Caprice de Dex

I’ll be frank and say that part of me doesn’t want to write this blog right now: on the ever-changing kaleidoscope of steroid-fuelled moods, I’m currently passing through a spot of ‘irritable’, ‘grumpy’, ‘rage against the machine’, all inside my head. Which means doing anything is a bit irritating, even this. 

Then again, I do want to capture some of the madness: for me to look back on in the future, for those of you burdened with taking Dex too, and equally those of you burdened with me/ your own friends or relatives on it. And I do want to feed you your pellets :-)

Taking a step back, I do find it weirdly fascinating how many mood changes and personality shifts I go through even in a day on this drug. The fun bit is that it’s like having fleeting insights into what it’s like to be someone else: ‘Oh so THIS is what it feels like to be a morning person/ energetic person/ feisty person/ angry person/ unfiltered rude person/ massively efficient email inbox person/ permanently upbeat person, assertive or aggressive person etc etc’. Maybe I will have renewed tolerance and empathy… Imagine feeling like this all the time! (Although nobody usually has to switch between so many types at such a rate of knots as a Dex-head does).

I don’t know quite how to describe it, other than I’m in permanently in some state of chemical alteration from the cocktail I’m on. I can taste it in my mouth, feel it when I breathe, feel it in my head. But various different elements seem to rise up and down willy-nilly, so it’s like being on some permanent drugs binge (I imagine), yet one where you’re not controlling the inputs.

The potted summary of Days 1-4 on Dex (i.e. Days 2-5 of my first cycle – 5 days down already!) is as follows:

Saturday – as previously noted, quite ‘up’ and busy-headed. Didn’t get to sleep till 9am Sunday morning (and it doesn’t just feel like ‘normal’ insomnia, it’s really a whole different kettle of head-fish, apparently due to acting on some receptor in your brain which is like the brakes – so your head just keeps going… and going… and going…). Lay in bed rather than got up and did anything, but never remotely close to sleep, despite feeling increasingly physically rough. Where’s that head ‘off switch’ when you need it? At 9am having cancelled my first plans for the day I fell asleep deeply, felt pretty good from 1130am when I woke,  and then had a lovely day and evening with friends, out with half of London Town in the first proper spring heatwave day of the year.

Sunday night – Slept like a log, no assistance needed (I hadn’t yet picked up sleeping pills).

Monday – woke up really groggy-headed (maybe the T drug kicking in, or the sleep deficit from the night before). Felt still fairly happy/ hyper mood-wise. Realised that combination of groggy + hyper basically = drunk. Wondered how that might work if I were in the office – but luckily I didn’t have to go. Worked from home in a slightly groggy way for the morning, had afternoon in hospital for velcade etc, with lovely friend, got home and stuffed my face (in fact stuffing my face just happens at regular intervals on Dex, just take it as read). Drunkness gradually turned into alertness in the evening. Felt wired and decided to delete all my unread emails in my work inbox at top speed. Felt physically shattered but didn’t sleep naturally so took sleeping pill – magic.

Tuesday – felt fairly fine after waking up at 645, not drunk. Phew. Had a busy, long and full but fine day at work, probably about double my usual output as fast-talking helpfully translates also into fast typing and more than usual decisiveness. Quite handy. On the other hand, I noticed just from the 5pm point or so that the inner ‘roid rage was spontaneously brewing in my head: e.g. a colleague Z and I got into a lift which turned out to be occupied by the Top Person in our organisation and a colleague. ‘Going up?’ ‘Yes’ etc. Z nicely banters that we are just going up one floor, very shocking. Top Person makes some worthy and dry comment about figures on lifts in the building or something (which on a good day I’d probably have just seen as a nice attempt at banter, not always a given in our senior management, ahem). At that moment on my dexacoaster, my inner voice shouts ‘F+*k off I’m on chemotherapy and have a titanium pin in my leg and it’s the end of a long day’. Thankfully it was a silent inner voice, at least until I got out of the lift and muttered it to Z. I don’t think that’s what’s meant by the ‘elevator pitch’ for advancing your career. Hopefully it wasn’t written all over my face. I’m glad it was only one floor or it might actually have come out… (That lack of filter I was telling you about before!) Day ended with rare work social in the pub, so a nice day to be in the office. No booze for me obviously but plenty of cheesy chips and Nachos were on hand to feed the Dex-monster so, well, that probably helped suppress the irritation long enough to get me home without insulting anyone.

So there you go. I don’t know really how or whether that conveys anything at all about what it’s like, but that’s what you’re getting for now.

Tonight sleep may still be elusive (as I took Dex at 645am today, relatively late) but I have a brief reprieve in that there’s no Dex tomorrow or Thursday. Unfortunately, this may mean that my emotions may then be on a hair-trigger trip-wire to ‘tearful’ or ‘gloomy’ rather than ‘angry’ and ‘feisty’, which may be a little harder to deal with. Then again, I haven’t had this pattern of Dex before so I don’t know that: it may be that I’m fine for the first two weeks with the Dex pulses and the big black hole is in week 3. As I’ve said, at this point I’m still ‘flying blind’ more or less but I’ll have more idea after the first full cycle.

Oh, and I do want to acknowledge one of the silver linings of Dex: pain reduction. I’ve definitely noticed this already, and it’s really helpful. A less weary achy body does help to compensate for a bonkers head. It ain’t all bad.

Yours, mercurially,

Helga the Grumpy-Great!-Greedy-Grrr- (etc, ad infinitum…)