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part eccentric ... part fun .... stubborn .. but not stuck up ... very open to different views, ideas and possibilities ... varied interests ... engineer ... mba ... trying-to-be-a-good-entrepreneur ... ex-software ... ex-quality ... ex-tobacco ... ex-alcohol ... trying-to-be-ex-cancer
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Monday, January 29, 2007

Jaws - Acne attack

Its been 12 days since I started on chemo. All this while I have been living in a room in the oncology/hematology ward. The ward has interesting rooms- a few of them have air filtration systems, few of them have "No Visitors" sign and at one end we have a marrow transplant room with quarantine area.

The patients are also interesting. They come from varied places- all corners of India, Bangladesh and there was an Afghan patient in the room next to mine. All of them look frail and weak, some have no hair and most wear a mask when they step out of their rooms.

I seem to be the odd one in this setting. I look fit(at least from outside), have hair (it will take a couple more weeks for the hair to go)and don't wear a mask (immunity hasn't come down yet).

This was making me feel like an impostor, a fraud, a non-serious patient- loafing around in a very serious ward.

All this feeling of guilt was washed away the moment first indications of being "on-chemo" showed up.

The first culprit was "Prednisone" (a synthetic glucocorticoid hormone). It is a daily oral medication and has been made me over-energetic and constantly hungry. Three days back it threw up some acne on my chest. By the time the doctors gave me an ointment,the acne had invaded my back too. Docs tell me that acne is a side effect i have to bear, that the ointment will give some relief, and that the acne will increase with time. Currently, the worst chest acne have become big and a couple have almost turned purple in colour.Thankfully the acne on the back have responded well to the ointment and are not causing much trouble. As a result of all the acne I have started bathing twice a day (which might come as a big surprise to many of you)

The other guilt reliever came with "Vincristine" (an anti-miotic agent), which was given in the second chemo. Vincristine has made my jaw muscle act funny- my first couple of bites (into anything even mildly hard) hurt, things get normal after the initial few bites. So now, i do a few dry run of biting and warm up my jaws before i sink my teeth into anything. This reminds me of ragging days at RECW- After a good round of thrashing and slaps the jaw muscles used to become so sore that we just couldn't chew on our food.

Now that i have had the initiation rituals and feel a part of the hematology ward, I wish that other membership prerequisites, of this exclusive club, are not too hard on me.