Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Better Living through Chemistry

I was never a drug user. Nothing more than a Tylenol here or there. In fact, I was crap at taking pills. When I broke up with my boyfriend in college, I threw my birth control pills out the window. (that may have had more to do with the fact I hated sex with him, but that's a story for another day...) I've never been able to take vitamins. I did have a brief affair with Flintstones, but they were so chalky especially the purple ones. When I worked on ships, when everyone thought that buying prescriptions of Xanax in Cozumel was a good idea, I took a pass. Even more so when they chased a few with some vodka. (Seriously, it's amazing any of us made it to 30) I have never been offered so much pot as when I was in treatment. I swear, I had no idea so many people had "someone they could hook me up with." The idea of putting a hot, smelly bowl in my mouth when I already felt like puking wasn't my bag. Although some have told me maryjane got them through treatment... good for them. I missed out, I guess.

Because of cancer, I did have to make friends with pills. Pills before chemo, pills for 3 days after chemo, pills "as needed." Pills for pain, pills for my nausea, pills for my pooper. I got better at taking pills. I even threw back a couple at a time. In the beginning, Alan would laugh at me as I made faces and occasionally spit pills back up. He's one of those guys who can take pills with no water. Not me. I need flavor in my chaser. I eventually became friends with my pills. I learned that drugs were my friends. God gave us modern medical science for a reason. And pharmaceuticals. I learned to embrace cancer as my excuse to ask for medication when needed.

One of the cabinets in my kitchen is known as the "Magic Cabinet." Feeling anxious? Take an Ativan. Nauseous? Compazine. Pain? Norco or vicoden or percoset? I have all three. Trouble sleeping? Have an ambien. What about hot flashes? Effexor. I am my own one-woman pharmacy.

I now look forward to my minor medical procedures as chances to enjoy the wonders that are anaesthesia. Bring on the port removal, the colonoscopy! Twilight sleep? Yum! Ooh, I'm getting sleepy. I feel like I've had 6 martinis. When someone tells me they are taking this new med, I say, "Ooh, I love that shit." Or they're going in to get their port put in... "Versed. Get the good stuff!"

I currently take 3 pills a day. And another "as needed." More than I actually took some days during active treatment. Eventually, I may not need these pills. Until then, I'm going to take my drugs. Think of it as all the bad behavior I never displayed as a young adult. (I had pelnty of other vices, don't worry.) Only this time, I get to do it with a doctor's prescription.

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