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Better Living Through Chemistry

Honestly, I don't know where that term comes from but it goes through my mind constantly these days, and actually, one of the nurses during chemo quoted it back to me last week. She didn't remember where it came from either.

I guess it goes through my mind so much because so many chemicals go through my body these days. I thought I'd share some of the stuff I'm taking, ingesting, streaming with you.

First off there's Adriamycin (aka, Doxorubicin, aka Dave). This is one of the big ones I get during Chemo. It injures cancer cells, resulting in their death. It can damage my heart. It's red (yes, folks, I pee red now, at least the first few days after chemo).

Next, the other bad boy, Cytoxan (aka Cyclophosphamide, aka Clyde). The other big Cancer drug (also used it seems for some auto-immune diseases). It too injures cancer cells, resulting in their deaths.

Next up, all the drugs I take to counteract the effects of the twins, Clyde and Dave:

Ativan (aka lorazepam) - honestly not sure if this is anti-nausea, anti-anxiety or just something that helps me sleep. I took it for the first three nights.

Compazine (aka prochloperazine) - anti-nausea - not so much.

Zofran (aka odansentron) - another anti-nausea - again, not so much. Apparently, I was getting some of this in the IV last week that was supposed to last a few days - uh, no.

Colase - stool softening (don't you just love the mental image I conjured for you): best advice, to take it the day I started chemo. I had no, shall we say, stuffy problems.

Some drug I can't remember, but it's a shot they gave me 24 hours after the chemo to help me produce white blood cells.

Now the drugs I take to counter the side effects of the drugs I'm taking to counter the side effects of the twins, Clyde and Dave (follow that?):

Claritan - don't ask me why - but that white blood cell shot I took apparently causes bone pain and the Claritan helps that (had to take it for the first five nights after the shot).

Immodium AD - well you saw that colase one, well apparently, eventually, not being stuffy, could lead to being rather ... loose ... shall we say. So you need this to get somewhat stuffy again. Luckily, I haven't needed this yet.

What's funny, is that all this is for the girl whose mother had to chase her around the house, tackle her and pin her down in order to get her to take cough medicine. I've always said, God possesses nothing, if not a sense of irony.

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Other Thinks (14)


Holy moley, what a chemical cocktail. And then there's the stash with the J word. God may have a sense of irony, but at least you also have a sense of humor - thinking of you.


I'm not sure if G-d had any role in this. But thankfully many scientists did.

Boy that is some massive chemistry. Some of those are pretty strange. I can't get over the colase-immodium. I guess they need to cover all bases.

My dad used to take Ativan. I think it is mainly an anti-anxiety drug but it will help you sleep. I sneaked a few from him when I was taking care of my parents after my mother's stroke in the mid-90's. They were great mellowers but do watch out taking them regularly. I do remember how when I got back to work, I was really brain dead for a day or so until it got out of my system. Couldn't come up with names or do simple math. Hmmm... kinda like what it is like now with senior amnesia. :)


Kim, that slogan dates back to the 1930s when DuPont's PR folks came up with it. Actually, it was originally "Better Things for Better Living … Through Chemistry.”

A slogan like that simply cries out to be mocked or at least used with heavy irony. But in your case, I really, reallly hope it's true! Better living through chemicals.

BTW, are you baking hash brownies for the holidays? That could lead to better living, too.

Yikes! Do you glow in the dark, yet? Sheeesh, that's a truckload! Still, when it does what it is meant to do, then that's the ticket, isn't it?

Ativan is on my night table...well, actually in the drawer of the night table...and it is my stand-by when I have a problem sleeping. I get break-through pain during the night and cannot get a good night's sleep sometimes. Ativan helps. I sleep like a baby with only 1/2 of a pill. And you know how tiny those are! So it's pretty powerful for me.

It is also addictive, and Marta's right about feeling the effects afterwards, as well...if I have too much of it in my system, I can tell! (Too much would be more than 2 nights in a row with a half tablet each night.)

So, only when necessary, and usually when stressed, pop a half tablet under my tongue, and "Nightie-night!"

It is amazing you are coherent after all the chemicals running rampant in your body.

I can confirm that ativan is an anti-anxiety drug. I was initially prescribed it after my mom passed away. I now take it when I fly and when I go to the dentist. I usually cut the pills in half, especially if I need to be alert.


I knew that slogan was from DuPont, but now I'm trying to figure out why I knew that. I wonder if they had a pavilion at the Worlds Fair in New York in the 60's. An awful lot of commercial stuff was permanently imprinted on my young, impressionable brain from that fair.

I know what you mean about not wanting to take anything. I still can't make myself take even vitamins regularly ... but I know I ought to.


Hey Kim-

Thanks so much for keeping us up to date...wishing you well.

Hugs to you!


Wow muchas drogas Kim. I love the nicknames! The whole counter acting the counteracting is weird. Although the unstuffy to stuffy part made me laugh so hard!

If they could turn your sense of humor into a drug, they would give it to the other chemo patients, and THEY would have to take an extra pill that you don't!

Hang in there! Kill those nasty cells with whatever it takes.


Hi Kim,

Neupogen is the name of the drug that helps make your WBC'S.

There's a new anti nausea patch that seems to work, slap it on and it does it's thing.I think it may be better than swallowing pills.

I love your day by day chemo journey. I wish I had your blog when I treated some of my patients.

Hi Kim,

I've followed you over here from Slow Travel. I was diagnosed with colon cancer (with metastasis to liver and peritoneum) last May and have been doing the surgery/chemo/surgery thing ever since, with more chemo coming up in January.

Sucks, doesn't it?

It's good to hear you have some great support and also maintain a wicked sense of humour.

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Thanks Ida. I'll ask about the patch tomorrow.

Azahar, I'm so sorry to hear that. Yes, it sucks totally but you know, what everyone says, hang in there. Too bad you're on the other side of the pond, we could be chemo buddies!

Well, we could be cyber chemo buddies!

Please feel free to stop by my blog and say hello. Like you, I mix it up there so the cancer stuff is together with the other life stuff ... as it should be!

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