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    3 H's of Corticosteroids Surprise Side Effects of Weekly Iron Infusions

    I actually look forward to my weekly iron infusions. My new hematologist recommended a 6 week course to strengthen my iron deficiency. She did a broad spectrum of tests in addition to my INR/PT test critical to managing my APS. Alls well with my blood. My ANA and other indicate autoimmuninty under control. Although Im not anemic and blood counts are normal, my cells seem to be lacking in iron the essential ingredient for blood to function. Iron is a mineral that --bonds to--carries vital oxygen necessary for all cells to thrive. Providing a supplement of iron intraveneous is the most efficient method of reinforcing my blood. Iron deficiencies may occur for a numerous reasons especially poor diet. My mildly deficienct blood probably the result of thinning blood and poor absorption through digestive process. For this reason, oral iron supplements may not be as effective.
    After my first visit I learned the process is almost identical to the chemotherapy infusions (Cytoxin) I'd had previously, except 48 hours later instead of feeling weakened and nauseated, I feel strenghened and have greater appetite than ever. In my case, the actual iron infusion last only 1 hour. The first step (after trip to ladies room) is to check vital signs, blood pressure, temperature, etc. The most difficult and only potentially painful step is the insertion of of IV line. I am running out of good veins, but I have an adroit hematology nurse. My hematologist chooses to take some preliminary steps to deter side effects or allergic reactions. I take 2 extra strength Tylenal tablets orally to deter potential side effects of achiness or mild flu-like symptoms. A small syringe of Benedryl is pushed into the IV line. The a second syringe of a corticosteroid is pushed in slowly (about 2-3 minutes). Its purpose is to eliminate the allergic reaction that occurs RARELY. Much easier to prevent than have to respond to a dangerous anaphylaxis. But the nurse watches me very carefully and questions me during the infusion for any irregulararities especially signs of throat tightening.

    There are some advantageous side effects I am scheduled for Wednesday mornings. The sedating effects of the Benydryl allow me to come home an enjoy a long satisfying nap the rest of the afternoon. It probably counteracts any nervousness caused by steroids. After a good rest on Wednesday, Thursday morning I am awakening with a little "boost" from the pulse of steroids. My joints aren't as stiff and I found my movements were more fluid and quick. No cartwheels, but I was doing everyday stuff without any thoughts (like a normal person). Getting out of my chair, showering, or unloading the dishwasher weren't so challenging. By the weekend I am eating everything in sight. I become giddy scaring my teenage son with my loquacious euphoria. "Mamma are you on drugs!" he says as I talk him into a corner about some grand scheme my maniacal mind has dreamed up. I had the 3 H's of corticosteroids: HUNGRY, HYPER & HAPPY

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