Monday, August 15, 2011


I don’t want to Go Technical (especially when my real fantasy is to Go Viral, just sharing......) but there is a body of evidence I find to be a bit alarming with regard to one specific chemotherapy drug.  The drug garnering the attention of scientists that has piqued my curiosity is referred to as
5-FU.  Surely, I can’t be the only person who sees the irony and the black humor associated with that name as a potential drug troublemaker.

My mind only goes to ONE word when I see the letters FU with the other two letters just lopped off. I am determined not to offend anyone with profanity so, with the exception of a few lower level curse words already used in prior entries, I am sticking to the plan.  I would however appreciate your patience; Indulge me if you will or if you can’t/won’t, might I suggest you simply skip a few lines ahead.

I am amusing myself by singing a familiar song from a TV show I recall watching as a child.  Sing along if you know it (follow the bouncing ball and no accidental Berlusconi chants, this is a new day, a new week, a new entry, AND a NEW Beginning, too?):
m  i  C - K  e  y     m-o-u-s-e……Mickey Mouse ….. tra la la….
I just had to get that out of my system.  The word was right there.  I needed to find an unsolution so I would not be offensive.  But, I also needed to stop the screaming in my head…. that word, screaming to be heard.  Sometimes, no other word will suffice.  Thank you miCKey for allowing me to sully your name by stealing the middle letters so I was able to complete my bad word.  Someone get the soap!

I can no longer watch TV.  Not even Mickey Mouse cartoons.  I was a news nut slut.  Unfortunately, the news is now filled with numbers, i.e., stock losses, unemployment percentages, housing statistics, debt ceiling.  Or, there are names containing letters that are arranged in ways that contradict every spelling rule I ever learned.  And that means I am “5-FU’d.”  Did I just solve my profanity problem with an unsolution?  How perfectly ingenious of me!  (And AGAIN with the Self-Absorbed Thing?  Might be necessary to read some prior entries if you are just joining the party in my head.... there is a foundation for this gibberish.)

Having previously established that the news is no longer an option, I effectively lost half of the television stations available from my satellite provider. I couldn’t begin watching any of the network shows.  I was unable to pick up the story lines mid season.  As a result, I turned into a reality TV whore and after adding The Bachelorette into my DVR repertoire, apparently, a voyeur.

American Idol?  Prior to this season, I never watched an episode and the only thing I knew about Idol was that Jennifer Hudson was laughing all the up to the podium to pick up an Oscar Award and then REALLY laughing as she ran straight to the bank....and this was AFTER being voted off the island.  (I think I’m mixing my shows up here….. WHATever.)  When my four year old niece began talking about “Scotty” and then “Casey” and then (my favorite) “James,” I had to satisfy my curiosity about the accuracy of this baby’s info.  Not only was she spot on with the singers, her first pick was the last man standing (more mixed up shows?).  Who cares??  I'm trying to figure a way to get this kid into the racetrack.

Dancing with the Stars?  No one put Baby in a Corner and that set me up for the next season and the antics of Kirstie Alley.  Never missed an episode.  And now?  Some of the cable TV series’ are back.  That gives me about 2 hours of TV time in a week.  Cannot do Snookie and the Situation (except in a moment of weakness and maybe just snippets.  Yes, as far as Jersey Shore goes: That IS my story and I’m sticking to it).  I’ve watched a number of movies for the 17th or 18th time, but mostly, the TV remains off and I spend my evening time writing and trying to determine the best ways to organize my (blog research) information, my thoughts and my plans for the direction in which I wish to take my life.

The blogging was born of the writing, the writing was an attempt to unblock my brain and my brain as indicated in the blog footer, has a mind of its own.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Scroll to the bottom to double check.  I'll even hold your place. 

Place Marker.......................................and a good warning about the length of this entry, too

Back?  May I continue??  I need quiet in order to write. Any noise is a distraction.  I can’t even put on calming spa background music.  THAT distracts me right into a daydream about Miraval Resort and fulfilling my bold fantasy to zipline through the Tucson desert.  Background TV is a double distraction.  It’s audio AND video.  I need serenity AND, I need Anna's encouragement, too!!  She helps me fix the choppies, and she is out of town so this, quite frankly, feels like a choppy mess.  I need someone to keep me coherent and cohesive.  When I stray into utter stupidity, she is able to shine a light so I may untangle the mess in my head.  Welcome back, Anna.... I missed you!!

