Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Neulasta and Claritin

Neulasta is the name of the (expensive) shot that my oncologist ordered to boost my white blood cell count. The shot did do its job. My white blood cell count did go up dramatically. But, my first experience was, how shall I put it, H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. There was severe lower back pain, body aches, chills, lack of appetite, and a lot of discomfort. When I looked it up on the internet, I wasn't alone.

When I talked to my oncologist about this, she told me to take Claritin with it. For some weird, unexplained reason, it seemed to soften the side effects in certain people. I have to tell you, I was a bit skeptical. Claritin? After those crazy side effects that I had had?

The morning that I was supposed to give myself the shot, I remembered the Claritin. But, I had forgotten to buy the Claritin. I also wasn't supposed to be around crowds because my white blood cell count had gone so low. So, I had to call my poor husband to get some for me. He had to go to the drug store, get the Claritin, drop it off at home, and then, go back to church.

I took the Claritin, waited an hour, and gave myself the Neulasta shot. This was the second time giving myself the shot, and it was so much better than the first time. And yes, I remembered to wash my hands. I took a breath (didn't have to take a deep breath) and plunged in with the needle. Not bad. Truthfully, after seeing the tiny needle of this shot, it seemed like nothing compared to the big, thick needle they used for my port.

Giving the shot slowly also seemed to help minimize the pain in the shot location. And, I have to say that the side effects were less severe and shortened, compared to the last time. My back still hurt, but it wasn't as bad as the first time. I still didn't have much of an appetite nor did I want to go near strong smelling/tasting foods (Korean food). My comfort was knowing that the side effects only lasted a week. I was really thankful for that.

But overall, the Claritin helped. It did soften the side effects. I took it once a day for 4-5 days. If you are about to give yourself the Neulasta shot, take Claritin!

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