Friday, June 14, 2013

Jabbing Needles Into Myself

Nurse J had given me a detailed chart of all the ovarian revving drugs I would need to receive on a daily basis. Receive, as in inject. Inject as in by myself. Daily as in The Moment Has Come.

The first two days called for a 20 unit shot of Lupron in the morning and another 20 unit shot of it 12 hours later. I took out my notes, my chilled bottle of Lupron, the alcohol wipes and syringe and set them out on my desk in front of me like a good little student. Then I called my boyfriend.

“You have to stay on the line with me while I do this in case I die.”

I squeezed a fold of fat from my belly, and per my instructions, the good boyfriend counted, “One, two, THREE!”

I didn't think. I just jabbed.

“Oh my God.” I stared at the syringe sticking out of my flesh, kind of bobbing loosely on its own. “I did it.”

I pulled the depressor backwards as I had been taught, to check for blood. “We don't want you to inject into a vein.” Nurse J warned me.

Seeing the syringe stayed clear after pulling the trigger back, I depressed the juice right on in. It was all surprisingly easy. Mind over terror.

I wanted D to stay on the line with me for a few minutes to make sure I didn't have a deadly allergic or strange spastic reaction. But he was jammed with prep for an extremely important meeting. “How long?” he asked, the stress and panic crystal clear in his voice. 

Recognizing I felt fine, and processing that no one has ever died from injecting a few units of hormones, I realized I was being silly and overly needy.

“OK, but call me back in 15 minutes to make sure I'm not dead.”

A half hour later as I was getting into the shower, feeling totally fine, I remembered he had not called. I was ever so slightly disappointed. This was the kind of thing that reminds me I'm alone in this process. When you're married or doing this with another person, you can order said person to hold your hand or at least hand you the vial and alcohol wipes. But I bucked up. I am alone in this, and I can handle it. He helped me through the hard part, and I was fine when we hung up. He knows I'm a big girl. If I had started to have a strange reaction, he knows I would have called him. And I know he would have jumped into action to help me. 

Truth was, instead of feeling weird, I felt great. I felt energized. I usually start dragging ass for a few hours in the afternoon, but I blew right through that please-let-me-have-a-nap time revving to go. The thought occurred to me that I might just want to keep taking his drug the rest of my life if I feel this good. I understand completely now why the Sylvester Stallones of the world take Human Growth Hormone. When our hormones decrease, we age. Not so the other way around. So pumping up our juice levels, we don't just feel better, we literally feel younger. 

Two days later, I add a 600 unit shot of Gonal-F. That's a huge dose. An entire box of this stuff, which comes with several syringes for multiple doses, contains only a 450 unit vial. Nurse J had explained, however, that the well-known secret is that the vial actually holds 600 units. (The bonus 150 units seems fair considering each vial costs hundreds of dollars.)

Word on the Chattersphere expressed shock when women mentioned injecting 450 units a day, and those were divided into twice a day shots. I was instructed to inject the whole 600 units in one dose. I was surprised my dose was so high, and I was a little concerned about how it might effect me. 

Dr. P did not discuss my treatment plan with me. Nurse J simply told me what he had prescribed. I assumed this dosage was based on my age and my hormone levels, but it was only a guess. And now that I was on my own, preparing to inject myself with high dosages of hormones, I couldn't help but feel a little left in the dark about the whys and what fors of my treatment plan. I like to know what the thinking is behind what's being done to me, but in my desperate state, I had to simply trust my doctor. Not an easy thing for me to do.

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