I keep a diary of my poop.
Maybe that doesn’t impress you. Lots of people keep personal health diaries about what their body is doing. Only I’ve taken it a step further.
I also email a group of people about my poop every twelve hours.
That’s right. There’s a group of people in Houston, Texas who are waiting to hear about my latest poop. They’ve essentially subscribed to a poopletter. It’s not that my poop is super fascinating. Or engaging. I’m not doing this for the fun of it. It turns out that the immunotherapy that’s fighting my cancer could also be attacking my intestines. This is serious business, and needs to be monitored.
Not being one for formality, I’ve titled my poopletter “the diarrhea diaries.” And I’ve graded each poop in detail. There’s a scale of liquidity and volume, each ranked on a one to five basis. Trust me, you don’t want to see what a 5/5 liquidity and 5/5 volume event looks like.
The reason for this is that the drug I’m on is experimental. If things go wrong, they could go horribly wrong. So there’s a team of people constantly monitoring things, ready for action if something should go too far south.
You think being a cancer patient with diarrhea is bad? Imagine being a doctor. You’re on a romantic dinner with your wife, on a well-earned Saturday night and you have to open an email titled “diarrhea diaries” from your patient. Because your patient’s life depends on it.
In-between appetizers and the main course, you’re reading about liquidity of poop. And volume of poop. I never realized the ripple effects of a single poop until now.
Luckily, the major events have been disrupted, and I’m enjoying a more “regular” life this week. With my condition improving, the Diarrhea Diaries are published less frequently, and I believe that my doctor can now safely plan for a romantic dinner date on Saturday night.
And that’s how it happens. One day you’re just going to the bathroom with a smartphone in hand, and the next day you’re the author of a well-read eNewsletter about poop liquidity.
That’s what it’s like to have cancer. Don’t laugh. It could happen to you.