I take a little pink pill each morning, to regulate my thyroid.
I’m not much for taking pills, generally.
I take aspirin for headache. If I start getting leg cramps, I’ll take magnesium for a while. I’ve learned to take 600 milligrams of ibuprofen the minute I feel my back go out. Now and then I start a daily vitamin and baby aspirin regimen, but I forget, and neglect to form a regular habit of it.
The pink pill, I remember.
Without it, my skin dries out and my hair and nails become brittle. Without it, my cholesterol levels go all out of control. My energy level drops. Depression blankets me.
The pill does exactly what it is supposed to do.
It also strips my body of calcium. That’s a well known side-effect of the prescription drug, and I knew it going in.
I come from a family of strong-boned women…yet I have osteoporosis.
My little dog, Rosa Parks, has severe allergies.
I inject her, every ten days, with a serum made specifically for her. It contains the essence of the many things she is allergic to, so that her body will build up defenses against them. It’s a lifetime commitment, but her little life is worth it.
Usually in about 24 hours after receiving her dose, she starts to get uncomfortable. Her ears get yeasty and itchy; her eyes water. They are the same symptoms, but in smaller measure, that she would exhibit all the time, without the treatment. If she becomes too miserable, there are other things I can give her to counteract the discomfort.
They come with their own side-effects.
It’s a balance we strike.
My little sister Nita – my cute little sister who can make me laugh like nobody else in the whole world – starts chemotherapy today.
Her prospects are dire. Knowing it wouldn’t save her, she didn’t want treatment.
She knows what a challenge it would be!
The doctors spoke to her about time, and quality of life, and comfort.
They assured her she could stop at any time.
They convinced her to try.
Yesterday – a long day for her – she had a port put in, for administering the chemicals. She went for her first radiation treatment after that.
Today, she will receive her first chemotherapy.
I’m not thinking of Nita in the hospital bed.
I’m thinking of Nita, standing strong like a warrior, in her raggedy wide-leg bell-bottom jeans with her long dark hair showing glints of red highlights in the sunshine and a big smile on her freckly face.
I’m not thinking of the toxins being introduced into her system. I am thinking of those chemicals as soldiers, every one, dressed in white with silver swords blazing, marching in to fight the disease.
We find the balance.