Thursday, September 08, 2016

Immunity Idled

I finished the second round of my resumed cancer therapy today. The first treatment went well resulting in only one of the potential side-effects, mouth sores. I probably exacerbated the problem by eating pizza with banana peppers, jalapeno poppers and chewing cinnamon breath mints the day before I realized what was happening. What can I say, I love spicy foods! I’ll try to be more responsible this time and stick to chocolate pudding and cottage cheese…bleah. I’m also surrounded by people coughing and wheezing with what appears to be the flu. Since the cancer therapy compromises my immune system, I’ve been hibernating in my bedroom, only venturing out wearing a face mask and wielding a spray can of Lysol disinfectant spray.

You’ll recall that I had a vascular access port installed back in April to avoid the repeated poking of my hands by well-meaning nurses taking blood samples. Well, to paraphrase Robert Burns, best laid plans oft go awry. Last week the first home care nurse to visit me tried three times to access the port, then tried my hand. No blood resulted. The next day they sent a second nurse. She tried twice to access the port and ran out of the special needles required…they ran through a month’s worth of supplies in two days. The second nurse did succeed in painfully getting enough blood from my hand.

Today I asked the nurse doing the cancer therapy if they could leave my port accessed since I’m scheduled for another blood sample tomorrow by the local home care nurses. After looking at the port site, the nurse was horrified. There was still a significant mark where the two home care nurses had tried to access the port last week. Worrying about the possibility of infection or potential damage to the port, she contacted my oncologist and got the okay to take a blood sample while I was there. They also said they would be glad to do it for me in the future to avoid more problems. Sounds good to me, I just need to clear it with my family physician and the home care folks.

Some of you may know that I like to use Photoshop and participate fairly regularly in online contests. While I try to be a “model Christian,” occasionally a funny idea pops into my brain that is a bit irreverent or somewhat risqué. I struggled with this for a long time. I love to make people laugh, but I don’t want to be branded as a “dirty old man” either. Being a deacon in the church just made matters worse. If some of the more conservative members of the church saw my work they would probably have an apoplectic fit. After a long time trying to balance the two extremes, making people laugh at something that’s somewhere out in left field and being a prim and proper Christian, I finally came to the conclusion that everyone has an occasional thought of that nature whether they will admit it or not. I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Christian online, but I don’t always fit in the mold either. I received a very polite e-mail today from another Christian who had read my online profile and admired my Photoshop work. I also have a few agnostics and/or atheists who follow my blog and make positive comments upon occasion. Sometimes you can be your own worst critic. When I stand back and look at things, I guess I’m not as a bad of a person as I thought I was.