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[cancer] Another tough night - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-02-03 06:00
Subject: [cancer] Another tough night
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
Massive and deeply unpleasant lower GI issues kept me up over two hours past my usual stupidly early chemo patient bedtime of 8 pm, and sleeping quite poorly. Going to be a rough day today, as that's two nights of lousy sleep in a row. I may be forced to use Imodium every night, which cannot possibly be good for my digestive health. Tonight I'll take a Lorazepam, which will be the first time in my life I've used a sleeping pill outside of severe medical distress.

Of course, severe medical distress is what continued lack of sleep will place me in, given the chemotherapy.

God, I hate this. Hate hate hate.

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fjm
User: fjm
Date: 2010-02-03 14:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was told that as long as you aren't harbouring an infection,immodium is safe. And to be honest, lack of sleep can be a lot more dangerous.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-02-03 14:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sympathy.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-03 14:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know. I will. Just... grr...
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shelly_rae: Are We There Yet?
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-02-03 19:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Are We There Yet?
grr, grr grr,.
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Mary Dell: mama
User: marydell
Date: 2010-02-03 15:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:mama
I'd hate to see what you'd consider severe medical distress, since cancer+chemo+GI flail isn't it. :) Sleeping pills are good, because lack of sleep encourages opportunistic bad stuff like respiratory infections. Lorazepam in particular may also help calm your innards, because it's sometimes used for IBS, which is similar in many ways to the GI drama you've described.

Sorry you had such a lousy night.


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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-03 15:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Heh. By "severe medical distress", I was thinking of immediate post-operative periods. Like after my abdominal surgery during the first cancer, in 2008, when I had to be flat on my back for almost two weeks and it took two adults to get me out of bed to pee.
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Mary Dell: mama
User: marydell
Date: 2010-02-03 18:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:mama
I think I would call that "incapacitated," which would be a step above "severe medical distress," if I was ranking them. And as I understand it, chemo is often harder on the body than surgery, even though it doesn't immobilize in the same way, so hitting the medicine cabinet for any relief it holds seems like the prudent move. Even if your brain is trying to spin this as just a normal case of "the shits kept me up half the night."

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-03 18:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In a word, yes. I am still adapting to this.
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Mary Dell: mama
User: marydell
Date: 2010-02-03 21:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:mama
Adapting very well, from where I'm sitting...I admire your mindfulness and flexibility. I'm sure you have moments where you don't feel particularly flexible, but you do seem to be making the necessary course changes and mental shifts quickly even when they upset you. Which can make a particularly big difference with cancer treatment (I haven't had cancer, but a couple of my family members have).
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-03 21:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a bitch. As you well know.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-02-04 00:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And I'm going to join marydell in suggesting Lorezepam. Anything that works for IBS is a winner in your current circumstance, dude, and you're justified in using better living though chemistry at this point in time. Srsly. One night is one thing. Two nights lost--time to hit the meds.
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markbourne
User: markbourne
Date: 2010-02-03 15:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Have you tried sleeping to music? When I was in the ICU, Elizabeth found that classical guitar via my iPod and external speaker setup kept me restful and asleep. Under normal circumstances that wouldn't work, but there and then, when circumstances were far from normal anyway, it worked like a charm.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-03 15:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Can't sleep to music. Don't mind noise, but music is too organized, catches my attention.
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The Empress of Ice Cream
User: icecreamempress
Date: 2010-02-03 15:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you for all of the good work you have been doing in explicating the latest publishing imbroglio, especially in the light of what you're going through right now.

I wish you an easier patch ahead.
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scarlettina: Hug 2
User: scarlettina
Date: 2010-02-03 15:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Hug 2
I won't repeat what everyone else has said; they've said it very well and I agree. Mainly, I offer support from afar, am glad to hear you're willing to use the help available to you, and hope you have an easier night tonight.
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madrobins
User: madrobins
Date: 2010-02-03 16:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Um, Jay? Chemo and its discontents sounds to me like it's grandfathered in under "severe medical distress." Take the damned Lorazepam. You need as much sleep as you can get.
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User: beth_bernobich
Date: 2010-02-03 16:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:balloon heart
*gentle hugs*
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markbourne
User: markbourne
Date: 2010-02-03 17:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Agreed re those who recommend prioritizing sleep regardless of how you get it (well, short of a bottle of gin and a clown mallet to the ol' bean, of course). Sleep is as vital to recovery and restoration -- mental, physical -- as the meds and good health practices. You know that, naturally, but (again, from my own experience) sometimes acting on it is such a downshift from one's standard operating procedure that it's too easy to overlook sleep's necessity and benefits.

