My life as a research subject

Did you notice I barely mentioned last week’s ultrasound? Dr. Blood requested it for Dr. Radi-O’s information when he sees me next week. I barely had to beg the ultrasonographer for the length of my spleen, perhaps because she was the only fully dressed person in the freezing room.

Portion of ruler with imperial and metric measurementsYes, my spleen is shorter, but not by much. At its worst, my spleen was about 23 cms; it’s now down to 20, a reduction of just over an inch for those who need the imperial translation. In other words, it’s still pretty darn big. I can’t tell you if it’s thinner because I don’t know how fat it was to begin with, just how long. Yup, I’m just like a guy, obsessed with the size of one vital organ. But I wish my organ were shorter, not longer.

I was sadly disappointed by this news. When I see Dr. Radi-O next week, I’m wondering whether he’ll view 3 cms as enough of a reduction to warrant another round of radiation. Radiation wasn’t a party, but the Radiators were very nice to me. Maybe I’ll even get to see my favourite, Salima, again.

Negligible shrinkage aside, I know radiation has helped. I didn’t realize how much my spleen was hurting until it wasn’t. I don’t know that I’m ready for tackle football yet, but I am in less pain. And although I still look pregnant, the baby doesn’t feel as big. The only negative is that my spleen isn’t pressing on my stomach as much. Hence my appetite is back with a vengeance.

I don’t know if my opinion matters here–I put my trust in my doctors–but I’d prefer another round of radiation to the alternative. What’s the alternative? A new chemotherapy that Dr. Blood has found quite effective with pregnancy fakers like me. So far I’ve been able to delay this drug trial. I just don’t want to add another medication to my daily regimen of 5 pills and two supplements; I have enough toxicity running through my veins, and my liver, as it is.

I’ve put off taking the drug by telling Dr. Blood that if we change two variables (radiation and chemotherapy) simultaneously in this research study of me, we won’t know what’s working. Will Dr. Blood will continue to accept my research-design argument when I next see her? That may depend on what Dr. Radi-O decides: if he nixes another round of radiation, I imagine I’ll be Dr. Blood’s research subject again. Truth is, maybe I’ll tolerate the new medication easily, maybe it’ll help more than radiation has, maybe I won’t experience any side effects, but I won’t know these things until I try it. I just don’t want to try it if I don’t have to.

I’d prefer radiation to a little pill once a day? This logic may seem crazy to you; it probably is crazy. But you’re talking to someone who rarely took Tylenol before my body went to pot. The first round of radiation wasn’t so bad, and it seems to have helped me. And if I don’t return for more zapping, I’ll never know if Salima still loves me. So many unanswered questions, so little time.


2 thoughts on “My life as a research subject

  1. What an eloquent post. I would trust your instinct when it comes to your body and care. You really do know what is best for you.

    I read this post with such concern and then came to the ending and you had me laughing out loud. How do you to that??!!! You really do have a talent. Whether you return for more zapping or not, I am sure Salima still loves you, as everyone you meet does. You really do shine. xo


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