My €6,000 E. coli Injection
Due to worsening side effects, I have been upgraded from my usual three-weekly €1,000 Lonquex injection to a Neulasta injection. Upgrade cost: approx. €5,000.
Just letting that sink in.
You can imagine I was even more fearful of messing up this injection than my previous ones. So I read the accompanying information leaflet very carefully.
This is what it said:
"Neulasta contains the active substance pegfilgrastim. Pegfilgrastim is a protein produced by biotechnology in bacteria called E. coli. It belongs to a group of proteins called cytokines and is very similar to a natural protein (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor) produced in your own body."
This is what my brain processed:
"E. coli! WTF!? E-frikkin-coli! That's practically Ebola, isn't it?! Something to do with dead chickens, anyway ... (Must pay more attention next time there is a food scare) ... Quick, what are the possible side effects...? ... Bone pain, nausea, headaches, rash, inflammation, fatal spleen rupture... Fatal spleen rupture!? ... Nope, just a big fat noperoony to that."
I looked online to see if anyone in a forum had reported that they had died from the injection. Some said they had become very unwell upon learning the price but no actual dying.
Then a breakthrough. Further online research revealed that I have E. coli inside me already. We all do. It lives in our intestines. (E. coli contamination in meat is often caused by slap-happy work practices in industrial slaughter houses. I shall not expand on this further. You probably get the idea.)
You have to marvel at the mind(s) that figured out they could use gut bacteria to produce a substance that would stimulate white blood cell production. You probably deserve to charge €6,000 a shot if you can do that. After all, what price a human life? (No doubt my healthcare insurer will provide me with an itemised breakdown when this is all over.)
Executing a bladder evacuation procedure (BEP) correctly can be difficult when your brain is lost in chemo fog (CF). It can affect your targeting accuracy (TA). It's very embarrassing when it does, but easily fixed by a slight adjustment of one's urine delivery mechanism (UDM) for the remainder of the operation. The resulting consequences can be kept to a minimum.
Regrettably, my advanced stage of chemotherapy means I have progressed to a more complex problem.
Not only is the chemo messing with my accuracy, but it is also causing temporary malfunctions of the UDM altogether.
Sometimes the UDM is positioned perfectly for accurate delivery (we're talking bullseye here), yet the U exits at an angle, resulting in a puddle several feet away from the mission target zone (MTZ).
One time, the UDM even fired directly at me, for which we use the acronym WTF.
Also, the UDM will sometimes send a clear delivery completion signal (DCS) when, in fact, delivery is still ongoing (DSO). The consequences of receiving a DCS in a DSO situation are beyond polite description (BPD).
Cancer is hell.
Losing Things: Strength & Motion
I have been in bed since 2nd May. There are statues that have moved more than I have in the last three and a half months.
The effects of my inactivity are hitting home. A couple of weeks ago, my legs buckled on the first step of a flight of stairs. I was only able to prevent myself from collapsing into a heap thanks to some improvised limb wrangling of the highest order. The Ministry of Silly Walks would have given me a full grant on the spot.
Standing up has become a challenge I only embark on if the need is deadly serious. Like when I need to perform a BEP.
My arms and hands are in no better condition. Gripping a cup of tea is like holding a bar of lead.
I have become a weakling.
On top of that, I have lost the full range of motion of my fingers. It makes touch typing an umtigated nightomaer.
Range of Motion Comparison (Left and Right Thumb)
The range of motion in my right hand is especially limited. I can barely give a thumbs up.
Fortunately, more critical finger gestures remain unaffected. Mind you, I'm not driving at the moment, so that's a moot point.
Almost at No Hands Bridge
Some time between 14:00 and 18:00 on Saturday 1st September, the final drop of chemo will enter my body. I shall have finished my scheduled treatment.
That moment is only two weeks away.
My body will be crushed. I'm hoping Hercule will be too.
One of the iconic 100-mile foot races is Western States. The final aid station is at No Hands Bridge, 3.2 miles/5.1km from the finish line. I feel like I can hear the rock music they are playing at the aid station in the distance.