Tag Archive | neulasta

Neulasta shot unboxing

After chemo, I get a Neulasta shot to boost my bone marrow production so my red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet counts don’t fall too low. My red blood cells have had a hard time staying in the normal range, but (knock on wood), the white blood cells and platelets are staying in the normal range.

The Neulasta is a specialty product, so I can’t just order it for my local pharmacy and pick it up on my way to get the shot. Instead, a specialized pharmacy has to ship it to the Regional Cancer Center and I bring it home with me after chemo to take to my primary care provider’s office the next day. After my first chemo, I was handed a little baggie with the shot enclosed in a small box. For my second cycle, no one realized we’d have to reorder the shot, so it wasn’t available for me to take home. Instead, I had to drive back to the Regional Cancer Center the next day for my shot. We’ve since set it up so the it gets ordered every time.

These past two times I’ve gotten my Neulasta in it’s original packaging. It’s so impressive, I thought I’d do a little unboxing ceremony like they do for new board games.

Start with the cardboard box:

The shipping box

The shipping box – a little blurry, sorry.

Open up the box and what do you get?

The internal styrofoam box

The internal styrofoam box that fits the shipping box exactly.

Open the styrofoam and what do you get?

The best cold packs ever.

The best cold packs ever.

The Neulasta needs to be kept cold, so it’s shipped with three cold packs. These are the best cold packs I’ve ever owned. They stay frozen in the car for over 24 hours. Anyone want some? I get three new ones each time I get a shot!

Take out the cold packs, and what do you find?

The packaging for the shot.

The packaging for the shot.

The actual packaging for the shot. I should have put something in there for scale, but it’s about the size of my hand, while the box it comes in takes just about both arms to wrap around. No worries about this little thing getting broken in transit! While I appreciate what the shot does for me, I don’t appreciate how it makes me feel (fits right in there with the chemo). It’s the most painful shot I can remember having – along the lines of a tetanus shot – and then it makes my bones hurt for a couple of days. But, eyes on the prize – the chemo is working on shrinking that tumor down to nothing.

 

 

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Glad that week is over

Sometimes I hope, when I’m writing down all my symptoms, that next time will be easier because I’ll know what to expect. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be the case. This was a hard week for me. Tuesday was probably the worst. Not only did my whole body hurt from my Neulasta shot (just feel that bone marrow growing. Too bad it’s growing in an enclosed space – inside my bones!), but my throat hurt whenever I swallowed. I felt like I was in Bill Cosby’s tonsillitis sketch. The internal monologue would go something like this:

BRAIN: Hello, throat. How’s it going?

THROAT: Oh, I’m just fine, thanks.

BRAIN: OK, then, the mouth seems to need to swallow. Can you do that for us?

THROAT: No thanks, I’m good.

BRAIN: No really. We need a swallow here.

THROAT: Oh, alright. POW!!! FLAMES IN THE THROAT!!! MAJOR PAIN!!! Um, can we not do that again anytime soon.

BRAIN: Sure, no problem. Sorry about that.

It’s really hard to go to sleep when every time you swallow, the pain from your throat wakes you up. Normally with a sore throat, I’d load up on the vitamin C, drink a bunch of honey and lemon tea, and gargle with salt water before bed. Don’t want to mess up the chemo drugs, so the vitamin C is out  and my chemo-altered taste buds are telling me that honey and lemon tastes nasty, so we’re down to gargling with salt water. At least it didn’t make me nauseous. By the next morning, nothing hurt near as badly, but I did need a morning nap to make up for all the sleeping I didn’t do the night before.

Friday, the day after another infusion, brought its own set of trials and tribulations. It seems that the Venofer is affecting mostly my mouth, so everything tastes off. This was extremely frustrating to me because I was hungry, but nothing I ate tasted good. Not everything tastes bad, but it all feels wrong in my mouth. Even my lemony water wasn’t cutting it anymore. Gatorade had gone back to tasting like spit, but plain water was nasty and tea was worse. I probably got a little dehydrated because I had to force myself to drink and eat all day. By the end of the day I was biting my tongue to keep from snapping at everyone.

Even now, a few days later, my mouth is still not back to normal. Eating is just not enjoyable, even when I’m hungry and my husband makes tasty meals. The good news is I have one more infusion, and then I’m done. I should be able to maintain my iron levels with diet once the Venofer brings them back up to normal levels. Always have to find the bright side, right?