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Always ask

I promised you Friday’s post yesterday, but you get it today. It isn’t that exciting anyway, just a cautionary tale.

I have menstrual anemia, and have for years and years. Nothing physically wrong with me, just heavy periods and associated monthly anemia. (Look, I’m blogging about colon cancer, bowels, all sorts of usually undiscussed innards. Bodies are weird, stupid, gross, and everybody’s got one.) So I’ve been taking oral iron for years, and that largely takes care of it, except for a bit of extra tiredness for a couple days a month. But oral iron can cause digestive problems, so my oncologist wanted me to stop.

Side note: My oncologist is very smart, but I don’t think he deals with many youngish women, because it took me a long time to convince him that yes, my blood levels were fine because I’ve been taking iron supplements, not because they were naturally fine. But we’ve got it figured out now, after some discussion and a new blood test. Minor moral: advocate for yourself: nobody else knows your body as well as you do.

Instead of oral iron, there’s an IV option that skips the digestive system entirely. He wanted to get the first dose into me as soon as possible after deciding I needed it. I got a call Friday morning at work: “Could you come down to the office so we can give you some IV iron?”

“Sure, what time?”

“How about 10:30?”

Perfect. I can get it over with, and get back to work.

The astute among you will already see my mistake.

I grab a science periodical and head out the door. They get me in pretty fast, settled in the infusion center. “Okay, this will drip in over ninety minutes.” Aw crap. I though this was going to be fast. I didn’t even bring my ipad. Or snacks! (IV iron is an ugly brown liquid, which will surprise nobody who’s familiar with iron chemistry.) Future doses will be in with my chemo, so I won’t need to make extra trips.

I didn’t get hooked up until 11, so I was starving by the time I got done. Worst of all, I was still uncaffeinated! So, Gentle Reader, always ask how long it will take. Always.

Today’s procedure was as fine as it can get. My bloodwork was within normal levels, at what should be the low point of the chemo cycle, which is a really good sign. My immune system is still doing its job, and so is everything else. (Except the cancer cells: DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE! Freeloading useless bastards.)

The only bad thing today was that the bloodwork was scheduled for 8am, and the endoscopy not until 11. I ended up taking a nap in the waiting room. The nurses were very apologetic, but it’s just the kind of thing that happens when trying to juggle complex schedules at the last minute. They got me in as soon as they could, but it was still a long morning. The ultrasound got good images of what they wanted to see, and did not find any new surprises. I’m good with no surprises. Really.