Just when I think cancer can’t get any more awkward to discuss, I get a champion case of hemorrhoids. I’m not talking a little burning or itching type discomfort. Oh, no. I’m talking screaming blinding pain during bowel movements and feeling like my butthole is en fuego for hours at a time. You want to stop any conversation dead in its tracks, bring up hemorrhoids. Guaranteed to make you a social pariah. Consequently, I don’t share this part of my side effect woes with any of my pals. However, I promised a down and dirty helpful discussion blog, no matter how icky the subject – so, let’s chat about my ass.
Hemorrhoids are painful and oddly hard to spell. They are basically a blister on the inside or outside of your butthole. Lots and lots of cancer patients get them from basic inactivity and/or GI problems related to their treatment. Having colon cancer, or cancer of the upper butt, I’ve got all kinds of issues in this department. Most of the time, they go away in a few days and the infamous Preparation H will alleviate most of the pain and burning. However, since I do nothing in a half-assed fashion, I have whopper hemorrhoids inside and out that bleed and can possibly get (gulp) infected. Should you find yourself in this situation, you may also experience the joys of anal fissures. Oh yes, internal and external cuts in your anal area. Seriously gross and painful.
In this case, my doc handed me a prescription and a box of latex gloves. The script was for a special blend of Vaseline and …I’m not kidding here…nitroglycerine. Nitro. I now have concerns that if I sit down with any force, my ass will literally explode. Is my butt a biohazard, or perhaps in need of protection from an aging American Gladiator? You can imagine the questions. Essentially, you have to put on the dreaded glove and apply a numbing cream to the area. Even the numbing cream freakin burns to a degree, so this is not something you want to attempt as you’re just about to run out the door. (Frankly, you won’t be running anywhere any time soon.) Then you have to stick your gloved finger in the possibly combustible jar of goo and eventually, you guessed it, up your ass. My doc actually uttered the words, “make sure you go up to at least the first knuckle.” OMG! Did I not mention that my butthole REALLY REALLY REALLY HURTS?!!? Are you freakin kidding me? First knuckle? At least I got some free gloves out of him.
My heart goes out to any and all of you with large hands. I have become particularly dexterous with my pinky. I am also thinking of starting a scholarship fund for petite female med students to specialize in lower GI. Every time I have an appointment to see a new doctor I seriously wish and hope for a 5 ft gal that weighs about 105 pounds. Someone like Sarah Jessica Parker, but less kooky. Next time you shake hands with your doctor, take a good look. If they played college basketball, you’re screwed.