• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 118 (Neulasta Side Effects)


    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today:  0.00 miles;  Running Total: 29.57 miles)

    Day 118 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    I spent the day in the ER.

    I woke up in the morning and my lower back felt stiff and sore. By 10am the soreness had turned into excruciating pain.

    I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t lay down.

    The only time my back didn’t hurt was if I stood very, very still with my back ramrod straight. Any movement (bending, walking, breathing) set it off again.

    I was scared to death.

    I’d heard somewhere problems with your kidneys are felt in your lower back. I called my friend Veronica and she drove me to the Emergency Room, calling Justin on the way.

    Just sitting in the car caused pain to pulse up my back. I actually cried out several times. Involuntary tears rolled down my face.

    I couldn’t sit in the waiting room chairs for long.  Gripping Veronica’s hand I wept openly in the waiting room.

    The pain came in great waves. With each wave I’d stand, take a few steps until the pain went away. I’d sit down to rest only to have the cycle start again.

    I saw a few people look at me then quickly look away. I’m sure I was quite the sight. A weeping woman in a head scarf enduring some unknown pain is cause for many a prayer to whatever higher power the viewer believes in that they never endure the same experience.

    They got me back to the exam room and hooked me up with an IV. A nurse pushed morphine into my arm.

    Oh… Morphine… Now there’s a beautiful drug.

    Veronica told me later that it made me giggly. I don’t remember giggling that much. I do remember that it dialed down the pain a little. The pain that remained still hurt like hell, but my give-a-shit factor had dropped to zero.

    The doctor ordered blood work, x-rays, and an EKG (the EKG because I told them I passed out the other night). After all the movement from the tests the morphine wore off and the pain came back with a vengeance.

    My nurse came back and pushed more into my arm.

    I think I might have said, “I love legal drug pushers”.  I’m not sure.  Maybe I just thought really loud.

    Veronica turned on the TV while we waited for Justin to get to the hospital.

    While we waited I learned something: everyone should watch Maury Povich high on morphine at least once in their life.

    Hearing the words, “Uncle Tu-Tu you are NOT the father of baby Jessica!” and then seeing Uncle Tu-Tu fling bleeped out words and obscene hand gestures at a hissing audience is so much better when you’re loaded out of your mind.

    Justin showed up, Veronica left and we waited for results.

    Today’s silver lining: Test results were all normal. Blood work, kidneys, x-rays. All of it.

    It turns out the pain is a side effect of the Neulasta injection that I received last Friday. Neulasta helps to rebuild my immune system. I was warned that Neulasta would cause ‘muscle soreness’. I’m very familiar with muscle soreness.  I experienced ‘muscle soreness’ earlier in this week and it went away in a day or two.

    This pain was nothing like ‘muscle soreness’. These were crippling back spasms.

    Clearly a writer did not compile that list of side effects. A writer would have captured the distinction between the feeling of ‘you did too many push-ups so your muscles are sore’ and ‘crippling back spasms that even morphine can’t touch’.

    And a writer would have thought to warn the reader, Be prepared… Side effects may not appear right away.  They might sneak up on you a week after injection.  Have fun!

    The ER doctor offered me the option of being admitted to the hospital for pain management or to go home with a prescription for Tylenol-3 with codeine. I opted to go home. I have no intention of spending any more time in a hospital than I have to.

    I spent the evening on the couch with two heating pads, Tylenol-3, and, on the strange advice from my oncologist, a Claritin. She said the Claritin might help with the reaction to the Neulasta.

    I don’t know if the Claritin helped so much as the Tylenol-3, but I slept for almost two and a half hours while Justin handled homework, dinner, and baths.

    All I could think before the pain medicine knocked me out: Oh goody. I get to do this three more times.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.


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3 Responsesso far.

  1. Michale Bauer says:

    Meghan, I hope your Friday was better than your Thursday! Thank goodness for painkillers, heating pads and a wonderful family. Take it easy and enjoy this cool weather.

  2. Epbj says:

    Forget virtual hugs, sending virtual drugs!

  3. […] first time I got this injection resulted in disaster.  The second time, at the advice of one of the oncology nurses, I took Claritin the day of the […]

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