One of the many tricky things I had to accept after my diagnosis was the fact that I would have to give myself shots three times a week.
As a kid, I stressed less about going to the doctor for updated vaccinations than I did about going to the dentist to have a cavity filled. So why should injections trouble me so greatly?
One reason was that these injections were filled with Chinese hamster ovary cells. No, I am not kidding. That is what I would be shooting into various parts of my body. Look it up if you don’t believe me, it is right on the box. The other reason why I was troubled was that I would be injecting myself and that just seemed wrong.
But you do what you have to do. A friendly nurse came to my house to help me prepare for this new regimen. The shots were a major drag and I don’t care what anyone says, they stung. A lot. Especially the thigh ones. Why is that? Since I was a kid my thighs have always been thunderous and you would think all the extra fat would cushion the sudden stab of the 12 inch needle shot out instantly from the auto-injector. Ok, the actual needle was barely ¼ of an inch but it sure seemed bigger.
I would hold the injector to the designated area for ten minutes while I tried to talk myself into pushing the button.
Responsible me- Just push the button and be done with it.
Wimpy me- No, I don’t want to push the button, it will hurt.
Responsible me- You have to push it, so just get it over with.
Wimpy me- Why do I have to push it, why don’t I just push it later?
Annoyed responsible me- JUST PUSH THE DAMN
The thirty second auto-injector driven shot was an involved process. When it was time to do the shot at night I would take a pain reliever, wash my hands even if I had done so previously because the directions said you had to, and then hold it in my hand the recommended five minutes. Since I would get bored in the five minutes, I would usually start playing Solitaire on the computer while I waited for the needle to reach the temperature of my hand. Since I stink at Solitaire and would get adamant about winning, I would usually wind up holding the thing for twenty minutes while I tried to win.
Then I would check my drug notebook for where I should do the shot this time. Next, I would hold a hot compress to the area for several minutes. Then the alcohol swab for thirty seconds. But then the area wasn’t warm anymore so I would do the compress again.
Finally I would start the process of holding the injector to the area and fighting with myself about pushing the button. When I finally did push the button, it was then time for the two minutes of massaging the area to disperse the medication. Then the warm compress again. Then the clean up. Then I would realize I had actually done the shot an hour later than I had noted in my book and I would have to change that. By then I was so exhausted that I would pass out relieved I didn’t have to repeat the process for a couple of days.
(Authors note- the above is what you get when you take an anal OCD driven freak and give her an MS diagnosis)
About the author: Yvonne deSousa was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis in 2009. Yvonne created her blog designed to help those with chronic illness laugh amid tears. Yvonne also enjoys writing about Cape Cod history and has been published on Cape Women Online and in the Provincetown Banner, and Cape Cod Times. Visit Yvonne online at YvonnedeSousa.com or Yvonne deSousa on Facebook.