Friday, June 21, 2013

Backflow Prevention

Cisplatin, the chemotherapy treatment I'm on, causes severe nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, another advance in cancer treatment in the past decade has been the development of very effective anti-emetics: drugs that prevent nausea and vomiting. I am on several of them and they are working quite well although not without side effects of their own.

Before the cisplatin infusion I was infused with Emend, which happens to be made by my employer. That is supposed to give me three days of nausea prevention right there.

I also took 12mg of Decadron (dexamethasone), a powerful steroid. This drug augments the effectiveness of anti-emetics. Interestingly, it is also used directly as a chemotherapy agent in certain blood cancers.

I was sent home with three prescriptions:

  • More Decadron to take twice a day for three days.
  • Reglan (metoclopramide) to take four times a day for 5 days.
  • Zofran (ondansetron) to take as needed for nausea starting on day four after chemo.

These drugs are working very well for preventing nausea and vomiting. I have had only small twinges of nausea. It's very counterintuitive, but I've learned that what helps when I feel those twinges is to eat something.

The side effects are a little strange, though. The Decadron makes me very jittery and either it or the Reglan makes me a bit loopy. I've never drunk a Red Bull and vodka, but this is what I imagine that must make you feel like. It's not very pleasant. But of course vastly preferable to the alternative of not having these drugs available and praying to the porcelain goddess.

The jitters make it difficult to concentrate on anything. I've barely checked work email this week. And it's the main reason I haven't written all week. I'm a little more used to it today. Today is the last day of the Decadron for this cycle so I'm looking forward to a non-jittery day tomorrow.

If you notice poor editing in these posts that lack of ability to concentrate is why.

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