Mary Poppins Is Full Of It

The Disney classic Mary Poppins is one of my favorite movies.  Here’s a great song from that movie:

Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the most delightful way.  What a song!  It’s light, it’s catchy…and it’s not true.  Mary Poppins is full of it.

As you may know, my sister Lib has cancer and is taking chemo.  She takes 4 pills a night for five nights in a row, and then repeats the process the next month.  She just finished one year of treatment and we are all delighted that the tumor has shrunk.

The thing is, the process is getting harder for her as the months go by.  It’s not the nausea so much; that’s not fun, but it’s an expected side effect of chemo.  The problem is that with or without a spoonful of sugar, the medicine won’t go down.

She can’t get the pills to stay in her stomach long enough to fully do their job.

The first night of each cycle isn’t so bad, but by nights 4 and 5 it’s a fight.

She’s tried taking them with applesauce, Jell-O and assorted other disguises.  She takes anti-anxiety pills beforehand.  She’s tried eating a normal dinner, a light dinner or no dinner.  She’s gone over to our parents to take them, thinking a change of scenery might work.  Nothing seems to help.

Lib called me at 10 pm on the 4th night of her last go round.  She said she was going to skip the chemo that night; she just wasn’t up to it.  I think she really wanted me talk her into doing what she knew she had to do.  So I did.  I tried to take her mind off the task at hand.  I told her about the prior weekend’s jaunt up to Chicago to cheer on our cousin in the Avon Breast Cancer walk.  I described the day and recounted all the news from that side of the family.  I was light and breezy, amusing and informative.

You know how when some people talk, it’s music to your ears?  How they have the knack of speaking words to live by?  Apparently I speak words to barf by.

When I paused in my rambling to take a breath, Lib broke in to weakly report the mission had NOT been accomplished.  She had thoughtfully muted her phone so I hadn’t shared in the experience.

I think I know what’s going on here; the two sides of her brain don’t agree on this treatment and they’re duking it out.

The analytical, left side of her brain knows that this has got to be done to knock out the tumor.  The left side listens to her doctors, sends her to the pharmacy to get her pills and sets up the schedule.  This side of the brain controls that crucial, pill-popping right hand.

The creative, right side of the brain isn’t “feeling it” with the chemo.  It would rather chill out with some good jazz and write poetry.  This side is in charge of the stomach.  It would prefer ice cream to pills, maybe washed down with a fruity white wine.

The left side says, “We need this.” It tells the hand to put those pills in her mouth.

The right side says, “We need THIS like we need a hole in the head.”

The left side says. “This is good stuff- it will kill the tumor.”

The right side says. “Like hell; this sh*t will kill us!”

The left side says, “Just do as you’re told and take those pills!”

The right side says, “I don’t like it, I don’t want it, you can’t make me, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” and sticks out its tongue – pppbblllssstt!!!  It tells the stomach to send everything back up.

Open up. That’s it…this will go down in the most delightful way!

This issue is going to come up again soon.  Any hints on how to keep EVERYTHING from coming up again would be appreciated.

In the meantime, Dr. Peg advises that Lib get on the good side of her brain’s right side. I prescribe:

  • Writing an epic poem; “Ode On The Commode” or “How Do I Hate Thee, Temador? Let Me Count The Ways”.
  • Drinking a lot of cheap Muscato.
  • Taking massive doses of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy until it’s time, once again, for chemotherapy.
Advertisements

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in Cancer Schmancer, General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to Mary Poppins Is Full Of It

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Oh, that really sucks. They say ginger helps though I’ve never tried it.

    Like

  2. Shannon says:

    Canser (purposely misspelled to not give it any credence) is a crappy way to build character. I agree with your left-and-right-brain analysis. I’d throw the stuff up too!

    Like

  3. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Keep at it, Peg. She needs your support more than you ever may know. My hopes and wishes go with her.

