My emotional baseline could only be described as ‘wound tighter than a clock with a chance of tears’. I could either tell you to fuck off and walk away or go grab a bag of Skittles and cry while I watch Jersey Shore reruns. One never knows. It’s a blast. Just ask my husband.
So, when my oncologist offered up the option of a short course of steroids to help with pain related to my desmoid tumor, I was a wee tad hesitant. I’ve had steroids before, many moons ago to help with a bout of bronchitis, and I remember the frantic feelings that came along with it well.
The discussion didn’t get past the first side effect, anxiety. Eh, no thanks. I have enough of that already. I’m good. But she assured me that if I changed my mind I was more than welcome to email her and she would call in the prescription for me.
After my appointment it was great to spread the news that my tumor has remained stable, but I was still left with the entire reason I made the appointment, pain. One of the possible reasons for my pain could be inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Steroids would most likely be a fairly simple fix to that problem. So, after hemming and hawing and massive google searches and my sister finally telling me to stop being stupid and just do it, I called the doc one day and picked up the pills later that afternoon. By that evening, let’s just say I was feeling a certain way:
The first night of sleep wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t spectacular either. Suffice it to say that night was pretty much like every other night of sleep I’ve had in middle age. The pain around my tumor and in my back was practically gone, though. Pain is something I’ve become accustomed to since my diagnosis. I’ve also had to grow used to a limited range of motion in my left hip since my surgery. So, the idea that I was able to do this after only one day of steroids was pretty damn mind blowing:
I know it probably doesn’t seem like much, but I haven’t been able to sit like that in over five years. Sitting like that has triggered back spasms for me so often that I have learned to not even attempt it. And it’s not like anyone my age needs to sit criss cross applesauce, but damn it feels good as hell to have a more flexible body.
The second night of sleep was hell. I am not even going to lie to you. I was up half the night, anxious and uncomfortable. Taking clothes off, putting them back on. I was either too hot or too cold, but always too miserable. I felt like I was hooked up to an IV feeding my veins an espresso/cocaine slurry. Light on the espresso. Heavy on the nose candy.
When I woke up on the morning of Day 3 I discovered my period had begun. That, in combination with the fact that I was smack dab in the middle of a course of steroids, most likely tore a hole in the time space continuum and may have led to the extinction of three species of birds.
But a mother always looks out for the safety of others before herself, so I marched into my bedroom to announce to my husband that he needed to flee. Take the child! Take the cat! Pack your clothes and leave the state! I have ROID RAGE AND I’M ON MY PERIOD! WHY ARE YOU EVEN STILL HERE? RUUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!!!!! The only sound after that was of rushing wind and the front door slamming.
Unfortunately for the family, due to work and school obligations, they had to return home on Day 4. Day 4 of steroids had me changing my shirt a minimum of four times. Too hot. Too cold. Too uncomfortable. Too constricting. My skin hurts. This color is pissing me off. Why the fuck do we even wear clothes? I felt loopy and flighty and scattered. Just like any other day, of course, but now it’s turned up to 11. But really, who the hell cares? This roller coaster ride is almost over and I am not in any pain.
Days 5 and 6 were fairly uneventful with one exception. I ate all the food. Every last bite. I ate my food and your food. I must have traveled to other nations while sleeping and taken all their food. There’s no more food left, people. It’s gone. So, I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I am going to live off the endless stores of fat I have accumulated over these 6 days. I am invincible.
Am I glad I decided to listen to my sister who borderline bullied me into this situation? Yes. The benefits far exceeded the side effects. Sure I was shaky and restless, I gained 85 pounds and could hear colors for a week, but I could move again. Stiff joints and muscles were loosened up and the pain from my tumor is virtually non-existent now.
I don’t know how long these benefits will last, but I’m thankful to have the weight of daily pain lifted from my shoulders for even this short amount of time. And I’m glad to have been given the offer by my oncologist. I’m thankful she listens. It’s nice to be heard. But mostly I’m just happy and pain free for a little bit. I have to say it feels pretty damn good.