My white blood cells have been slowly dwindling. This is one of the side effects of the drugs I’m currently taking, specifically Mycophenolate and Valcyte.
Normal white blood cell count is between 4 and 10.5 [x10(3)/mcL], and my latest levels last week were 1.4. The white blood cell count should start increasing once I stop taking the Valcyte in about a month, but in the meantime the doctors want to medically increase the white blood cells to reduce my susceptibility to infections.
I went in to the clinic on Monday for a medical tune-up and so the could provide me with another drug: Neupogen. This drug is like steroids for bone marrow: one it’s injected, the marrow goes into overdrive to increase production of white blood cells. One of the side effects I experienced was bone pain. It’s definitely not a pleasant experience and is similar to pulling muscles in the lower back. If there is an upside, it’s that unlike a pulled muscle, it only lasted half the night.
When I was in the office on Monday morning, the nurse allowed me the opportunity to perform the first injection. After beating around the bush and delaying the inevitable, I was finally successful in jamming the needle in to my abdomen. I then panicked and let go of the syringe. *Shloop* the syringe and needle fell to the ground. After a needle change, I got to try a second time. It was just as difficult, but I was finally successful and remembered to hold onto the syringe and push the plunger. I don’t know how diabetics do it. I really don’t.
Yesterday I thought to myself that this really is a big medical experiment. I’m a bag of mostly water whose chemical composition is being artificially manipulated by foreign means.