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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.


  1. Toni says:

    Yay no surprises! No surprises is good!

    And my doctor was in total agreement that me being anywhere near you today was a very bad idea, no need to introduce additional stuff for your immune system to have to fight.

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes, even if my immune system is still doing its thing, no need to tax it unduly. And you certainly needed to stay home more than anything. I’m going to quit even telling you about tests- you’ve been so sick both times you volunteered.

      I hope now you have drugs and will recover quickly.

  2. Sally says:

    Yah for no surprises, well, other than the length of time the infusion took.

    Napping between appointments is a very sensible thing to do.

  3. Laura says:

    I had a doctor tell me that menstruation had nothing to do with the fact that I was extra extremely tired at the same time. Every month. For years. He wasn’t my doctor after that…

    IV iron–I wouldn’t have expected it to take that long, either! Glad they will be able to do it simultaneously next time.

  4. Bodies are weird. I’m all in favor of being a cyborg. As long as I can still taste peanut M&M’s.

  5. Jessica says:

    Die, cancer cells, die! And yay for no surprises. I think you have had enough of those.

  6. Chantrelle says:

    No surprises = good.
    Maybe you should keep a protein bar and tea bag or caffeinated mints or something in your bag for such emergencies?

    Kudos for advocating for yourself and knowing your body!!!

  7. Mari says:

    Yay! No Surprises. ::Hugs::

  8. Fiadnata says:

    I’m glad all went well today. Hopefully they now have enough pictures of your guts in various formats to satisfy them for a couple months. And I agree — take a nap whenever it is offered. I do hope they have at least semi-comfortable couches for napping.

  9. vampje says:

    so when do you get your cool flying iron suit?

    <3 hugs. i missed a lot, so i need to catch up, but always have hugs for you.