pitch for a change

February 17, 2007 § 6 Comments


Keep it personal. Make it emotional. Marketing credos. I practiced them all on the way to the hospital. I was pitching my Oncologist.

My objective: get him to drop the Nuelasta for a week and see if I avoid a slew of miserable side effects.

A series of unnatural responses had raged through my body after treatments 4 and 5. Armageddon under my skin. In both instances, the symptoms that ravaged me did so exactly 12 hours after receiving a shot of a white blood cell booster. I suspected a connection. I studied the list of known side effects. My reactions were rare, but they were no less real.

The Dr had been on vacation the previous week and I would bring him up to speed with my saga of swollen hands, cold sweats and debilitating fatigue. I’d tell him how I had been unable to take my daughter to school, how I lacked the energy to put her to bed. How I lacked energy to get out of bed. For sure this would get my point across and he’d modify my treatment. I poured my heart out.

With his usual warm and affable manner, the Dr offered that one “limps” past this finish line and I was nearing the end.

I was stunned. I wasn’t limping. I wasn’t even crawling. There were people who ran marathons through chemotherapy, others never missed a day of work. What the hell was normal here? I lacked the energy to watch the race on TV let alone participate. My cure was slaughtering me and no one was picking up at 911.

Marty chimed in.

“Marilyn has an enormous leucocytosis, the cold sweats began 12-24 hours after the Nuelasta, and she had the same sequelae on Taxol as on Adriamycin-Cytoxan.”

The two Drs engaged in a volley of hypothesis and then quick speculation that the reactions I had might be due to the post chemo injection.

“OK, lets pass on the Nuelasta this round and see what happens.”

Two more marketing credos for you:

Know your audience and be relevant.

If you can’t do that, bring along a boyfriend who’s an MD.

My blood tests were fine, the tumor small enough we’ll need MRI’s and mammograms to know what’s going on. With that I entered the treatment area for dose 6.

Someone else took chair 22 and Chair 13 was waiting for me. Lucky 13. A window seat.

Every two weeks when I imagine sitting back in that big blue vinyl monster truck of a laz-y-boy lounger for 5 hours I think…

what a perfect time to catch up on my reading.

Not knowing what’s likely to strike my fancy with the nasty running through my veins I bring the mother load; two issues of the New Yorker, the latest Vanity Fair, Food and Wine (even nauseous the pictures are appetizing), and that days Wall Street Journal. I put on my cozy slipper socks, set-up the portable DVD player, pull out my ipod and try to ignore the burning of the pre-Taxol Benadryl drip. The burning in my veins makes me think of “24”. That evil brother got his due. What was my crime?

I don’t open a magazine, I press play on the DVD, I pass out. I wake in time to go home where I sleep some more.

It’s been 5 days since my last treatment. I feel OK under the circumstances, even good. There is no deep chaos of the cells, no war beneath my skin. None of the cold sweats, and exhaustion that laid me up for days and prevented me from the most benign activities. I am up and about. I went to Target and Petco, wrote a few thank you notes and paid my bills. My hands are a dreadful mess all dried out and a little numb. I’m tired, but otherwise OK. And my white blood cell count is OK too.

Six down and two to go. I may leave the magazines at home next time but I will certainly bring the beau.

Xoxo Momo


§ 6 Responses to pitch for a change

  • Mark says:

    You continue to steer a remarkable course with a wonderful navigator at your side. xoxoxo

  • paula says:

    This time the kudos for MARTY – YEAH, you are our hero!

    Marty, if i havent said so before, thanks for being there for marilyn, for being able and ready to offer the alternative chemical mix for the weekly cocktail.
    Be well, and Yasher Ko-ach (said after performing a great mitzvah!)
    with you, in soul & spirit.

  • Barbara says:

    Hi Marilyn (remember me – Paula’s friend??)– Your story, humor and strength is inspiring. I’m sending lots of wishes for a speedy and complete recovery! Your amazingly positive approach will get you through this, so get well soon — you’re on your way!

    Love, Barbara

  • Nina Schwarzschild says:

    Sending love to you Momo and much love and appreciation to Marty too.

  • Sue Rosenberg says:

    Marty – you’re a superhero. Thank you for taking such great care of our girl!

    Marilyn – when’s the book coming out? it will be required reading for the cancer-challenged and you’ll look fab on the book tour!

    Hugs to you both,

  • Karen says:

    Only two more to go! Sounds like the worst may be behind you, especially if you don’t have to get the white blood cell booster again. Good thing you are such a good advertising mavin and thanks to Doc Marty too.

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