The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.

Tutu Brothers

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Ode To Interferon

Regrettably, interferon is still the only FDA-approved treatment for Stage III melanoma patients. Although my biochemo cocktail included interferon injections, I can’t imagine what it must be like to undergo even the first month of high-dose interferon infusions, much less another eleven months of lower-dose injections.

All I know for sure is that my first dose of interferon was a contributing factor to my getting into big trouble with a very kind nurse named Johanna. After kicking off my very first round of biochemo around noon, Johanna took a look at her watch and told me “things would start happening” around 1:30. On her way out the door, she admonished me to hit the call button at the first hint of any discomfort so she could stay out ahead of nausea and fever side effects by boosting the dosage of various medications I was receiving along with the treatment cocktail.

Well, that cocktail decked me in just under ninety minutes with a ‘shock and awe’ assault the likes of which I’ll never, ever forget. It all came on so fast that by the time my wife summoned Johanna I was, among other things, shaking and quaking with a very high fever brought on, mostly, by the interferon. Consequently, Johanna had to try everything she could think of, short of laying on top of me, to get those violent shakes under control before giving up and knocking me out cold with a big shot of Demerol into the IV line. But not before she delivered a rather stern lecture about my failure to hit that call button before things got out of control. Yikes. Trust me, in round two I did as I was told.

For nurse Johanna and all who’ve endured the shakes and quakes from interferon treatments, here’s a new version of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”…

AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long by hushhush112

She was a nurse machine
She kept my PICC line clean
She was the toughest woman that I ever seen
She had the kindest eyes
Tellin' me no lies
Knockin' me out with those nice Demerol highs
Takin' more than my share
Had me begging for care
She told me to call but I was already there
'Cause my bod was shakin’
My bed was quakin'
My bones were achin'
’Cause I was takin' it and you -

Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long

Pumpin' double time
In my infusion line
It was not very kind, it blew vital signs
Gettin’ no applause
From my chemo nurse
Heard my Demerol plea, and gave me some more
Had to cool me down
Before another round
Then I'm back in the ring to take another swing
'Cause my bod was shakin’
My bed was quakin'
My bones were achin'
’Cause I was takin' it and you -

Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long
Knocked me out and then you
Shook me all night long
Then I kept quakin' and you
Shook me all night loooong
Yeah you shook me
Well, you took me

You really took me and you
Shook me all night long
Oaaaaaahhhhhh you shook me all night long
Yeah yeah you
Shook me all... night... long
Ya really took me and you
Shook me all night long

Yeah you shook me, yeah you shook me
All night loooong!


  1. LOL!!!! Love it, especially since I'm currently experiencing the side effects of the Interferon. I made it through round 1 of the IV infusions (barely) along with losing 30 pounds. I started the self injections last night, reassured by the oncologist that the self injections rarely caused the nausea/vomiting like the intense IV infusion did.........WRONG! Between the fever, the shaking, and the nausea/vomiting, it was a very rough night.......not sure that I can do this for the next 11 months.

  2. Love this!! Brought back memories of my first dose-I didn't know I could shake that hard!