Octreotide – explosive stuff

So for two weeks I’ve had to inject myself three times a day with a drug called “Octreotide”. It’s a “somatostatin analogue” – basically it mimics the natural “somatostatin” produced in the body which shouts “stop” at the pituitary gland to stop producing growth hormone. The octreotide version though last a bit longer than the natural one so in a way it shouts stop that bit longer! The idea has been to see how I’d react to it before going onto the monthly (long-acting) version. If you’re eating breakfast right now, then I’d suggest you come back to this posting a little later.

What a brilliant invention! Thank you Mr Roll.

What a brilliant invention! Thank you Mr Roll. My bottom prefers ones quilted with little flowers. Aaaah!

Wow – I’ve never been so grateful for the invention of the toilet roll in my whole life before. The following morning after my first two injections of octreotide resulted in rumblings in my stomach the next morning. The rumblings got louder and I felt as if Loch Ness had finally been discovered in my lower intestine. Moves were definitely afoot. I ran to the bathroom and at that moment I was very grateful to Thomas Crapper for the amazing invention of the porcelain toilet. The diarrhoea I experienced was very dramatic indeed, indeed I don’t think that even a cartoon could have captured the moment any more comically than what I was experiencing. I think on that morning I discovered the answer to the World’s energy problems. The thought went through my mind that I should convert my car to run on methane. Really.

The surprises kept on coming when I looked down (let’s face it, it’s impossible not to) to discover the colour of it to be a shade of yellow or beige. Think banana milkshake with sweetcorn. Nice. At that point I realised that I should have listened to my excellent Acromegaly nurse who kindly warned me to stay off the beer and fatty foods as it could lead to “gastrointestinal problems”. In hindsight I’d totally agree that  washing down a Lamb Jalfrezi with four pints of real ale the night before was probably not the best decision I’d ever taken. Always listen to your nurse, she always knows best, just like your mother.

I didn’t fully appreciate that the innocuous phrase “gastrointestinal problems” would lead to the re-enactment of a scene out of The Monty Python, but we learn something new every day.

Anyhow, the third invention I really appreciated that morning was the window opening mechanism. The fresh air allowed us to breathe in the house, but unfortunately I suspect that the traffic outside was probably a mass evacuation of a suspected gas leak.

Hairy belly, a full octreotide injection at the ready, and a shirt with the same colour as the early gastrointestinal 'features' of treatment.

Hairy belly, a full octreotide injection at the ready, and a shirt with the same colour as the early gastrointestinal 'features' of treatment.

The rest of the two weeks went without too much of a hitch. The mid-day injection was a bit of a pain to do as I was at work, but I was allowed use of the disabled toilet to inject myself and they very kindly put in a little yellow “sharps bin” for me. I did struggle in snapping open the little glass “ampoules” (the little glass containers that contain the Octreotide), but it did get easier.

As a rule, I injected myself around 7am, 2pm and 9pm to try and spread out the time between injections. I found it a bit difficult to completely relax in the evening because I knew I’d have to inject myself later.

The gastrointestinal problems went as quickly as they arrived – lasting only a day or so. The colour of my stools (what a great word!) turned more normal-coloured after about five days.

It’s great to be on the path of treatment, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity of living in an age when I can be treated, and by such brilliant people. I’m also grateful for my wife not throwing me out of the house clutching a toilet roll between my two chunky big hands.

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