Can't address the massive GI issues beyond being grateful for my own reduction of the magnesium megadoses necessary during the Dark Times. And saying "this too shall pass" just seems wrong, albeit nonetheless irresistible, in this context. But I can recommend the Lorazepam/Ativan, as that's what they used to keep me asleep for weeks straight. Your dose will be an order of magnitude lower, of course, but the stuff works. And if you have dreams like I did, you will have fresh and freaky story material for the next year.
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Judith Agrathea
User: agrathea
Date: 2010-02-03 17:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey Jay. I'm sorry you are having it so rough. I know that you are a healthily skeptical person, so acupuncture may not be something on your radar as a plausible aid to your condition. But I've heard from other women who have had breast cancer and went through chemo that acupuncture is the main thing that helped them get through the symptoms. A friend who had a pinched nerve that caused her excruciating pain for months and couldn't get the insurance to cover the medication she needed was able to get a day or two of relief at a time thanks to acupuncture treatments. It could be that your insurance wouldn't cover it and it's simply not an option for the pocketbook, too, but I thought it worth bringing up again, because I think you'd be surprised at the results. It probably won't get rid of symptoms entirely, of course, but I bet it would improve them. Specifically on the GI front, I have some really bad GI issues that have plagued me most of my life... For awhile I couldn't afford my favorite acupuncturist, so I went to the community acupuncture once a week for $25 a pop, and I noticed a definite improvement in my regular GI issues. I would go through those weeks with very few instances of getting sick from my usual trouble foods, compared to my usual regular stomach upsets. (Of course, I should have stayed off the foods altogether, but I am weak when it comes to cheese and bread.) One weekend I had a very intense menstrual cycle that gave me hot flashes and other extremely uncomfortable symptoms... Again, the acupuncture is the only thing that put me back on track. I literally went in with agonizing pain and discomfort, and came out breathing easy and completely back to normal.

Because I was curious about backing up the anecdotes with some evidence, I found the following articles to share with you:

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Acupuncture_Reduces_Side_Effects_of_Chemotherapy.asp

http://www.nyctcm.edu/acupuncture-tcm-blog/2009/06/acupuncture-helps-chemotherapy.html

http://www.providence.org/Oregon/Health_Information/Ask_chemo_acupuncture.htm

The main treatment that seems to bring the best results for chemo seems to be electroacupuncture, based on the above articles. I do know a person who works at the Hawthorne Wellness Center who does electroacupuncture, though I have never worked with her, she is a lovely person who I am sure would be great to work with. I have a very talented acupuncturist that I go see whenever I can because she is so good, but she is near the 283 exit from I-5, a bit too far out for most, but she has a loyal following for her wonderful bedside manner and undeniable talents. Community acupuncture is generally the most affordable, and I have noticed results, though I feel like more focused attention has more benefit.

Because acupuncture is becoming so mainstream, more and more insurance companies are covering it. Though hearing of your battles, I don't know for sure that you'd have an easy enough time to make it worth it. Sessions can generally cost $60-$120 out of pocket, depending on who you see and on the type of treatment.

Forgive me if this is unwanted information, but I thought it worth taking an extra opportunity to share the information I have with you in hopes that it could possibly help mitigate your pain and improve your sleep.
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randy_smith2
User: randy_smith2
Date: 2010-02-03 18:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You have my sympathies.
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Paul Haines
User: paulhaines
Date: 2010-02-03 20:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hang in there, Jay. The dexamethasone (the steriods) I was on for nausea destroyed my sleep patterns completely. When I came off chemo at the end of each week (which also meant coming off anti-nausau pills and the dexys). I'd sleep most of the entire weekend.

I start a new clincial trial today for my cancerous maladies. Back into a chemo lounge for the first time in over a year and a half. Just the thought of this makes me feel ill.
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Jay Lake: cancer-do-not-want
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-03 20:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:cancer-do-not-want
Oi, good luck with that.
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User: quantuminsanity
Date: 2010-02-03 22:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know others have already said it, but I feel compelled to try to tell you I'm pretty sure chemo can be counted as severe medical distress....

Good luck! I know how awful it can be when you can't sleep for long periods of time.
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Cliff: Mordred armor
User: obadiah
Date: 2010-02-03 22:36 (UTC)
Subject: Heya
Keyword:Mordred armor
Just a quick note to say I'm thinking about ya.

Hope you feel at least a little better soon and that you emerge from this frustrating and annoying journey in health and renewed strength.
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suelder
User: suelder
Date: 2010-02-04 01:00 (UTC)
Subject: Alternate to Imodium
We stumbled on this years ago - BLACKBERRY BRANDY.

No, really. I've found documentation that they used blackberry juice (which is really hard to find on the east coast) to treat dysentery during the Civil War.

Just a jigger of blackberry brandy shuts things down and works fairly quickly. If you don't want to use Imodium (and I don't blame you), get a bottle of Blackberry brandy and try it as a cordial.

http://chestofbooks.com/food/beverages/Adulteration-Origin/Blackberry-Brandy.html

Suelder
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-04 02:22 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Alternate to Imodium
That is worth a try. Thanks.
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