Hip Hip Hooray!! This is the last one!!
These Zarzio injections have been the key to keeping my treatment schedule moving along. They definitely have not been a picnic, but I am thankful they are available to help.
Zarzio injections force your bone marrow to make new blood cells. Specifically, they make new white blood cells. Treatment cannot be done when certain blood counts are too low, and white counts were an area where my body struggled.
Of course, that does not come without a side effect: bone pain. Like serious bone pain. Think vice-like sinus headache pressure from the jaw down through the spine and across the hip bones. And if you stand up too quickly that pain sharpens to a pinpoint and lances though your body. Not very pleasant. The key to managing that pain was to do shots in the evening (when possible), and to take a Claritin or Zyrtec and a Tylenol at the time of injection.
Initially, my oncologist built Zarzio into my Adriamycin and Cytoxin (AC) infusion schedule. The usual spacing for AC is every 3 weeks. This allows the body to use the second and third week to recover counts prior to the next treatment. My spacing was scheduled at 2 week intervals, so Zarzio shots between treatments ensured that counts remained high enough to continue treatment on schedule. This is called dose-intensive AC and is usually used on younger cancer patients. She added them to my Taxol schedule when my counts were dropping and postponing every 3rd treatment. They worked like a charm, and my last 6 treatments when forward precisely on schedule.
The big shocker with these shots is their cost. At $250+ per injection, the 5-7 shot per week routine gets extremely spendy. Thankfully, my insurance and the infusion center worked together to keep my out-of-pocket expenses for these affordable.