Going Platinum

You can go platinum by either selling 10 million albums or by having the stuff injected directly into your veins, which is the route I’m taking.

I just finished my 23rd round of chemo. I should have a chair named after me in the clinic. I’ve tried to talk the nurses into a Rewards Card for frequent customers. Something like, get nine treatments and your tenth one is free. As much as these pharmaceuticals cost, that would be a five-figure savings.

The drug of choice for this chemo six-pack is Cisplatin, which is a form of platinum. Why put a cancer causing poison into your body to fight cancer. One word: Apoptosis.

Apoptosis is “a normal, genetically regulated process leading to the death of cells triggered by the presence or absence of certain stimuli, such as DNA damage. Also called programmed cell death.”

Between 50 and 70 billion cells die daily due to apoptosis in the average healthy adult. Cells that ignore their genetic instructions and refuse to die result in several potentially terminal diseases, including cancer.

Cisplatin causes cross-linking that damages the RNA or DNA, which causes apoptosis in cancer cells. (It may also interfere with the proteins that carry signals back and forth from the nucleus to the membrane.) It is given in lower doses along with radiation to administer a one-two punch to stubborn cancers.

But Cisplatin also encourages apoptosis in healthy cells, hence the side effects:

Chemotherapy is most effective at killing cells that are rapidly dividing. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between the cancerous cells and the normal cells. The normal cells will grow back and be healthy but in the meantime, side effects occur. The cells most commonly affected are the blood cells, the cells in the mouth, stomach and bowel, and the hair follicles.

The upside of taking a risk on the downside is the possibility of staying topside for a while longer.

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