Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The “I” Word

Injectable.  Injection. 

This is the very thing I have been trying to avoid since I first got sick. 

I’ve never been a fan of shots, IVs, or needles of any kind.  While I’ve gotten more used to them as time goes on and I have had to stare more and more of them down, I still have a hard time stomaching the idea of sticking a needle into myself.  And I haven’t had to.

But that’s about to change.  Because I saw my rheum today.  

He measures how I’m doing by the mobility and inflammation in my elbows and wrists.  And needless to say, he wasn’t impressed.  He said that he thinks we can do better than where we are at.

He asks me if I think we should make a change in medication or keep things as they are.  I tell him that that’s a difficult question for me to answer.  I never really know what to say to that question.  If I say yes, am I admitting defeat?  And if I say no, am I being headstrong?

It doesn’t matter.  Because I can tell that he has an answer. 

So what is his answer?

A higher dose of Methotrexate (MTX).  I’ve been on 10 mg of oral MTX for over a year.  We believed that 15 mg was a better dose for me, but I couldn’t handle it.  There were too many side effects taking it orally.

So now I’ll be injecting myself once a week, in the hope that things will improve. 

I’m frustrated.  Where does it start and end?  I keep skirting a boundary and crossing lines I once told myself I would refuse to cross.  On the other hand, I have refused to be on daily Prednisone.  And I feel as if I can’t refuse something new or different until I’ve given it a fair shake. 

Especially since there is an unfortunate reality that I continually have to face.  After a year or so on a med, my body seems to plateau and the med seems to lose efficacy.  While I try to be optimistic, this is a continual struggle with my treatment.

And my rheum talks about quality of life.  And the potential for me to get a Cortisone shot in my hip.  But we will wait on that.  One thing at a time.  One foot in front of the other. 

And that’s when reality hits me like a shit ton of bricks.  This is a forever thing.  This may be the best I will ever feel again.  I have to do things that I never imagined would ever be a defining factor of my life. 

I’ll admit, I’m feeling a little sad right now.  Spending over two hours at the hospital today, seeing my rheum, getting educated about self-injection, getting a flu shot, and getting blood drawn, I feel like a sick person.  I feel overwhelmed.  It’s a lot to take in.

Seeing my rheum every six months gives me a false sense of security.  I was beginning to think that I was handling things on my own.  But how can you handle things that you can’t control?      

I can only hope that injecting myself becomes second nature, something that I don’t give much thought to.  Because right now, I’m filled with apprehension.  What if I mess up and do it wrong?  What if it makes me feel worse?  What if, what if, what if? 

But I can’t focus on what ifs.  I have to focus on what is, and what will be.    

Am I going to let a little needle get in my way? 

I hope not.

I hope that other I words will rise above the inevitable. 

Invincible.  Indestructible. 

That’s me.

I’ll keep you all posted on how my first injection goes. 

Wish me luck!

(Oh yeah.  In other news, my insurance rejected my latest physical therapy referral…)


  1. Your post brought back a flood of memories over my injection apprehensions. I did it though. My first injection was with Enbrel. I did it and continued to do it but I wouldn't say it became second nature. But, you can do this. We really don't have much choice in the matter with ra. And since you also have Lupus your choice of meds might be more limited. You can do this! And good luck!

  2. If it is any consolation, I never thought I would be able to give myself shots and now I give myself three shots a week. More if I get a migraine. At the beginning I would take a deep breath and put on some music or the TV to take my mind off what I was doing. Good luck!

  3. My mother was on injectable MTX for awhile for her RA when she was diagnosed. She is on another one now, but it is injectable too. It really isn't that hard, although I realize the trouble you are having accepting the change. Sometimes I fear that this is as good as I will feel ever again, so I totally get that idea.


  4. Oh Leslie! I'm sorry you're having a low time at the moment. I'm quite relieved that I don't mind needles - I think this would have been a much harder experience if I was bothered by them.
    I must admit that I could relate to that line This may be the best I will ever feel again. It's a scary thought and one I try not to think too often. I'm focusing on medical science advancing and maybe one day there will be a drug that makes me feel so much better.
    I subscribed to your blog because so many of your posts resonated with me and my thoughts and feelings at one time or another. I love my friends and family, but they don't always completely get it and it can be hard to explain. Reading this helped me articulate my feelings better to explain it to them so thank you.
    Newcastle upon Tyne, UK