Where It’s At – Beck
On one deck, spins Christmas – presents, drinking, going out, staying up. I’m not a fan of novelty records, nor reindeer, nor turkey, but I love the family time, playing games and hanging out. On the B-side, New Year has always been good to me. This year, quietly. And then, spin the next disc, we’re into the winter season, kids at school, Marisa back to work. The discs stack up; seasons ahead; 2018 in a playlist.
Meanwhile, on the other turntable, I’ve found myself returning, more rapidly than I was ready for, to the Kingdom of the Sick. And this one’s definitely a long player. Painkillers have gone from occasional to regular. Symptoms I’d largely forgotten have re-emerged – most significantly in interrupted sleep; but also in rib pains and spasms, restricted movement, discomfort going from sitting to standing, fatigue and so on. I’m popping pills merrily: oxycodone, co-codamol, amitriptyline, adcal – up to ten a day. And I’m squaring up to the treatment I now clearly need. Today I sign the consents for “Myeloma XII”. Next week I’ll have a BoMB, and various other tests. Cycle one day one – my first dose of ixazomib, thalidomide and DEX – is probably just three weeks away. I am the first patient at King’s to go on this trial (though there are others, elsewhere, ahead of me.) It’s a phase III trial – we know the drugs work. But DrC reminds me today, in no uncertain terms, that he really doesn’t know what happens if one takes these drugs in the combinations they plan for me (particularly the “augmented” transplant part, if I end off being randomised for that).
I’m not doing a great job of mixing the two tunes. Their rhythms are too different, their melodies clash.
We hosted a pre-Christmas party, 24 hours after I’d changed my painkillers. Foolishly, I ignored the warnings on the label, forgetting that my tolerance levels would be low. Those who stuck around to the end – and my family who had to share the following day with me – saw how I messed that up. Just one visible demonstration of a deeper ongoing issue for me – I’m leading two quite disharmonious lives.
I’ve just two new year’s resolutions for 2018
1) Stay alive
2) Stop chewing my nails
So far, #2 is proving harder. But it’s peculiar – and not easy – to look at the year ahead and know that my doctors’ hopes for me, my family’s hopes for me, and my ambitions for myself are basically just to get through it. I’ll do my best to sync to the other deck, to participate in the lives of those around me, as I can. When I mess up, which I will, I’m sorry.
Pick yourself up off the side of the road, with your elevator bones and your whip-flash tones. Members only, hypnotizers; move through the room like ambulance drivers.