I am 2 hours and 20 minutes away from my fourth dose of ruxolitinib. So far it has been tolerable, mostly. I had a bout of nausea yesterday and awoke with a splitting headache, both of which are common side effects and are expected to subside as my body accustoms itself to this intruder. Ibuprofen eliminated the headache, and the nausea eased, somewhat, on its own, that is, until this morning. No headache, but my stomach feels like it it wants to take a road trip. I am trying to persuade it otherwise, but it seems to have a mind of its own.
No grapefruit!! My friend, Tennessee, who also has CLL, is a pharmacist. We both see Dr. Gooday at the Big-as-Texas Cancer Center. She says that grapefruit interferes with enzymes that help metabolize certain medications, allowing more than desirable levels to reach the bloodstream. Giving up grapefruit is about like giving up rutabagas, Tennessee and I decided. It’s not very difficult to give up something you didn’t use, never really liked, and had no future plans for. About the only time I ever liked grapefruit was when it was used to slightly flavor a nice, triple-distilled vodka, or disguise the taste of a vodka like Taaka, which is New Orleans’ own distilled variety that has probably made more Bloody Mary’s than any other kind. Without heavy mixers, Taaka is nearly undrinkable, tasting remarkably like naphtha mixed with liberal dollops of kerosene…but it is cheap, plentiful, and has an excellent secondary purpose in helping to control fire ants.
The ruxolitinib prescription label said nothing about not eating country ham. Uncle Dave Macon would have refused any medication that disallowed country ham and may have likely thought Taaka curious but delightful still, though preferring instead his own colorless home-distillate as he played his banjo with reckless abandon, increasing in tempo with every sip of the Taaka. Actually, the label on the ruxolitinib said nothing about alcohol, banjos, or grapefruit. I photo-shoppped the label for effect. It helps with the telling of the story. Nevertheless, the grapefruit prohibition is bona-fide.
You don’t always get the truth here, even when I am doing my best to tell it. The truth is elusive, relayed through the lenses of eyes that sometimes don’t see well, or work poorly because of low light levels, or are squinted because the light is too bright. The truth is out there, though; you just have to work hard to find it, and sometimes harder to hold on to it. Sometimes our vision is too tunneled, especially when the truth frequently lies on the periphery, not in the direction of our focus.
As soon as my stomach settles down, I’m going to see if it can remain at peace with a slab of country ham resting inside it. There won’t be a hint of grapefruit, nor Taaka, though I do keep some Taaka on hand, just in case the fire ants were to get into the house. The grapefruit is not mine. It is Debbie’s. She does not have to worry about me eating it like I do her sliced and chunked cantaloupe. I’ve been known to eat a whole ice cream tub of it, which, I suppose, is better than having eaten the whole ice cream tub first.
Just 10mg twice a day of the ruxolitinib is all that is required.
I’m glad I’m allowed more than 10mg of country ham and unlimited banjo, and even spirits if I so desire. If I could get Uncle Dave over, he’d be in for three of the five: the spirits, the country ham, and the banjo. He’d likely pass on the grapefruit and the ruxolitinib.
Can’t say as I’d blame him.
For your listening pleasure, here is Uncle Dave Macon doing Way Down the Old Plank Road. Do yourself a favor and listen to it all. If you like it, then here’s Sail Away Ladies. He’s got a couple of songs about country ham, but I couldn’t locate a link to them.There was no one quite like Uncle Dave!!
I go to see Hemosapien on Tuesday for my regular checkup. I will not miss this. He is an important part of this clinical trial team! I am thankful for him and his clinic here at home.
Happy Father’s Day! If you can, give your father a hug and tell him you love him, or at least call him on the phone. All too soon, that may not be possible.
©2016 Mississippi Chris Sharp