THE "WOODLOUSE" POSITION
"I hate the woodlouse position of the punctures. It is not for the pain, but because it makes my flesh crawl", says Mario jokingly, to the news that Dr. Tomás Navarro just gave him: this afternoon, after chemotherapy, he will have lumbar puncture.
It´s 10.30h am and we are at consultation 8 on the sixth floor of the ICO (Catalan Institute of Oncology) at the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona. In front of Dr. Navarro stands his 63 year old friend, Mario. Mario has come for his second cycle of chemotherapy in order to treat the lymphoma he is suffering. After the consultation, he has to wait for seven boring hours. "The chemotherapy that Mario has to have contains a drug that has to be delivered very slowly", explains Dr. Navarro.
A few months ago, Mario saw a lump in his neck that slowly grew bigger and bigger. "It finally grew to 8 cm and my mouth was bleeding everyday", he explains. He was diagnosed with a B-Cell Lymphoma and the ganglion in the neck was operated on. Now he is much better, but all the stuff about the ganglion scares him a little bit. Fortunately, he is very nice and affable, taking everything in his stride with a very good sense of humour. "I'm starving", he says, "I can only have some liquids now because of the neck but, as soon as I can, I will eat everything. ¡After chemotherapy I will have to be on diet!".
Mario´s case is special because he is seropositive. That´s why, apart from chemotherapy, Dr. Navarro gives him a shot of growth factors, to ensure that there are enough defences in his organism. Dr. Navarro is a specialist in cases of people with lymphomas affected by HIV*. "It was different before, but now the case of a patient with a lymphoma and HIV is not any more serious than other cases. By being very controlled with the antiretroviral drugs, the lymphoma treatment applied is the usual one. We only have to add the growing factors to mobilize the defences. It is more a precaution than any thing else", explains the haematologist.
Mario is a little bit nervous, but happy. He likes his doctor and is very philosophical about things.
*Normally, inmunodepressed patients have Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas (NHL). Its occurence is linked to the degree of inmunodefficiency; it normally happens late in the evolution of the HIV infection, when the inmune system is very deteriorated.
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