My CO-1686: A Re-Boot of Another Kind

My CO-1686 clinical trial’s three-week tests examine thirty eight (38) items in my blood including white and red corpuscle counts, cholesterol, liver and kidney enzymes, potassium, etc. etc. I keep hoping an item called “lineage” will be added to the list to help trial participants to uncover without the help of their DNA ties to queens and emperors. I personally would love to confirm my older sister’s claim that our royalty origins had recently been traced to the ancient King of Pirates of the Pacific high seas.

I’ve been taking the Clovis trial drug for 15 months now. Cups of my blood have been separated from me and analyzed in the laboratories. The analyses have always yielded good results except for the eight-month Clovis-induced hyperglycemia and the one-time low magnesium reading. Thankfully, both high glucose and low magnesium issues resolved. Otherwise with zero side effects, I have probably discussed with trial Oncs more non-cancer issues than cancer issues, including the now-resolved Metformin-caused total appetite loss and three urinary tract infection (UTI) events. The most recent non-cancer problem in the discussion block was overactive bladder.

What’s with this nasty overactive bladder anyway? Frequent urination, the symptom of overactive bladder, forced me to revisit my alma mater Google University and audit some courses. Overactive bladder, according to my professor Dr. Web, is a problem with bladder-storage function that causes a sudden urge to urinate. The urge may be difficult to stop, and overactive bladder may lead to the involuntary loss of urine, a malady also called incontinence, which means you can’t help but pee in your pants. Now THAT DEFINITELY got me shaking in my z-coil shoes!

Fortunately, the overactive bladder symptoms intensified a few days before my scheduled three-week visit at UCI. Awesome, I thought. I can challenge the Hot Shot Doc when he asks, “Do you have any problems?”

Flashback June 10, 2015 at UCI

After the initial brief exchange of pleasantries, Hot Shot Doc and Tiger X Kitten (that would be me) proceeded to the business at hand.

“Do you have any problems?” Doc asked, as expected.

“Nothing related to the Clovis trials,” I answered. “It’s probably an old age thing. I have been having this overactive bladder. I’m losing sleep over it.”

“Welcome to the club!” chimed one of the youngish nurses in the room. The fact that other people also suffer from overactive bladders grabbed my attention completely and utterly by surprise. It happens when the patient thinks the whole world revolves around her.

I wanted to do a filibuster to showcase my knowledge on overactive bladder but decided I better not after it dawned on me that I don’t call the shots in Club Med. The trial honchos could throw me out in a heartbeat. Or a nodule.

End of flashback.

Talk about responsiveness! The following day, I picked up the prescription drug Extended-Release Oxybutynin at Walgreens. Hot Shot Doc had given me the weapon to force my overactive bladder into submission. I’m loving this UCI trial site!

I studied the ER Oxybutynin literature. It treats overactive bladder.. blah..blah..blah. Among the side effects: dryness of the mouth, lessening of perspiration and urine, constipation, gas. I read up on other people’s opinion of the drug. For the most part, users praise it to high heavens. A few users curse its side effects. The drug manufacturer warned, “Do not cut these pills,” undoubtedly directed at me. Word gets around.

The time to take the drug came and in seven days the ER Oxybutynin pills were history. The effect on my problem was astonishing.

Before: without ER Oxybutynin: Frequent urination of normal amount

After: Change after 7 days of ingesting ER Oxybutynin: Frequent difficult urination of less amount, constipation, gas, dryness of the mouth

Unchanged: Number of squats!

Boy, howdy! I did what every red-blooded cancer survivor would do. I stopped taking ER Oxybutynin cold turkey. Within three days, my elimination system returned to normal: bladder not too active anymore. Supported by my medical degree from Google University, my opinion is that the constipation and gas had caused the bowels to knock around the overactive bladder, forcing it to re-learn its correct function. My body had re-booted! My bladder is fresh from rehab. The event reminds me of the induced hyperglycemia and (2000mg, then 1500mg) Metformin. After I had stopped all medication for three days, the glucose readings returned to normal, necessitating elimination of Metformin. Please be reminded of the mother of all disclaimers: Nothing in here is meant to offer medical advice. I am not a physician, nurse, or doula. What I am is a retired professional engineer, a civil engineer, whose main concern in my heyday was to make sure the drainage hole in the ground designed to collect flood water was not high and dry.

Is my body like a cellphone or what! When the cellphone suddenly refuses to budge, turn it off, remove the battery, put it back in, turn the phone on, and voila! There she goes again. Of course, everybody knows sooner or later that ol’ battery will conk out for good. And that’s another story, another day.

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