Cancer has given me tattoos and a scar that looks like I lost an encounter with a Samurai, or maybe a shark, or maybe a samurai-wielding shark.
But the only way to really become an Ultimate Macho Man is to work at it from the inside, and that means 'roids.
Even the name of the steroid I take sounds tough.
Dex: 100% MAN made
Dexamethasone is a synthetic steroid designed to mimic a steroid our bodies make called cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid released by the adrenal glands perched on top of the kidneys. Cortisol is helpful during stressful situations-- like a battle with a samurai-wielding shark-- because it contributes to our 'flight of fight' response.
Cortisol and Dex are glucocorticoids, which means they basically affect the way glucose is used by the cells in your body. During times of immediate stress (shark with sword) your body needs quick access to plenty of energy and cortisol makes this happen. Cortisol also minimises our perception of pain, boosts the immune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Cortisol x 80 = Dex
Chemists didn't muck around when they made Dex because it is up to 80 times more powerful than cortisol. Dex also sticks around in the body longer than cortisol: its half life (the amount of time it takes to lose half of its ability to affect the body) is up to 54 hours (it's 8 hours for cortisol).
Dex is commonly used in cancer treatments to control nausea, but no one is really sure how it works. One of the fun things about having cancer is coming across treatments that work but no one knows why (there are several examples of this).
Unlike other anti-nausea drugs that directly block serotonin receptors and the main road leading to the Vomit Centre, Dex works another way; they're just not sure how, or why, or where.
Some things are known though: side effects
The list is long, but here are the most interesting ones:
- Increased appetite and weight gain (note: not muscle gain)
- Personality changes, depression
- Irritability, euphoria, mania
I now put on up to 1 kg a week of body mass, I wrote this article at 3:40 am, I got anxious today about something small, I breakout in a sprint when cycling for no reason except that I can, and when my thoughts start racing, they're matched only by my racing heartbeat.
But I haven't vomited once.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.