I have shared in the past about some very disheartening estrogen lab results. Well, as it turns out…things have not improved…
I had my latest labs drawn almost two weeks ago and the lab results were pretty disheartening. My estrogen came back at 54…well below our target of 100-150. The worst part of seeing the results, aside from the obvious low estrogen level, was that my labs were drawn on a Friday and by the time my results came back, my doctor had left the office for the weekend. That meant waiting until Monday to talk with him about the next step. Talk about an anxiety provoking weekend!
Fortunately, the ball got rolling pretty quickly that Monday. By 8:15am that Monday, my doctor contacted me to let me know we weren’t going to mess with the patches anymore. He was moving me straight to injections. He said he had consulted with some of his peers and while none of them could make sense of why I was not absorbing the estrogen through patches and pills, they all agreed it was a waste of time and money to even consider having me wear a third patch. Thank goodness! Keeping those damn things attached to my body was becoming a bigger challenge than I think my doctor realized.
The other piece of good news…my insurance didn’t flinch at approving payment for my injections. It instantly went through. No prior authorization needed. No appeals process like with the patches. It went right through. Yet, as always seems to be the case for me on this journey, it wasn’t quite that smooth after that point.
I got a call from my pharmacy that day telling me they were having to special order my injections. Apparently, there is a nationwide shortage on injectable estrogen and there has been a shortage since this past September. Really??? A shortage on that? Ok. I realized there was nothing I could do about that. So it was recommended I call around to other area pharmacies and see if anyone had it in stock. Forty calls later, no one had it in stock and no one could guarantee me a delivery date.
My endocrinologist recommended I call a mail order women’s fertility pharmacy in another state. I called them and it turned out they had the estrogen injections in stock…always keep plenty in stock…and they were just as nice as could be. I called my doctor back and told him I just wanted to go with this pharmacy. Automatic refills. Overnight delivery to my door. Never had to worry about running out so long as my doctor submitted my prescription. They will deliver my needles and syringes too. They also include a sharps container, alcohol preps and gauze pads at no extra cost. A slightly higher copay than the pharmacy I typically use, but when you factor in the extras included in each shipment and not having to wait for special orders with the pharmacies, it was a win win for me.
One final hiccup…they only ship deliveries out on Mondays, and here it was a Tuesday. I could only laugh at this point. I thought about the fact I was getting ready to remove my final transdermal patch and was getting nervous about not having any estrogen at all entering my body. It hit me though, it wasn’t like the patches were doing much…so a week without the estrogen would be fine. No big deal.
Its been almost a week without any estrogen delivery and it has been interesting. With my estrogen being so low, despite my T-blocker, I know my estrogen levels decreased a bit and my testosterone increased some. I can feel it. Sure, some of the feeling is psychological. But there are things that have occurred in the past week that have nothing to do with the mind and show how my body has been tip toeing on this fine line of estrogen impacting enough and not impacting me at all. I just kept telling myself how many days I had until the injections arrived.
So, there are going to be several positives with the injections over both the pills and patches. They are…
- Because the estrogen is injected directly into the body, it doesn’t need to be processed through the liver, therefore reducing the risks of blood clots.
- I will only have to give myself injections once every two weeks versus pills multiple times per day or switching patches out every week.
- I see the injections as far less intrusive on my life style.
- Injections are far easier to fine tune the dose as compared to pills and patches.
- I won’t have to fight to keep those patches attached to my body. Whew!!!
- I will only have to wait eight days between a change in dosage and my next lab draws versus waiting a month, so adjustments can be made much quicker and get this process moving!
Injections will arrive today by 3:00pm my time. You know that first injection will be administered as soon as possible. Next Wednesday…my next round of blood work. I am keeping my hopes up that this will bring a major change in my levels! I am also praying my thighs don’t get too pissed off with me for the needle stick! ❤