Turns out 100 mg of Prednisone is pretty powerful after all. Thursday my dosage went back down to 20, and it didn't take long for me to start feeling the side effects of my Neulasta shot (that's the one that makes my white blood cell count higher and helps prevent infection).
Turns out the stimulation of white blood cell production happens inside the bone marrow, so that when new blood cells are being mass-produced, your bones throb. That hurt. Vicodin helped.
That fun experience also earned me a new nickname: Old Creaky Bones. I made it up myself. I like Old Creaky Bones, I think it's funny. And appropriate. I feel much older and creakier these days.
Ol' Creaky B is actually my second nickname. Annie started tossing around the first one scandalously early on, and now it has stuck. She calls me Fo' Stage. (As in Stage IV). Like, in a rap way. Like this-
Annie: "What up, Fo' Stage?"
Kia: "Not much, What up wit' you, No Stage?"
And that's pretty much it.
Now, Fo' Stage, AKA Old Creaky Bones, has a new mission. The goal is to replace as much of the weight I lost during the spleen invasion as I can, before the chemo (allegedly) gets harder, makes me sicker, and depletes me deeper.
Before I became symptomatic, I was a comfortable, healthy 134 pounds. By the time I got to California in mid-March, I was down to about 127. At the beginning of this week, my lowest point ever, I weighed 122.5.
Predictably, the parents started freaking out about it before I did. Major battles (er, negotiations) have taken place regarding the Cancer Diet I have chosen and it's effectiveness in helping me put weight back on and keep it there.
The thing is, I don't want my Cancer Diet to look any different than my pre-cancer diet. This means I wish to eat vegetables. And fruit. Organic meats. Quinoa. Avocados. Rice. Beans. Sweet potatoes. Broccoli. And lots and lots of cooked greens. (I mean, it's not like I never ate BLTs, chicken wings, Local Burger, or Roberto's Gluten Free Pizzas, but those were special weekend outings, not daily staples).
I may have spontaneously thrown all my misgivings about Western Medicine to the wind, but my nutritional principles will be harder to let go of. My body is ill. Should I not be feeding it the simplest nutrition it could ask for? Vitamin-rich, easily digested cooked vegetables? Protein-rich, hearty stews? Fresh green salads elegantly dressed with Flax oil?
Ironically, there are certain very opinionated parties living in my midst who believe that my pre-cancer diet isn't fatty enough to wage this uphill battle. Every day they practically beg me to go to In N' Out Burger and not come back until I finish a Double Double, Fries and a Milkshake. (See self-assigned art therapy drawing at top).
While I understand the importance of making every calorie count and packing on the heat as a kind of protective layer of future life support, I feel deeply doubtful that my great Cancer Redemption is going to come as a result of a fast food diet.
Most people get cancer and start eating healthier. I've been trying to stick to my guns here, but the cold hard truth is that avocados and cashews just don't seem to be laying it on as quickly as Shredded Beef Enchiladas with green sauce and cheese from Henry Salazar's might otherwise do.
Luckily, a compromise has been reached. A compromise that, like all good compromises should, involves pork fat. My parents and I were in the midst of yet another noisy, passionate disagreement about my weight and my wellness when it hit me. The fattiest, greasiest, yummiest thing I would be happy to eat day after day, right alongside my kale and flax oil. Bacon! Don't have to twist my arm there. Bacon for breakfast, bacon for lunch, bacon on the side with dinner. Whatever else it is I'm going to eat, I'll just have some bacon with it too.
Today's weight: 125. Moving back up the charts! Time to go see about breakfast.
(Fo' Stage and No' Stage)