Thursday, June 28, 2012

Small Earthquakes In Humira Land

Ugh.  I definitely dread every other Wednesday at around 5 p.m.

It’s Humira Time. (It’s like Hammer Time, but not…)

The dust has settled from the original earthquake that brought Humira into my life.  But there are still aftershocks, small tremors that threaten to knock me off my game. 

I am glad that I was told that I could inject into the outside side of my leg.  The burning does not seem to be as bad as it is on the top of the thigh.

And I am glad that we have decided to coincide date night with Humira injections.  It is a good incentive to get it done quickly so that I can spend some quality time with my man.  But I hope that are lives won’t always run on this schedule.  I hope that I won’t always fear having to travel and doing my injection away from home. 

I also hate the click!  So much anticipation occurs.  I’m okay once I’ve pushed the button.  But it’s actually pushing the button, and then not freaking out about what is coming next, that really gets me.  

In the grand scheme, a painful/uncomfortable injection every other week is not a big deal.

But we all have that thing that throws us over the edge, that we have a hard time coping with.  And it may not be the most painful or difficult thing that we have ever experienced.

It may be that it sets off something within us that festers until it becomes this huge, insurmountable thing.

I hate the way I feel in preparation for my injection.  My hands shake, my stomach hurts.  I hate that my boyfriend sees me in such a state, but I’m glad that he got to see how seasoned I was doing the Methotrexate injections. 

Because I was so good at doing them.  My boyfriend was over one Saturday morning, early-ish in our relationship, and I asked if he minded if I did my injection while he was there.  He and I had a conversation, and I went about the whole process in about two minutes.  It felt good.  I was confident.    

There have been more tears shed over the Humira experience than I think there has been about any other specific part of my illness journey (other than overall).

I am grateful to my boyfriend for being helpful and supportive in this regard.  He has sat by me while I’ve hemmed, hawed, cried over one botched injection and one injection that the couch received, for going to the hospital with me, both of us prepared for a fight with both my doctor’s office and my insurance (which ultimately went more smoothly than we both were hoping for).   

I’ve always had an irrational fear regarding spinal taps.  Thankfully, with all I have had to experience since I got sick, that has not been one of them. 

But a question I ask a lot is about where you draw the line. 

Because really, it’s the anticipation that’s the worst part.

I guess in my denial, I hoped that if we could get my disease well enough under control, I wouldn’t have a need for biologics.  I wouldn’t have to rely on drugs to keep me functioning. 

While I have definitely made strides, it has just been a far longer process than I expected.  The feelings that I would have expected to go away by now are still here front and center. 

I should be grateful.  When I was on oral MTX, I couldn’t do anything the day I took it.  With Humira, I can go out and enjoy date night.  It’s still messing with my sinuses, but it doesn’t seem as bad as it was at first. 

Maybe some of you can’t believe that I’m still talking about this.  But I am.  And I will until it no longer feels so huge.

I think that what has really hurt me emotionally is the second injection.  I went into it feeling pretty confident.  The first injection went fine.  It didn’t hurt at all, and was nothing like what so many people had written about.  And then, the second injection burned so bad that I pulled the pen away halfway through, letting half the dose run down my leg, before I was even conscious of what was happening.

So now I am in a rut.  A rut of If I don’t feel scared, if I get too confident again, I’ll mess things up.

This is totally irrational, I know.  But explain that to my brain, when every other Wednesday at 5:00, I pout, try to avoid hitting the button at all costs, and then once it’s done, wonder what all the fuss was about. 

It doesn’t feel good, but I wouldn’t say it’s super painful.  It’s uncomfortable.  At least the burn hasn’t felt like it did that second time, when it literally felt like someone was searing my flesh. 

It sets off this chain of thoughts that I verbalize: I can’t do this.  I don’t want to do this.  This is stupid.  This is ridiculous.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  I’m making this bigger than it is. 

I realize that the original Humira “earthquake” wasn’t caused by me.  I didn’t know what to expect, and so it is natural to feel nervous and unsure.  But the tremors, the aftershocks, are all on me.  I’ve created them by letting my fear and anxiety take over, and I have to go to a place where that doesn’t happen.  A place where I can push the button and be done.  A place where there isn’t a big production or a natural disaster, for that matter, over the process.  I’ve created the storms.  And now I have to find a way to banish them. 


  1. Maybe it's the sureclic that unnerves you. I use the Humira that comes in a prefilled syringe. I admit that it is a bigger deal than a MTX injection, but I have control over how fast it goes in and it has no hidden moving parts. No unexpectedness unless I drop it on the floor

  2. How did you get your hands on that? Did you ask your doctor to prescribe that instead of the pen? I know via the Humira website that the pre-filled syringe exists, but it doesn't seem like that is prescribed very often.