Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drugs, Drugs, More Drugs and No Drugs

I'm on a clinical trial for a new drug for ovarian cancer. After the six sessions of regular chemo, I'm taking another 16 sessions of Avastin or placebo. Since it's a blind study I haven't a clue as to which I'm receiving.

Yesterday, there I was, sitting in the waiting room. Waiting!

They could just as well call it a "TV room". The TV is always on, always too loud, and always tuned to some program that I detest.

So instead of TV, my preferred mode of passing time is to read. This time spent in the "waiting room" is time to catch up on my reading. I get to read the big city newspaper, peruse magazines that I would not ordinarily purchase, or read a few pages in a book that I've brought with me.

Yesterday, I was reading the newspaper and ran across an article about the "accidental" death of a rather famous entertainment figure. The celebrity, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, died last month. His body was found August 28 in his apartment in New York City's SoHo neighborhood.

In September the Medical Examiner's Office ruled that this man had in his system a mixture of :
  • cocaine
  • Oxycontin
  • hydrocodone
  • Xanax
  • Konopin
  • Benadryl
  • levamisole.
That's an incredible mix! An astounding mix! And guess what! The cause of death was ruled "accidental" of an "acute intoxication" from the combined effects of the drugs.

I know the illegal use of drugs is out there. I'm acquainted with a number of people who are addicts. And most of them are quite well acquainted with not one, but numerous illegal drugs. They've tried this and they've tried that and they probably habitually use one or more on a daily basis.

It always astounds me that anyone goes into this lifestyle. It's incredibly damaging. Why do they do it? And, yes, I understand that they think they can use "once" and not get addicted. And, yes, I understand that they use drugs to "self-medicate" anxiety, etc., etc. And, yes, I understand that the addiction is a terrible thing to overcome.

And it astounds me is that so many doctors prescribe mood-altering drugs to addicts. These are drugs that are contraindicated for use by drug addicts. Sure, sure, the user is not going to tell his Doc, "Hey, I'm an addict, don't prescribe something for me that will increase my drug dependency." And I'm well aware that addicts are excellent manipulators and know exactly what to say and what not to say while they're in the doctor's office.

But don't you think it might be good to do a blood toxicology for the guy who repeatedly comes to the Doc with some ache and pain or mental stress and who requests a prescrip for hydrocodone or Xanax for instance? Again and again!

The cocktail this guy took killed him. And the death is labeled "accidental". Accidentally what? That he accidentally took one too many pills? No. This man's death wasn't accidental. It was quite predictable. Almost to the point of inevitable. The only question was "when".

While I was doing chemo (January-July) I figured my body was being hit big-time by heavy-duty stuff. While the drugs were doing their thing on the cancer cells, they were also doing their thing on my liver, my kidneys, and a dozen other areas of my body. I knew that. I knew it was bad stuff. But hopefully, the damage to the cancer cells would more than offset the damage to other parts of my body.

Even though I was enduring heavy aches and pains I refused to take even tylenol or ibuprofen. I simply did not want to hit my body with yet another drug. I walked (sat, slept) through the pain.

Reading about this man's death saddened me. Drugs killed him. And not accidentally.


Dandy said...

I'm really curious about this post as I only had the time to read the list of drugs. I'll be back to catch up.

I gave you an award on my blog today!

Elle Bee said...

That's a lot of drugs for one body. Very sad.
Kudos to you for taking care of your body and being strong. Especially when it would have been very easy to pop another pill in the midst of your pain.

Debby said...

Now, now, WhiteStone! You don't know. Maybe he innocently went into the kitchen to make himself a healthful snack, and accidently opened the cupboard with all the drugs and took them, mistaking them for mayonnaise or something. It could happen. Maybe. Not.