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) - Convulsions - Insomnia - Anxiety - 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.
4 Comments
Frequent Contributor
Thanks Ben. You are a scientist and I am not. I had febrile reactions to my cancer drug which put me in emergency twice and the consensus is that Dex is necessary to combat them (that would come under convulsions on your list). But as you say, no-one knows how. I am looking forward to shark fin shaped ninja star knives flying around the bedroom. They go ppfffffhhht, pppffffhhhttt. Well that's what they sounded like in the mid 60s on a black and white television. H
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Occasional Contributor
You are on the record as saying that Dex resulted in ware-wolf like symptoms for you, that must have been better than the convulsions caused by the cancer drug?
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Frequent Contributor
WOLF BITES SHARK: SHOCK CLAIMS
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Regular Contributor
Ahh the 1 kg per week body weight gain. I got so excited when I started chemo because they gave me the chemo diet which included as much of my Mum's rice pudding as I wanted, crumpets with butter, milk shakes etc. In fact anything that I could stomach. As someone who had a congenital (not just teenage) difficulty controlling weight, this was heaven on a stick! Finally, an upside to chemo! Haha. Each fornight, while all the other patients in the clinic were wasting away to shadows I systematically gained the obligatory 1kg per week. The weight that I had gloriously lost while on 'nil by mouth' for nearly 3 weeks flew back to torso and bum. 'Hmmm,' The dietician would mutter. 'Maybe you could try salmon instead of cheese for lunch and maybe just a spoonful of pudding.'I was still permiited the crumpet at 8.00pm as this did stave off the nausea until about 4.00am. So... after chemo, I not only couldn't feel my hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy) but I was back to the battle of the bulge. I think that I can tick all of the other boxes (except the convulsions) as well. At least now, Ben, I know why!!!Thanks
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