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Pumping Iron

Posted Aug 31 2012 1:21am
I finished my series of iron infusions and I have to say, it wasn't the easiest of things I have ever done.  It wasn't AWFUL, not by any stretch, but if you find yourself here by googling "iron infusion, what to expect", here are some things that they didn't really talk too much about, just as a heads up.

1)  Phlebitis

Iron is caustic to the veins, so when you have the infusion, it will feel anything from achy-twingy to full on pain.  This is a common side effect of iron infusions.  On my final infusion, the nurse asked if I wanted a heating pad during the infusion.  I was surprised this hadn't been offered before, and said I would try anything.  It totally helped.  I wish I would have had that for all of them.  So, ask for a heating pad to be placed on your arm, just above the injection site.

2)  "Flu-like" Symptoms

I was warned that on day 3 or so, I could possibly have "mild flu-like" symptoms.  Well.  I woke up Saturday morning at 4 AM and thought I was going to die.  I was achy, sick to my stomach, and had an awful headache.  It felt so much like the flu that I decided that I must actually have the flu.  I spent the rest of Saturday throwing up non-stop.  Even my beloved standby, Zofran, didn't really help.  I could barely raise my head off the pillow.  I felt better Sunday, but my appetite was still less than usual and I was a still a bit achy.

It could have been the flu, I guess, but no one else in the family got it.  And when I asked the nurse on Monday, she did say that others have mentioned a similar reaction.  So. . . be prepared just in case.

3)  Juice

I found that sipping on juice helped to keep me from feeling as faint or nauseated during the infusion.  That being said, I also never felt the same way during following infusions.  I got lightheaded and a bit sick to my stomach, but not in the same way.

4)  SLOW It Down

Some offices will push the infusion in two minutes.  I can't imagine this.  They did a long infusion on me, taking 15 minutes to administer it.  This helped a lot.

So, three days post the final transfusion and I do feel slightly less breathless and also a bit less tired.  I will be honest, I don't notice a HUGE difference, but I guess it can take up to two weeks to REALLY work.  I'll have a blood draw next week to see what my numbers are at.  So. . . when it comes down to it, I would do it again, because having extra iron circulating means that Andrew is less likely to be anemic, but it didn't have quite the effect I was hoping for in terms of energy.  Oh, well.  We're in the homestretch now.

Scheduled c-section is for 10-11-12!  What a neat birthday to have.

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