Despite the monk-like silence nearly every evening and my surroundings mimicking a monestary, I still do an awesome job of distracting myself.  All by myself.  A thought pops into my head and the Reality TV Whore morphs into the Internet Detour Whore.  The detour leads to something else and now I have ADD and OCD while experiencing bouts of amnesia and déjà vu in the same time continuum.  All things take forever.

I’m still searching for a pair of black flip flops for the summer.  It's mid August and I'm still hunting? I am obsessed with locating the perfect pair, inevitably get thrown off track when I see a great pair of pumps.  Although I can't be sure, it feels like something I’ve done before.  OCD, ADD, amnesia and déjà vu ALL AT ONCE.  Try juggling that, I double dare you.  In fact, I dare you cubed!  AND, those pumps I saw have taken on a life of their own.  Total Obsession.

Distractions aside and humor on the shelf for a moment, I was making a concerted effort to be
"5-FU-ing" SERIOUS because somehow, those shoes dropped off my radar and the TV/Internet whores morphed back into the medical junkie.  That hot pair of shoes may have dropped off my computer, but (back into the cliche thing, are you KIDDING ME?) the "other" shoe dropped and it was in the form of the two recent studies about the effects of 5-fluorouracil and both of them are troubling.

There is information from the University of Rochester where the drug is (was?) being tested on mice.  With advance apologies to the animal rights people for NOT caring one iota about these mice, it appears 5-FU is destroying some sort of chemical in their brains.  I make no apologies to the mice because my brain may already be altered due to the effects of this drug.  So, no empathy for the mice until the mice can empathize with me.  Technically, I was the guinea pig for the mice. I’m not being cruel, just honest and treating others (the mice) as they treat me.

The link to the research is here and on the information link page.  IF I understand it, and I would suggest you do not take my word since I'm not a scientist or a doctor, but this is how I might attempt to explain the study of Dr. Noble in Rochester.  (For REAL? Now, an analogy?  Hell... is there a trick I haven't recycled trying to get to A Point, Some Point, AND at this point, Any Point.)

     My brain is a mountain.  The ski trails represent the paths along which the nerves send signals all over the body.  I am now the skier and since I abhor the cold and have only had skis on my feet twice, that is the funniest 5-FU’ing thing in the world.  Me as a skier, I mean.  BC, the trails were pristine and my skis were waxed to perfection.  The best crews were tending the to the slopes and the finest wax available was expertly applied to my skis.  The trails were packed with skiers (throw in a few snowboarders, too) and everyone was moving around in perfect synchronicity.  It may have appeared chaotic, but each skier remained on their respective trail at an appropriate speed.  No collisions, no falls.  Just constant, fluid motion.
     Enter 5-fluorouracil.  The trails began to deteriorate AND despite the efforts of the groundkeepers, the snow was not sufficient to keep the trails in such great shape.  The slopes were filled with ruts, bare spots and whatever else causes such distress when ski people don’t have “packed powder” whatever the hell THAT means.  My skis have no wax and because of the
5-FU, there is a shortage of wax, at least for MY skis.  The mountain is still there.  The trails are still obvious to the naked eye. Indeed, many of the trails are quite pristine. I still (hysterically enough) have the skis on my feet.  Except, there is no more smooth, easy ride down certain parts of the mountain.

With that image in mind, if you are so inclined, read an excerpt from the study, otherwise, skip past the block of highlighted text :

“In the current study, researchers gave the drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) to mice and observed the effects on their brains. They found that 5-FU attacked cells in the brain known as oligodendrocytes, destroying them so thoroughly that even six months after the end of treatment, the mice's brains were almost devoid of the cells.............Oligodendrocytes are responsible for producing the protective myelin sheath that keeps nerve signals traveling smoothly. The degeneration of this sheath is associated with a variety of neurological conditions…….”

That’s the biology of the situation.  Something may (cannot emphasize the magnitude of the EMPHASIS on MAY) be happening in my brain.  Something real.  But this is research in its earliest stages.  Hopefully the studies will continue and expand, I am still not sorry about the mice.

The first paragraph in that link says-and this I would suggest reading... and slowly at that.  It took me a minute or two (hours) to grasp the point.... 

"adverse neurological effects of chemotherapy occur with a frequency that suggest..... consequences of cancer treatment may affect more individuals than many of the most intensively studied neurological diseases." 