    Like

  4. does it come back up because the pills make you nauseous or because its just the psychological thing? Someone suggested 1. straight after pill an ice lolly – or 2. can you crush the pill into a spoon of something? like ice cream or honey? literally a spoon full of honey

    Like

  5. Well done, Peg, on such a lousy topic. We love you Lib! You can do it!!! 🙂
    And now, (shameless plug), Readers, be sure to check out my blog tomorrow for a special Pegoleg tribute! 🙂

    Like

  6. I wish I could offer any advice. I’m thinking ginger, too? When I was throwing up during pregnancy I used to sip ginger tea (made it myself from ginger root) all day long. (I know that’s not even close to being the same as chemo, but I have nothing else to relate it to). I am deeply sorry your sister has to go through this, Peg. She is blessed to have you there to help her.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks for your kind thoughts, Darla. I’ll ask if she’s tried ginger. I don’t care for the real stuff myself, just Ginger Ale, but if it will help…

      Like

  7. mary i says:

    I so feel for her and, you. As above Ginger tea or ginger ale might help. Can she crush the pills into a powder and mix them with something? Perhaps it might be easier on her??? Just a thought…

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      No crushing allowed. I think the stuff is so toxic you have to keep the protective coating intact until the pills get to the stomach, which is designed to handle strong stuff like its own acid.

      Like

  8. I have always been weak of stomach and prone to nausea during the best of times. When I am seriously ill? Forget it. When I was coming off morphine, I was throwing up literally every 20 minutes. The only thing that stopped it was… a suppository. Is that not an option for chemo patients? Seems like it should be.

    People always recommend ginger for nausea, but it doesn’t help me a bit. What does help is ice cold Coke or root beer. A Coke icee is best.

    Best of luck to your sister. I hope she finds something to help!

    Like

  9. You’re an awesome sister. That’s all I got after reading this . . . your words really are like a spoonful of sugar to your sister, you know? Good on you Peg.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I don’t know, El. I think Lib has mixed emotions about me posting about this stuff. I always try to be sensitive to her wishes and ask before I post – this particular one has been sitting around for over a month because she really doesn’t want to think about the topic anywhere near chemo week.

      I hope what she gains from it is the knowledge that she’s not alone: that, in addition to family, people care who don’t even know her. But I know she doesn’t want to be seen as an object of pity or a martyr. As if! I hasten to reassure her that, although she has a certain glow about her, nobody has yet to mistake it for that of a halo.

      Like

      • I know exactly what you mean, Peg. I write about my life and in writing about it, often touch on those people who touch me. My two cents here? I don’t view your sis with pity or as a martyr, but I sure do respect the way she faces her difficulties, and it also helps me to see how you’re trying to lessen her burden a little bit. This is one of those life lessons that benefits us all to hear about–you know? My best to you and your sis.

        Like

  10. Audrey says:

    I’m so sorry about your sister, the chemo sounds awful. Darn that creative, ice cream-eating, wine swilling right brain! She’ll be in thoughts and prayers, keep us posted!

    Like

  11. mary i says:

    I just remembered this one, “coke syrup” it is an old time thing that you can get at drug stores. I have known it to work for some folks. It is coke with out the fizz…It is cheap too….

    Like

  12. I have no suggestions, only the thought that she is lucky to have someone so lovely as to talk her through the barfing. Keeping the best of thoughts . . .

    Like

  13. Gracious. There are really no words. I feel for your sister for all these go-rounds with her tumor, and for you and your family. I have three sisters and I know you want to take bullets for her and can’t. Aside from the oft-repeated ginger suggestion, I wonder if her doc has ever had her on an anti-nausea medication. I believe there are some that are designed specifically to work with chemo. There’s also one called phenergan – I don’t know if that works with chemo or not. I can’t imagine her doctor isn’t aware that she’s having this trouble, so maybe it’s already been tried… but if not, it seems to be worth looking into so she can kick cancer’s ass. Separate from that, is she in therapy or counseling? That might be worth a shot as well. My very best wishes to her and the family.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      She is on anti-nausea drugs – they’ve tried various ones. She’s not sick all the time, it’s just trying to keep the pills down. Thanks so much for the kind words and concern.

      Like

  14. Elyse says:

    There are drugs that can help with the nausea. Her doctor or pharmacist might help with which ones will help her best. But there are other alternatives, too.

