My reward for getting to self-inject my interferon was one of the worst reactions I've had since starting the drug back in April. I picked up the prescription at Fred Meyer yesterday afternoon, and then did the injection myself in the chemo lab at the clinic. I wanted to make sure I got it right, with some oversight by an oncology nurse. That was at about 5. By 7, I was in bed, shaking and teeth chattering in the summer heat. I looked like a heroin junkie in withdrawal.
The chills eventually passed, but I was reminded by this episode that resuming therapy after a three-week hiatus comes at a cost. I feel sort of achy and tired today. The four of us are headed to an Ogle family reunion on the coast this weekend, so I’m planning to have the nurses do the injection early tomorrow morning. That way I can get through whatever the interferon throws at me before we leave, and hopefully feel pretty good for the rest of the weekend. The interferon that’s mixed up by the nurses is less concentrated (but the same dose) than the multiuse pen, which may explain my reaction. The self-injection process is a no-brainer, which is a good thing considering my mental status these days.
It looks like it will take a while to get into a groove with the self-injections. Now that I’ve come through surgery, infusions and radiation (cut, poison and burn), my regimen over the next 10 months or so looks do-able. For now, I plan to tweak the program until I find a way to take the drug and not be made its slave. If things were to continue the way they went last night, I would probably quit. There’s still the issue of white blood cell counts and liver function to consider. If either of them goes haywire, as they did during the infusions, my oncologist would probably want me to suspend treatment. There are a lot of unknowns to deal with.
Unfortunately, I’m not the only one in the family facing medical issues. Ellen has been troubled by sciatic pain for months, and the MRI last week showed two partially herniated disks in her lower back. So for her birthday present today, we’re treating her to a lumbar injection. Our hope is that the steroids will allow the nerves to settle down enough that Ellen can pursue therapy to treat her back. I told her last night that I didn’t appreciate the competition she’s given me for people’s sympathies. One medical case in the family is enough.
By the way, if you’d like to send Ellen a birthday greeting, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.