Just take a Tylenol

What are the most common side effects of Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim)?
The most common side effect you may experience is aching in the bones and muscles. If this happens, it can usually be relieved with a nonaspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen.”

My white blood counts dropped while I was in the hospital so on Saturday I had to get a shot of Neulasta.  It stimulates the bone marrow and promotes the growth of white blood cells.  Based on the above information that I was given when I got the shot, I figured it wouldn’t be too bad.

While looking up more information about it, I found this picture:


I have no idea what the heck it means.  Weird.

So I got the shot Saturday morning and didn’t really feel anything.  Went about my business and had no effects.  Until last night.

I went to one of my cancer support groups and on the way there started to feel this pressure in my lower back.  As I sat through the session the pain started to spread and get worse.  By the time I got home it felt like someone was trying to scrape the muscles off of my bones. Tylenol my ass.
I would say I’m about a 6.  Not fun.

pain - real pain scale

I realize that everyone reacts to medication very differently.  I have also come to realize that I tend to have different and more extreme reactions to medications.  I should’ve expected this.  However, in reading more about this drug it seems that quite a few people experience pain that is a bit more than just taking an aspirin will relieve.

I ended up taking Vicodin and managed to get some sleep last night.  Cats slept on me all night.  I’d like to think they were trying to do their part in helping me heal but they were probably just cold.  Either way is was a nice snuggle.

I woke up this morning feeling like I was in a car accident.  Each and every one of the 206 bones in my body seemed to have something to say today.  Took more Vicodin and I’m feeling better.  For now.  Can’t take too much since I still need to take care of the kids later this afternoon. Don’t really want to model “high mom” today.
Hopefully my bones will stop screaming and this will pass soon.


The Bloody Big Bang Barfing Bust

Going to see the taping of The Big Bang Theory was supposed to take my mind off of being in the hospital, not put me back in it.  Twice.

The couple of days after the taping I was wiped out.  Just exhausted.  A slow exhaustion.  Kinda like a day of gardening, teaching a toddler to swim (or giving a cat a bath), or slowly drinking through a 24 pack of Natty Ice.  Whichever you can relate to.
I knew my hemoglobin was low and figured that’s what was dragging me down.  I just had to make it to Saturday, but I didn’t.

Friday morning I woke up with a pain in my chest.  Pressure.  Kinda like the cat was sitting on me.  It didn’t get overwhelmingly bad, but got worse enough that my oncologist had me head into my favorite place, the ER.  I will say, you do get in amazingly fast if you have chest pain.  I don’t think she even had my bracelet printed out before I was heading back to my bed.

Hemoglobin was actually up, but my gallbladder decided to make it’s inflamed, diseased presence known.  They decided to keep me overnight for observation.  Not wanted my gallbladder to get all the spotlight, my hemoglobin decided to drop overnight and I needed that transplant after all.  I stayed all day for it and was released at 10pm.  And yes, I watched Big Bang Theory.

I was home just in time to go to bed so I wouldn’t miss the Easter Bunny the next morning.  He comes early around our house.  The kids are always cute searching for all the hidden treasures.  This year the Bunny put lottery tickets in a few of their eggs.  Kian won $50!
I made it to church to add my trumpet flare to “Christ The Lord Has Risen Today” and came home to catch up on housework I missed while I was in the hospital.

While I was sorting through some of our medical files, MJ reminded me that I haven’t finished my will or funeral wishes.  We did all the advance directive stuff and I was going to finish all of that at that time but didn’t.  She brought it up because it was all part of the files in front of us and it’s just one of those things you have to do as an adult.  Just stings a little bit to have to think about and do in my situation.  I know doing it now while I’m still relatively healthy will be better than when I’m starting to decline or can no longer function.  Just still sucks to have to do.

In the early afternoon I noticed my colostomy bag was quite full all of a sudden.
(No, it wasn’t that)
I know what that means…
Bleeding again!
Damn it.  I was so happy that I thought that problem was over.  I hadn’t had a bleed in a month and 1/2.  I emptied my bag and sure enough, all blood.  I sat down and put pressure on it for awhile.
Second bad filled.
Decided to take off the appliance in the shower and see what was going on.  It was quite the bleeder!  Gushing out of the stoma.  It would’ve been impressive if it wasn’t freaking me out at the time. The shower looked like a murder scene.  Psycho had nothing on this tub.  I held a rag on it for about 15 minutes before it started to stop.  I left the bag off for awhile to make sure it was done but once I suited the stoma back up?  Gush.

{{edit– Um, I know I’ve talked about my stoma quite a bit and if you still don’t know what one is and have just done a google image search, I’m sorry.  That must be quite shocking for you.  It’s actually quite a miraculous thing they can do to help save people’s lives, but yeah, it does look pretty freaky.  It’s even freakier when it’s sperting blood.}}


By the time I filled my 4th bag I was starting to not feel well and was realizing I couldn’t keep it from bleeding.  I knew I was heading back into the ER.  Damn it.
By the time I got there I had filled my 5th bag and figured I was in for at least a blood transfusion.  They checked me into One West (the oncology wing) and I settled in for the night.  Little did I know I would be there for 3 more days.

A surgeon came in to stitch up my stoma.  Blood levels were still down though so I had to have 2 more units of blood.  Got 6 total in 4 days.
Watched more Big Bang and other TV.  Did some puzzles.  Tried to do a little bit of school but  it’s hard to concentrate on when you’re not feeling well.
All things considered I still think I looked pretty good.  Me and my crazy hair.
Good thing smellovision hasn’t been invented yet though.  This pic was taken on day 2 of being in bed.  I think I look cleaner than I was :/


I had a few visitors and just passed the time until they freed me.  Once they let me go I got to go straight to chemo.  Boo.

I’m struggling more with this chemo than any I’ve had up to this point.  I get very nauseous  tired and weak.  This was the first time I actually threw up during chemo.  Luckily I made it to the bathroom in time.  It was a last minute sprint.

Once I got home and settled in from chemo, MJ and I had a discussion about school.  <sigh>  It was not what I wanted to talk about but knew she needed to have a decision made about it right away.  I still have at least 3 terms left and I’m not super motivated to get through right now.  Especially when I’m not feeling well.  It sucks to drop at this point, but I’m not really sure if getting that degree will benefit me at this point.  Hard to know.  Will I be able to work full time in 6 months?  Who knows?

I struggled through the last few days physically and emotionally.  Just drained.  Even more so than the days after the taping.  I hate those days.  I feel so trapped and it makes me wonder if I’ll ever feel normal.  And then I do.
Today is the first day I’ve felt as good as I did at the taping.  I need to remember to take advantage of these days and get as much done as I can without wiping myself out.  So today I got the blog post in 😀   -plus some other stuff.  Tomorrow?  Well see.  I still haven’t officially dropped from school yet.  If anyone has any thoughts about it, I’d love to hear.