In conjunction with the biological research on the mice, additional work is being done in Texas at
MD Anderson Cancer Center, the only hospital for cancer treatment ranked above Sloan Kettering on the latest US News Best list.  (I beg to differ for the sole reason that Sloan Kettering was the ONLY HOSPITAL on the list to have the highest possible score in "patient safety" and for the love of everything holy, isn't keeping patients safe the most important thing a hospital should do?  JUST saying.....)  Anderson, however, IS making cancer history. Their team discovered my friend's drug. Their place is secure in my heart .  And, I do love the way they established their brand.  Brilliant!

One of the researchers making cancer history at MD Anderson is another rock star in the chemobrain arena.
Dr. Christina A. Meyers.
remember reading a bio but I can’t FIND IT…. I’m fairly certain she has been in this area of research for her entire professional life.  She gets her very own line.  And her name, all by itself, is a complete, grammatically correct sentence.  She co-authored the only textbook I could find written solely on (and also titled) Cognition and Cancer.  The study (and it's the "late onset" part that jumps at me) from 2010 was titled:

Acute and Late Onset Cognitive Dysfunction Associated With Chemotherapy in Women With Breast Cancer
Excerpts from the study, once again, highlighted to bypass in case this dry stuff isn't for you.....

"Before chemotherapy, 21% (9 of 42) evidenced cognitive dysfunction. In the acute interval, 65% (24 of 37) demonstrated cognitive decline. At the long-term evaluation, 61% (17 of 28) evidenced cognitive decline after cessation of treatment. Within this group of patients, 71% (12 of 17) evidenced continuous decline from the acute interval, and, notably, 29% (5 of 17) evidenced new delayed cognitive decline. Cognitive decline was most common in the domains of learning and memory, executive function, and processing speed.
In addition, delayed cognitive dysfunction occurred in a large proportion of patients. These findings are consistent with a developing body of translational animal research demonstrating both acute and delayed structural brain changes as well as functional changes associated with common chemotherapeutic agents such as 5-flouorouracil."
In their conclusion, the team remarked (even if you despise the dry stuff I'd suggest this is worth a glance):
“in the current study, we additionally observed progressive and delayed cognitive decline that does not appear to be attributable to other interventions (eg, chest wall radiation or hormonal therapy) or progressive or metastatic disease. This is very concerning as clinical lore has suggested that treatment-related cognitive dysfunction should dissipate over time.”
Dr. Meyer’s team findings based upon the cognitive evaluation testing of breast cancer patients is consistent with what Dr. Noble is seeing in the mice.  And, NO, I still haven't any Sympathy for The Mice.  And yes, if, like me, that just stuck Mick Jagger in your head, you should be mentally singing “Please allow me to introduce myself....”  … Oh wait just one minute: A different song is pushing its way in.  ADD is in full control right now.  (Wouldn’t that quality as an oxymoron…. ADD having control?)

No matter, NOW Jagger is in my head, I’m hearing some other song and truthfully it is a song I would not have known if I wasn’t also whoring around Reality TV with “The Voice.” The only way to have “the moves like Jagger” is in a proper pair of shoes.  I am BACK on the prowl for those shoes I was looking at earlier, the ones that became A Total Obsession.  A hunt for a stupid pair of flip flops is now a quest for the Holy freakin' Grail?  What can I say?  They were smoking hot shoes.  Hell, they even have a signature red sole and that matches my blog color scheme.

How did I go from 5-FU to shoes to this chemotherapy mess and then to TV and back to 5-FU (as a nasty drug and a nasty word, too) and now back to shoes again and where the hell do the mice fit into the process?  Really?? It must be the amnesia.

The fluorouracil earned the big prize:  A two handed gesture utilizing my finest skills in “hand language” and a simultaneous obnoxious shout, “Go 5-FU YOURSELF, fluorouracil.”

And, now that I’ve dispensed with the angry tone and gesture, I will soothe myself with one of my favorite tools.  Retail therapy is always GREAT.  Until, of course, the MasterCard Bill arrives... 

The Christian Louboutan Red Soled Shoes?  Over the top, crazy expensive.

The black flip flops purchased on sale?  Cheaper than you know what.

Finding a website selling sample (probably counterfeit copy) CL's at crazy discounted prices?


Marilyn Monroe knew exactly what she was talkin' about
"Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world."
I am definitely conquering something.  I'll make Marilyn proud.
(No doubt Jennifer Hudson had The Right Shoes, too!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Something to add? Do Share!