Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chemotherapy Leg Part 7

Taxol treatment number three today, in what is an extremely quiet chemotherapy ward. I was just chided by my nurse for using the word "quiet" because as we all know, if you talk about something, the exact opposite usually occurs. 

In addition to currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, I am also a type 2 diabetic. Unfortunately, that condition runs rampant through my family, and I was not able to escape its wrath. I was officially diagnosed almost three years ago, and was given medication to regulate my blood sugar levels. I attribute this condition to a number of factors: one, I have a long family history of it; two, stress and certain life events worked in concert to corrupt my health; and three, I have a serious penchant for things like cupcakes that look like hamburgers (not to mention other culinary delights). 

I usually never refer to myself as a "diabetic", mainly because I've been hearing that term all my life. For me it has a negative connotation; I watched my grandmother shoot insulin into her thigh when I was a child, and I had to listen to my mother recall on countless occasions how she "had sugar" (otherwise known as gestational diabetes) when she was pregnant with me. Jewish women of a certain age love to complain about their ailments, and I've heard my share of kvetching. I kvetch on occasion as well, but when it comes to "sugar", I'd rather not talk about it. 

The reason I'm making this confession today is because the medications I've been getting supplemental to the chemotherapeutic agents have wrought havoc on my sugar. Steroids are known to sweeten you up rather dramatically, and they certainly did that to me. As a result, my family doctor raised the dosage of my medication, and my oncologist reduced the dosage of steroids I'm getting before my weekly treatments. Hopefully, the adjustments will not leave me feeling chronically nauseous, and my glucose levels will drop. 

Diabetes is a notoriously fickle condition, requiring most people to constantly check their glucose levels. For me, that would be like stepping on a scale half a dozen times a day. I'm reticent to do it, much to my doctors' dismay, and I am prone to ingesting the occasional "treat" which certainly contributes to the fluctuations. Again, I have clear memories of the urinalysis sticks my grandmother used, and today, we have television commercials to advertise glucometers that pharmaceutical companies try to pass off as cool "gadgets" everyone needs, kind of like smartphones. Maybe my decision to simply pop pills and hope for the best is a bit of a head-in-the-sand approach, but I've got other plans for myself. I don't want to mention them at this time, because, as I said earlier, when you talk about something, the exact opposite situation might rear its ugly head. 

I could go on about how the American food industry is poisoning us with processed foods and the seemingly unavoidable inclusion of high fructose corn syrup in everything we love to consume. I am guilty of consuming more than my fair share of crap, and maybe it contributed to my present medical condition, but I'll never be sure. 

The only thing I can do now is deal with my present situation and work to make it better in the future. Breast cancer was a much more startling wake-up call, because I always thought I would be the one who wouldn't be stricken. Unfortunately, cancer, like type 2 diabetes, is ubiquitous, and in my case, a double whammy. I'm doing my best to fight both, and I am hoping to emerge victorious. 


1 comment:

  1. How frustrating! If you had one of these two problems to deal with, it would be more than your share. I think the good news about sweetened stuff is that, when you cut down on it, you can lose the taste for it. Fingers crossed for this narishkeit to leave you alone soonest!