    I used to have violent motion sickness, while living in Switzerland, no less, with the twisty-turny roads. I used SeaBan Writst Bands which solved the problem without drugs or sleepiness (http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/sea-band-wristband/ID=prod2662944-product). They work on the theory of acupuncture, placing a pressure point at the inside of your wrist (which doesn’t stick in or hurt or anything. It just presses down.)

    Drinking a coke helps too.

    Good luck to Lib! You can do it!

    Like

  15. Oh Peg.

    There are no words.

    This cancer stuff is a monster. It just is. I just want you to have your sister back — in a way where you don’t have to talk about or think about cancer ever again.

    My prayers are with you and your sis. I know you try to find the brighter side to things.

    But cancer is a joy suck.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You got that right, Renee. I don’t want to keep harping on this topic all the time – how fun is that? But with my sister, and now my cousin Moe, it’s a backdrop to our lives right now, so I’m going with it.

      Like

  16. Stephanie says:

    I agree about trying the anti-nausea medications. And if for some reason she’s not allowed to take them with her chemo, talk to her doctor about giving her a placebo. If you think it’s psychological, even a placebo would help! She’s in my prayers.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Stephanie. She is taking anti-nausea, it’s more a matter of fooling her tummy into letting the chemo hang out there for a while. Maybe if she put a mustache and glasses on the pills as a disguise?

      Like

      • Stephanie says:

        I don’t know if she lives in the area, but I’ve heard great things about the acupuncturist in Morris! As for the ‘stache and glasses, if you can make them look like Tom Selleck … hmmm … lost my train of thought…

        Like

  17. I was going to write about phenergan, but I really can’t imagine Lib’s doctor (s) haven’t already suggested it if they thought it would help. Obviously the chemo meds don’t work if they don’t stay in her stomach long enough to get absorbed.

    I’ve also heard of ginger being good.

    It’s a tough challenge, because chemo drugs are not exactly gentle, weak concoctions.

    For what it’s worth, we’re rooting for you Lib!

    Like

  18. We call it medicine, but it is poison. Odd. I do so hope your sister improves and this course of treatment is worth the agony. I feel for all of you.

    Like

  19. Al says:

    It amazes me how I can feel so strongly about the suffering of someone I don’t even know. It just shows how much you have drawn me into your family through your writing. Prayers to Lib that she may endure this less painfully.

    Like

  20. Angie Z. says:

    Just a quickie comment to let you know how sorry I am for your sister’s suffering. I often hear that dealing with the cancer medicines is a real pain in the patootie.

    Like

  21. I’ve heard that pot kills the nausea; I wouldn’t know if it works with cancer drugs or if it’s even available in her area. Just a thought. 🙂 And I hope she gets through this soon. Cancer sucks!

    Like

  22. k8edid says:

    Peg, so sorry your beloved sister is going through this. There are, as has been mentioned, many anti-nausea and anti-emetic medications available – up to and including Marinol (which has THC derivatives – and can be legally prescribed). I know she doesn’t suffer all the time, but she needs to keep telling her health care providers until someone listens. I hope she is not trying to be brave. That poison has a job to do and can’t do it from the toilet bowl. Urge her to tell her doc again about the issues she is having. God Bless you both, I’ll keep her in my prayers.

    Like

  23. Despite this terrible period of her life, Lib is blessed to have such loving and supportive siblings. My thoughts and prayers are with you all…

    Like

  24. mj monaghan says:

    Peg, Lib will be in my prayers, for sure. And the rest of your family who are supporting her.

    I did a little research and thought you might find this link interesting:
    http://www.cancercenter.com/newsletters/august_2008_newsletter.cfm

    It mentions guided imagery (which I use for panic/anxiety) as well as acupuncture.

    All the best to you all during this time, my friend.

    Like

  25. Several people have mentioned ginger, and I definitely find ginger helps with nausea, but I’m not sure it would be powerful enough for this. Presumably her doctor has tried her on anti-vomiting medication to go with it, and that’s not helping. If it’s psychological, then what about something a bit different like hypnotherapy, or a relaxing massage on the days she has to take it? Has she tried going on forums online to see if other people are talking about this, and may have found things that help them? I hope she finds a solution.

