So I have a new swear word: neupogen. New-puh-jinn. Picture me saying it with a snarl in my voice, spitting each syllable out like a bitter taste, every time you read it. No long, sweet, Southern, drawn-out vowels in this word. Neupogen. I hate that shit.
What exactly is neupogen, you ask? It’s a drug used to mobilize my stem cells. It makes my stem cells move out of my bone marrow and into my peripheral blood system (my blood stream). I give myself an injection of it twice a day. But that’s not the bad part. I’ve quickly grown used to the daily injections. They’re subcutaneous, on my lower belly, with a fairly small needle. I actually kind of prefer giving the shot to myself (especially rather than Bobby giving it to me – pretty sure he’d suddenly develop an interest in playing darts). No. What I hate about the neupogen is the side effect.
Actually, there are three major side effects of neupogen: nausea, fever, and bone pain. I’ve had very little of the first two. It’s the last one that’s driving me nuts. There’s an ever-present, generalized ouchiness that I can totally deal with. What’s driving me nuts is the way I’ll get a sudden, sharp, crippling kind of pain whenever I move. And I mean crippling literally – I walk around like Quasimodo for a minute every time I stand up. It’s kind of like being sore from a bone marrow biopsy every day. ‘Cause, you know, they drill a hole in your bone when they do that. Only imagine they are drilling holes all over. And because of what the drug does, my bones hurt every time my blood pressure or heart rate changes. Which is of course every time I stand up or sit down. And this is not one of those “you feel better after you get moving” kind of deals. So that’s frustrating. Which is why I say my new curse word is NEUPOGEN. Neupogen neupogen neupogen. Thankfully, though, I probably only have to keep taking it this week, and then I’ll be done with it until after the transplant. Then I’ll get to enjoy it some more.
Just imagine if it caught on as a swear word though…”Stay in your lane, you stupid son of a neupogen!” “Neupogen, Kristi, I told you not to eat all of my chocolate!” “Don’t you look at me like that, I brought you into this neupogen world, and I can neupogen take you out of it!” Okay, maybe not. But now you all know how much it sucks on behalf of chemo patients everywhere.
Well, now I feel much better, having vented! Except in my shoulder. My shoulder still hurts. And my teeth. But I’ll forget all about my shoulder when I stand up to walk around and get that awesome whooshing of blood out of my spine. (That’s a technical term, by the way. Whooshing. Totally happens.)
Anybody want to put on a production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame?” I’ll let someone else be Esmerelda, ’cause I’ve totally got Quasimodo in the bag!