I had my first Pamidronate injection today. This isn't that much of a change in treatment; the Pamidronate replaces the clodronate that I was supposed to be taking before. The clodronate is a drug that's taken orally on an empty stomach twice a day and the Pamidronate is given by IV once a month. I wasn't able to take the clodronate properly because I wasn't always awake enough hours, so it wasn't doing me as much good as it should have. At least I'll have protection from the Pamidronate.
I re-discovered that I have terrible veins during the bloodwork and injection process today. I knew that my veins were bad, but they seemed to be worse than I remembered. During bloodwork, the nurse got a vein in my hand but it hurt - as all the veins in my hands do - so she took it out. There were no other good veins in my hand and she asked for warm blankets to be sent, which would have delayed the test results. The nurse ended up going in to the same vein.
Later on, when the nurse was setting up the line for the Pamidronate, the first injection in my forearm didn't work as she went through the vein and the saline built up beneath my skin. So she took that out and had to find another vein. It seems that I'm retaining water, which is making veins hard to find, but she finally was able to get the IV started. The IV is weird; it's a needle that's used to put a tube into the vein, and then the needle is removed. The tube remains and the Pamidronate is delivered through that tube.
When the Pamidronate was flowing well enough, the injection site started to hurt occasionally. They put a warming blanket on my arm and that helped; I guess my veins don't like the delivery system when they're cold. I also had pain when they were flushing saline through at the end - the solution and my arm were both cold and the warming blanket wasn't warm anymore.
So after all of these troubles, the nurse and I decided that it is time to put a port-a-cath in. They can draw blood and give the Pamidronate (and chemo, when it comes to that) through the port without having to worry about my veins. Inserting the port is a day procedure that takes about 1/2 a day and takes about 10 days to heal. I'll let you know when that's scheduled.
One of the side effects of the first Pamidronate injection can be flu-like symptoms. I'm definitely feeling under the weather now and I slept for a good part of the day. My arm is also quite tender. I'll be taking it easy tomorrow and maybe Friday as well.