    In the meantime, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate on this particular post, but then I think you’re someone who doesn’t always worry about appropriateness (!), so I shall say Happy Birthday Peg!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Whaa? How did you know it’s my birthday, Vanessa? Are you psycho? er, I mean psychic?

      You know, hypnotherapy might not be a bad idea – I’ll definitely pass that on.

      Like

  26. Sandy Sue says:

    Is it possible to get this med as an injection instead of a pill? That seems too easy, and something Lib has probably already explored.
    Once you start puking, the gag reflex just keeps going on its own in cases like this. Maybe something like meditation or hypnosis would help her relax and refocus (?)

    Like

  27. Some things it seems just haven’t been improved on…like that horrible liquid we have to try to down before a colonoscopy. Every five years, I ask “They still haven’t come up with something better?” Those pills Lib is taking are tough because they have a tough job to do and apparently it’s the best medicine for the job. Your readers have certainly offered a host of suggestions…prayers to you and your family for healing. You are a close, close family helping your sister through this. I hope one of these brings relief.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Georgette, I am so with you on that colonoscopy prep. And I told myself I was a big baby because after I had one last year, I immediately started fixating on the fact that I was going to have to drink that stuff again in 5 years!
      Thanks for the prayers.

      Like

  28. Go Jules Go says:

    You are an amazing sister, Peg! I wish I knew some tips for this. I only know the ones that work for me when I’m nauseous – ginger ale, crackers and, weirdly, a McDonald’s cheeseburger Happy Meal (with a Sprite).

    Like

  29. dorannrule says:

    I have been quietly following your blog and so admire you.. I am nominating you for two awards at once – the Beautiful Blogger and the Versatile Blogger. http://countryliving4beginners.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/beautiful-versatile-awards/ . This is the link with the details.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thank you so, so much for the bloggy shout-out! I am so incredibly lazy I never can do the follow-through required to accept awards, but be assured that I really appreciate it.

      I hope you continue following here; either quietly or with a huge, brass band in tow – it’s all good!

      Like

  30. I like your Ben and Jerry’s prescription. What else does that help with?

    I hope your sister gets well soon!

    Like

  31. notcurrentlyblogging says:

    You and your sister will be in my thoughts. I wish no one had to go through this. When my mother went through chemo she had a very hard time with nauseau. I made her tiny bite sized molasses cookies that she could nibble on without feeling overwhelmed. The small size made her feel like she could cope with a snack, when everything else seemed like too much to even look at. The cookies were high in iron which she needed.

    Like

  32. Cancer sucks ass.

    That’s all I have to say about cancer. Except more profanity.

    Like

  33. Mom and Dad says:

    Hey Peg – it’s the porcelain goddess writing! Here at Mom and Dad’s house with Mary Kay after a sumptuous repast at Olive Garden, in honor of YOUR BIRTHDAY!!! (Yes, I was able to keep it down today! :)) We celebrated in honor of your birthday (but they wouldn’t send you the bill). Did I make that middle part clear… TODAY IS PEG-O-LEG’S BIRTHDAY!!!!! Happy 29th, Peg!! (Tee, hee!) Love, the barfer and non-barfer family-types.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Lib! Several readers wanted to wish me happy birthday but they were afraid to attach such light-hearted stuff to such a serious subject. Way to lead the way in showing it’s all about LIVING with cancer.

      Hope you were able to get the complimentary birthday dessert at Olive Garden by propping my picture on the table – after all, I was there in spirit, right?

      Like

  34. pattisj says:

    There are so many people dealing with “little c” as a lady from our church calls her battle with it. Hopefully someone knows how to overcome this side effect, or is helped by the advice from your faithful readers.
    That was awfully nice of them to NOT send you the bill for dinner! LOL

    Like

  35. Dana says:

    Ugh. There is nothing good to say about cancer, except that (maybe) it helps strengthen the bonds between people. (I’d rather strengthen bonds through *any* other means, but you get the point. Just trying to find a teensy-tiny rainbow in the midst of the terrible cancer storm).

    I hope that your sister’s nausea eventually gets contained and– more importantly– that the chemo shrinks that tumor right down so she doesn’t have to endure any more pill popping. Lib is in my thoughts and prayers!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s