This Methotrexate ride has been more than I bargained for. I thought to pen my experience with taking the drug for treatment of an ectopic pregnancy. I have searched the web, and by search I mean I googled everything from methotrexate and hcG levels to what to eat while on methotrexate, only reading the first couple of search results on the first page. Yet, in all of my searching, even in the message boards I have read, I did not come across anything comprehensive enough for my liking. In effort to make it easier for you to get some answers, I will pen some answers with a link or two here.
Things to avoid while on Methotrexate:
Exercise, alcohol, Folic acid, and direct sun light. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5553.html (Look under “Where can I find folate in the food guidance system”
What to do while on Methotrexate:
Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Listen to your body. Increased activity will cause increased bleeding.
My Methotrexate experience;
Week one – had no injection site pain. According to the infusion nurse to administered the shot, I should not have experienced injections sight pain or a rash from the injection. For the next six days, I still felt pregnant.
Week two – My pregnancy symptoms did not start to abate until two weeks later. I resumed my normal exercise the week after the injection. It caused me severe pain requiring me to take Advil (600mg) every morning for four days straight. Once I stopped exercising and rested every time I felt tired, the pain went away. The next symptom I experienced was fatigue in the morning. I could make it to the bathroom to pee but was exhausted by the time I got back to bed. I ended up sleeping for another two hours after waking initially.
Week three – I am experiencing mild boughts of nausea throughout the day.
Peaches and apricots either don’t have or have negligible amounts of folic acid. Yogurt and all other dairy is free of folic acid. All vegetables and beans are off-limits.
I do not know my original (pre-shot) hcG levels. My day four post Methotrexate shot levels was 5,000 something. My day seven levels were 3,000 something. A week later my readings were 1,232.
Use an umbrella when going to be unavoidably in direct sunlight. Wear sunscreen.
I wrote this over four months ago with the false understanding that I would be back to normal in about six weeks. I was wrong.
My hcG levels did not return to less than/equal to 5 until the end of September. My levels reduced by half with every blood test which I took once every week. When my levels got into the twenties, they hovered and reduced in increments of 1 or 2 for 2-4 weeks. Around this same time, my period returned. It was mid August. I fully expected that my levels would be at zero upon my next blood test. I was very surprised and disheartened that they were not. I was also told by a nurse at my OB/GYN office that I probably had what I thought was a period. Um no. I had a full fledge period! I am well into grown womanhood and I KNOW what a period is.
I had had enough by this time. I was HUMONGOUS! I had gained a lot of weight since I first peed on the stick and because I could not exercise nor eat right, coupled with hormone imbalance and great sadness, I packed on the pounds in a major way. I could fit none of my clothes. I broke my bathing suit. (Picture Ursula popping out of her Ariel disguise in The Little Mermaid) Breaking my bathing suit (at the hook in the back) I decided I was going back to normal.
I went back to exercising at the gym, eating right (greens, fruits, and beans) and staying in the sun for as long as Jazmine needed me to.
I felt so liberated! Technically, I was not cleared but as far as I was concerned, the reoccurrence of my period declared me well. I lived on the wild side for 6 more weeks until I got the call from the nurse saying my levels were at 5.
And that’s my methotrexate story.