Each month I have a routine. My parents usually come to our house and watch the kids. Then, my husband and I drive to the hospital. I go to the lab, write my name on the board, and wait for my turn. When they call my name, I go to one of the little rooms to get four vials of blood drawn. Each time I pray that I will get a technician who will be gentle when she pokes for a vein. Most of the time, they are gentle. Once in a while, they aren't so gentle.
One of the technicians showed me a trick when getting blood drawn. Just before getting poked with the needle, take a deep breath. It really helps. Also, don't look. I never do.
After going to the lab, I go upstairs to my oncologist's office. She examines me, checks my surgery scars, and answers any questions that I might have. She also coordinates between all the specialists that I have to visit. She has meetings with them and tells me what I have to do.
Then, I go across the street to another building. I go to an outpatient lab and wait for my shots. The first is my Xgeva shot. This binds with the calcium in my blood and brings it to my bones. This helps the cancer in my spine. It is given on the back of my upper arm. This one really, really hurts. I don't know how to describe it. I have to brace myself before this one. It burns. It makes my arm feel like it is slowly dying... not exaggerating. It makes me tap my foot in expectation of the shot being over. The nurses have tried to give it quickly and slowly. Either way, it hurts... a lot.
Since my cancer diagnosis, I have been poked and prodded more than I can count. From being poked repeatedly for my thyroid and breast biopsies, poked for blood samples, poked for IVs for MRIs and CT scans, poked for shots... I thought I had been pretty tough in enduring these pokes and prods. Then, I came across my Xgeva shot.
After my Xgeva shot, the nurse prepares the Lupron shot. This shot is my menopause shot. It shuts down my ovaries so that they don't produce any more estrogen. Estrogen is not my friend because it is what fueled my breast cancer. This shot is given on my hip. The nurses showed me a trick to help alleviate the pain of a shot on the hip. You have to take the weight off of the side that you are getting your shot. It works. I mean, it's still a shot, but it is bearable.
My routine usually takes 4 hours from home to hospital to home again. When I come home, I don't want to do anything. My children are warned not to squeeze or run into Mommy. I am covered in bandaids but am usually back to normal after a few hours.