“I have to do what?” That’s what I said to the neurologist who told me I was going to have to be giving myself shots – every other day – for the rest of my life. WHAT??? But I don’t like shots – even when someone else is giving them to me. How could I possibly stick a needle in myself and squeeze medicine into my body? The thought made me sick. Well, sicker. I was already sick – that’s the point, really. I had double vision, absolutely no energy, Bell’s Palsy, cog fog (my affectionate term for that state of confusion that can cause we MS’ers to forget our own spouse’s name – that’s another story), I had burning, tingling, hot spots, cold spots, severe pain and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, not so much that last one, but everything else. Now they want me to add an injection – every other day – to this joy???? Are they kidding me??
Nope. They weren’t kidding me. My doc, at the time, pushed several 3 ring binders toward me and told me to read them carefully. They were the pharmaceutical company’s promotional – oops, I mean – educational materials, that I was to digest and come back with an answer – QUICKLY – about which one I chose. What I learned was that whichever I chose of the 3 disease modifying drugs that my doctor suggested, there were a lot of side effects and no promises that this was going to even slow the progression of this degenerative, progressive disease. Alrighty then. I got down to business, learned everything that I could learn about them and made my decision – Betaserone. Why that one? Having a steady-state of medication in my system just rang true with me. I wanted a sentry on the job all the time – something that could keep an eye on my overactive autoimmune system (our best guest at the time) and calm it down when it got too excited. Betaserone seemed like the drug for me. I went back to my doctor, told him what I had decided and he agreed, telling me that if I were his wife, that’s what he’d put me on too. So – one more decision made and I’m feeling good about it – well, as good as one can feel about injecting oneself with what several of my fellow bloggers term “toxic chemicals.” 🙂 The Beta nurse came over to my house and taught me how to self-inject. Not alot of fun, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!
And so it goes – every other night, just before I go to bed, I load up that syringe with what I term my “liquid gold,” load it into the autoinjector (that way I don’t have to see it shooting into me!), and inject what I hope will prove to be a successful agent of change in my body. We’ll see. I shoot up just before bed in an attemtp to sleep through as much of the side effects as possible. I’ve been awakened shaking so hard with my teeth chattering, racked with pain, muscles in complete spasm. Good times, good times. But for the most part, I sleep through them. On a rather regular basis, the day after a shot is uncomfortable. They term it “flu-like symptoms.” Okay, I’ll go along with that. Everything aches, I’m very tired and all I want to do is curl up in bed. Thank goodness I have a family, a job, and this blog that need my attention or that’s just what I’d do.
Occasionally, like last night, I just don’t want to give myself a shot again. I feel like a pincushion. I have some “shot spots” that have hurt for months. Several are hard little knots that are angry red bumps at the surface and painful lumps underneath. I have so many red spots on my body it’s tough to find a good spot to place the next one. On those nights, I really have to have a talk with myself and remind myself how lucky I am. Not so many years ago, these drugs didn’t exist and a diagnosis of MS was akin to a death sentence. So – I take a deep breath, load it up, ready, steady, shoot. Done. Good night.
Special thanks to akeeris at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2242 for use of the syringe photograph.