Dr. G pronounced the lump was soft and not concerning, most likely a swollen vein that required no intervention. She said I could get an MRI if it would offer me more peace of mind but she felt confident that there’s no sign of malignancy. I declined the MRI for now with the assurance I could reconsider at any time if anything changes. I might since she was able to feel some nodes in my neck today that she said could be related to my MDS/treatments. Barring any other issues, I’ll see her again in a year.

Until next time…remember no news means good news if we fail to post. Boring is good. Life is great!

xoxo,
Karen

p.s. Don’t forget to identify three songs this post.

4 Comments so far

  1. Great news on your treatment.
    And, I have kids so the story isn’t too bad. Michael is a keeper.
    I’m guessing the first song is a Weird Al cover of Avril Lavigne’s Complicated. Thats the tune in my head as I read it.

  2. Heather on March 16th, 2021 at 6:49 pm
  3. I love the song choices but will have to look them up 🙂

    I’m so sorry you aren’t/ weren’t feeling well.
    I truly hope you’re feeling better as of now. I know I would be crying my eyes out if it was me. Sending all my love to you.
    Laura

  4. Laura on March 16th, 2021 at 7:11 pm
  5. All I can say Karen is bless your heart.

  6. Kathleen on March 16th, 2021 at 9:16 pm
  7. And the 2nd song is “My favorite things” from the Sound of Music.

    Of course, being a Weird Al fan, I prefer the covid version better 🙂

    My Favourite Things – Covid-19 version

  8. Mike K on March 17th, 2021 at 12:52 pm

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