Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shingles



I know. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. By the way, I hate that word “blogged.” Maybe that’s got something to do with it.  I’m not a “blogger.” I mean, I don’t want to be a “blogger.” But here I go. My apologies if you’ve been waiting or wondering.  It’s been quite month.  And I haven’t felt much like blogging.

I’ve started new maintenance treatments.

Along with my weekly dose of Erbitux that gives me pimples like a teenager, I now take 150 mg of Thalomid (thalidomide) every day that make me feel like shit.

On top of that I’ve got shingles.

For those of you who don’t know what shingles are, I’ll tell you.

Shingles is a skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. After an individual has chicken pox, the virus lives in the nervous system and is never fully cleared from the body. Under certain circumstances, such as emotional stress, immune deficiency from chemotherapy for cancer, or AIDS, the virus reactivates, causing shingles.

They are incredibly painful!

So, other than the pimples, feeling like shit and the shingles, all is well.

I know some of you are saying, Isn’t Thalidomide the drug that caused birth defects back in the fifties and sixties?  It is.  But they’ve found a number of other good uses for the drug. In the States, we don’t take advantage of it, but in Germany it’s part of the maintenance-- or preventive-- treatments. This is what the doctors at The Klinik told me and why it’s important that I take it. 

Cancer cells that are active in the blood have an inflammation that surrounds the cell. Thalidomide removes the inflammation from around the cell then the cell dies. I do this until the second week of January. 

Then they’ll take my blood and check it for micro cancer cells.

If it’s clear, I’m done with treatments.

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