Sunday, August 13, 2006

ALICIA'S STORY / Suffer with pain or wander off to wonderland

Suffer with pain or wander off to wonderland

Alicia R. Parlette was 23 last year when she was told she had a life-threatening cancer. This is one in an occasional series of articles about her experience. For previous articles and a list of cancer resources, go to . 

A few weeks ago, I was feeling very sick with something that seemed like extended food poisoning but might have been the flu. I was vomiting violently, getting cold sweats every couple of hours and barely moving from the couch. My surrogate mom, Sally, swooped in from Concord to take me to her house.
After a weekend of those symptoms -- all during record-breaking high temperatures that knocked out Sally's electricity several times -- I finally felt well enough to head back to my apartment alone.
While I waited for BART, I took OxyContin for pain. The drug often makes me feel more stoned when I take it without much food in my stomach, so I've learned to be acutely aware of how much I've had to eat before I take a pill.
I had a lot of food in me -- I had even taken Marinol, a legal form of medicinal marijuana, before brunch with Sally so I would scarf a fruit-covered waffle -- so I felt safe taking the painkiller.
Tired, on the train I zoned and then felt the beginning twinges of being high. Strange. I barely noticed anyone around me as I stared out the window into the dreary darkness of the tunnels, which somehow made the ride more relaxing.

No comments: