Friday, October 14, 2011

The sting - 10/14/2011

And... they're off!

This morning I had to go LabCorp to get more blood drawn - this time, it's to set a "baseline" of my chemical blood counts before the injections of filgrastim begin. My veins, while visible and pretty easy to find, are apparently "rolly" and don't particularly like getting stuck with needles. The lab tech had to stab me twice before she hit gold, so to speak. But - no bruise. YAY!

After the blood draw, I dropped Mr. Awesome off at work and headed to the Community Blood Center on Main street. I've driven past the blood center probably hundreds of times, but I'd never been inside until today. It's a big, two-story building with lots of rooms inside. It's obvious the place has been remodeled again and again - it had the same "I was once interesting and now I'm blah" feel that remodeled business spaces tend to have. But the furniture in the waiting area was modern and comfortable, and all of the people I met who worked at the center were nice.

A nurse took me into a small room and asked me general questions, like if I had any skin rashes, or had thrown up or fainted in the last 24 hours (So if I threw up for 6 hours two days ago, but not in the last 24 hours, all is well? Okie dokie!). They took my blood pressure and temperature (both normal) and then we headed to the second floor of the building.

I was weighed to see how much of the drug I needed to receive, then we headed into an "apheresis room" for the injection. The room had a couple of those big reclining leather dental-type chairs that are associated with blood donation, a couple of small televisions, and a conference table with some syringes and cotton balls and stuff on it. Those, it turned out, were for me.

I had a seat, and the nurse asked where I wanted to receive the shots - I would be getting two shots, because all of the dose wouldn't fit in one. I asked her where she recommended since she is the expert, and she said the upper arm. Alrighty.  I pulled up my sleeve, and she injected the filgrastim.

Honesty time again.

Filgrastim is, apparently, the consistency of corn syrup. It's thick. You know what that means? It means it hurts like a mutherclucker when it's injected into an arm. It puts up a fight. It felt like I was getting stung by a bee for about 7 seconds, and just when I thought I could take no more, it was over. The stinging stopped, and the pain was gone. Then I got to do it again in the other arm.

So, the truth is, this first injection of filgrastim hurt. But it only hurt for 7 seconds, then it was over. I'm not looking forward to hurting for 7 seconds on each of the next four mornings, but 35 seconds is practically nothing.

After the injections, I had to wait around for 20 minutes to make sure I didn't have a horrible allergic reaction that required the use of the EpiPen that the nurse carried with her from the first room upstairs into the apheresis room. Nothing terrible happened, so I was free to go.

It's been about three hours since I had my injection, and I feel a tiny, tiny bit fuzzyheaded. Sort of like how it feels when you wake up from a nap in the middle of the afternoon. I don't think I can attribute this to the filgrastim - I think it's because I didn't get to have my coffee as early as I normally do. The injection sites on my arm itch just a itty-bitty bit. Other than that, no issues. No bone pain, or nausea, or anything of concern. I hope I can still say that later on today.

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