Fall allergies while on chemo

Cleaning up Yard during AutumnEarlier this week I noted there wouldn’t be any real post that day due to not feeling very well and my brain fog being too thick. For the last few days it has been hard to put thoughts together and breathing has been very hard. Luckily today I seem to be back to normal and believe it was in fact fall allergies which took me down for the last few days.

One thing I love about our home is that we have a lot of old trees surrounding the house. Of course that also means a lot of leaves. Sunday of this week was a very nice day. It was slightly cool, but there was no wind at all. This was perfect for one last time to clean the leaves in the yard. I spent a few hours in the afternoon with my leaf-blower and hauled a full pickup load of leaves to the dump site. Not only did I feel that something was accomplished by removing all the leaves, I also got some good exercise in.

It didn’t occur to me at the time to worry about my fall allergies. I am already taking Claritin every day. I partially take Claritin to combat fall allergies; and partially to combat the side-effects of certain drugs I am taking; more specifically Claritin helps battle the side-effects of Neulasta and Xgeva. Even though Claritin does a fine job of keeping fall allergies at bay, it does have its limits. I apparently found those limits by using a leaf blower to shoot a lot of allergens into the air.

I didn’t exactly have my normal fall allergy symptoms. Typically during fall I get a runny nose, my sinuses feel plugged, and my head feels like it is going to explode. This time I had a little bit of a runny nose, but I don’t believe my sinuses were clogged at all. My head didn’t feel like it was going to explode either. Instead I had a harder time breathing and I just felt “off”. Additionally my brain fog seemed to really get thick. I just couldn’t put any thoughts together at all. Finally today, four days later, I feel almost back to normal (well the new normal for me being on chemo).

This morning I was in contact with another cancer patient going through chemo. She has a similar experience when doing yard work. To combat this she has to take a shower immediately after doing any yard work and ensure she doesn’t come in contact with the clothes she was wearing again until after they have been washed. Additionally if she has done something like raking she will put the blue mask on. That day I did not take a shower until the evening. Now I know to do that right away.

Now that there is a light layer of snow on the ground hopefully fall allergies won’t be an issue. Furthermore, if my treatments go right I hopefully won’t be on chemo come spring when I have to worry about allergies again. Either way I now know my body definitely reacts differently to fall allergies than it used to. I guess it’s just one more thing to watch out for while on chemo.

First experience with the Neulasta Onpro kit went well

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Neulasta Onpro I had on my arm after 2nd round of chemo.

On Tuesday of this week I had my second cycle of chemo. That went quite well and I slept through most of it thanks to the Benadryl they shot me up with. The day after chemo, Wednesday, I needed a shot of Neulasta to build up my white cell blood count. In this post I will share my experience using the Neulasta Onpro device to automatically inject the drug into me at home.

 

I mentioned Neulasta when blogging about the day after my first round of chemo. Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) is a white blood cell booster used by some chemo patients. This drug can either be administered as an injection by a nurse or a patient can wear a Neulasta Onpro device and have the drug automatically injected from the comfort of their own home. I was unable to use the Onpro device during the first round of chemo because the hospital pharmacists was out of the device. This week the pharmacist had them in stock so I was able to use the Onpro device. The actual device I used is pictured in this post.

Applying the Onpro device to my arm was easy. The nurse unpacked the Onpro device and stuck it to the fatty portion on the back of my upper arm. She made sure there was a good seal all around the device. A couple of minutes after applying the device to my arm it automatically inserted the needle into my arm. There was a click when this happened and I felt a slight pinch. There was then a slow green flashing light at the top of the Onpro device letting me know it was properly attached and ready for the injection.

I only had one concern about wearing the Onpro device: it would have to be worn overnight. During the night I tend to move a lot and I had concerns the device would become dislodged from the back of my arm. My concern was unwarranted. In the morning the device was still in place and the adhesive was sealed all around the device.

The actual injection for the Neulasta cannot be done for at least 24 hours after the completion of chemo. The Neulasta Onpro device is scheduled to automatically inject the patient 27 hours after it has been attached. At the 27 hour mark the Onpro gave a series of fast beeps to let me know it would be injecting the Neulasta. After the beeping the light on the device went to a fast flash. This indicated the drug was injecting into my arm. I didn’t feel anything happen while it was injecting. The injection lasted about 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes there was another series of beeps and indicator light went to a steady green. The green steady indicator light meant the device was done injecting and that the Onpro device could be taken off. My wife then looked at the fuel gauge on the device. It showed empty so she peeled it off. I didn’t feel her take the device off my arm. There wasn’t even any blood in the spot the injection was made, just a tiny hole.

I think the Onpro device is great for cancer patients. My side-effects from chemo are pretty mild, so it probably wouldn’t be a big deal for me to get an injection with a nurses visit. Plus I have a wonderful wife and great friends who would bring me to a nurses visit for an injection of Neulasta. But there are many chemo patients that can barely move due to nausea and other side effects the day after chemo. The Onpro device removes the necessity of having to leave the home a day after chemo. Heck, my side-effects may be worse in a future chemo round and I may be in a situation where the Onpro device is essential. One never can tell the future.

In this post I shared my experience of using the Neulasta Onpro device to receive a white blood cell boost. The device is easy to use and removes the necessity of having one more trip to the oncology ward for a shot. I hope the hospital pharmacy is able to keep the Onpro devices in stock so I can use this convenient injection method each round of chemo.