I have an itch . . .

For about 2 months now I have been dealing with completely random attacks of extreme itching.

At first I thought that I was just having an allergic reaction to the detergent we use to wash our clothes. I had Carey buy some dye and scent-free detergent and it seemed to work. For a week or two at least. Then it started up again.

Then I thought maybe the dog had fleas – yeah, that was the cause of my itching. So we bought flea dip, washed the dog’s bed, and refused to let her crawl in bed with us as she is wont to do occasionally. It seemed to work. For a week or two. Then it started up again.

It began to dawn on me that my itching wasn’t normal. I had no hives. No rash. No bumps or marks of any kind. Just a random itch that was so severe that it was, literally, painful.

I wake up in the middle of the night scratching my thighs and back madly. I absently scratch my belly and chest as I watch television.

Last weekend, Carey and I were driving and I was hit by an itch attack. This time, though, I determined to ignore it. I learned that scratching the itch only makes it worse – it stays with me.

My lower back was itching. Initially I scratched it and made the appropriate near-orgasmic noises that accompany a really good scratch. But it just wouldn’t stop itching. As I was driving, my gyrations were causing the car to swerve dangerously and Carey was getting nervous.

So I determined to ignore the itch. And I was reminded of the Frank Herbert novel “Dune.” Young Paul Atreides received his “humanity test” from the Reverend Mother. The concept is that only a “human” could resist the baser instincts – animals have no choice but to react to stimuli that a human could ignore.

So Paul places his hand in the gom jabbar, a device that stimulates nerve endings. It starts as an itch and moves to pain then to unbearable pain. An “animal” would yank his hand out and fail the test (and therefore die) but a human would be able to resist the urge to pull away and endure the pain and thus pass the test (and live to tell the tale).

I failed my humanity test – my gom jabbar bested me and were I in the Dune universe I would have been slain for being merely an animal.

I managed to resist the itch for a minute, maybe 90 seconds, before it bested me. I was rocking in my seat as I drove, making low growls and whimpers as I tried to resist the urge to itch. Carey was laughing at my plight; I’m sure I made quite a spectacle of myself.

Finally, the itch won and, with a cry of tormented failure and anticipatory ecstasy, I scratched the itch.

So where is my itch coming from?

My best guess is that it’s a chronic side-effect of my chemotherapy. I have done a little research and it seems that there is a possibility of this happening, but I can find no specific reference to itching and the specific chemo drug I was on.

I suppose I’ll have to contact my oncologist – all because I have an itch. sigh.

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