Tag Archive | venofer

Iron infusions

I had my third iron infusion on Thursday, accompanied once again by my friend Rush. I was scheduled to start at 3:00, but didn’t get in until 3:30 which was unfortunate, since it takes two hours for the infusion. It’s shorter than a day of chemo, but still would be pushing 6:00 by the time the infusion and the half-hour observation period following the infusion was done. Luckily, I got the go ahead from one of the resident hematologists that I didn’t have to sit around for a half an hour afterwards since I’d already had two infusions and no reaction.

The bag of Venofer dripping into my veins.

The bag of Venofer dripping into my veins. It kind of looks like root beer in the bag.

I’m hoping this was my final iron infusion. I appreciate the extra energy I’m getting from having a full hemoglobin and hemocrit count (I’m assuming), but I don’t appreciate the side effects of the Venofer. The first two times, it really affected my taste buds and made everything taste flat. It also leads to a sore throat. I asked the nurse if there was anything I could do to prevent or minimize the sore throat, but she had never heard of that particular side effect. Apparently I got an uncommon one. We eventually decided to try some Tylenol PM – Tylenol for the pain and a bit of Benedryl to see if perhaps there was an allergic reaction going on.

It seems that the third time is a charm, or perhaps my body just needs to get used to the new drugs, but I haven’t had the taste changes this time around. That has made me happy because I get cranky when I’m hungry and can’t (or don’t want to) eat. I can feel a bit of a sore throat hanging around, so I doubt I’ll avoid that particular side effect. Better stop at the pharmacy soon!

The best part of the whole day was going out to dinner afterwards. I had planned on it, since I knew I’d be late getting out. We were out just after six and headed to the Thai place in downtown Erie. I love noodle dishes, but it is not child friendly, so we never go as a family. This was a perfect night to go. I didn’t get my all time favorite dish of Pad Thai, since I didn’t want it to taste bad. Instead I had Drunken Noodles which were quite tasty and full of veggies. After dinner, it was finally time to head home and hear how the family did without for the afternoon.

Elements added: Ironiron

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?

Feeling icky

Alternate title: The iron infusion seems to be working

One thing I find fascinating about the time after chemo is how alike and yet not the side effects are. The major side effects seem to ebb and flow in a similar pattern, but each time has had unique aspects to it. Let me give you some examples.

The first time around, I was completely exhausted in the week following chemo. I’m sure it was a combination of I wasn’t as careful to rest (because I didn’t know what the fatigue would feel like) and the chemo drugs were doing quite a number on my cells. Regardless, I was tired, and as an added bonus, not hungry for several days. The second time around, I wasn’t near as tired (my kids being out of the house for several days probably contributed to that as well as me taking better care of myself), but my mouth just tasted nasty all the time.

This time around, I’m even less tired (I haven’t napped, although I have laid down to rest my eyes at times), but I don’t really have the energy to do much of anything. It’s a weird dichotomy flipping between I’m not tired enough to nap, but I’m not energetic enough to do anything but sit on the couch. Frankly, I’ve gotten bored the past two days and that just means I think more about the low-level nausea that’s pretty much constant, and I feel icky. (In case you’re wondering, icky is a technical term, thank you very much.)

StatsGuy did manage to put it in a positive note – the Venofer infusion I had at the end of chemo has probably given me a boost of energy that I didn’t have the past two times. Instead of sleeping through the icky feeling, I’m awake during it. Too bad I don’t have enough energy to actually DO something. Oh well, I did make myself a note of things I could do that didn’t take much energy, so I’ll have to try to check something off that list tomorrow instead of just being bored.