Giving it a Shot
|Selfie with the Space Needle|
When the FDA approved Zinbryta (daclizumab) last month, one line in the FDA press release “stuck” out to me: “long-acting injection that is self-administered by the patient monthly.” Injection. Self-administered. In other words or in plainer language that anyone with multiple sclerosis can understand, the FDA is referring to SHOTS. There is a reason I’ve written that in ALL CAPS. Because for years, shots have FREAKED ME OUT. And just when it appeared giving yourself a shot for your MS was going the way of the dodo and of friends to invite over for dinner who consume gluten, this news drops.
For some, shots are fun. The band LMFAO is famous (infamous?) for singing about shots. Steph Curry, Ronaldo, and Ovechkin all enjoy taking shots. Ansel Adams was a shot expert. Katniss Everdeen has an awesome shot. Me? I’m not a huge fan. Since childhood, I’ve tried to follow a general rule: AVOID SHOTS. Getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago, though, sure mucked that up. My options back then: a daily shot, a few times a week shot, or a weekly shot—with a needle so large you might mistake it for a Seattle landmark.
Now if you think I am exaggerating my fear of needles for the purposes of blog humor, you would be wrong. I gave up watching medical shows years ago because of needles. I cringe and close my eyes if I catch a glance of someone getting a tattoo, even a tattoo of a cute, carefree dolphin with sparkles and rainbows. Heck, I’ve weighed the benefits/drawbacks of lockjaw to argue the possibility of evading a tetanus shot.
|Ovechkin likes to take shots and give them.|
So when I gave myself my very first shot over a decade ago, it was an experience that I’ll remember forever. And, unfortunately, so will poor Laura and the 5-foot-nothing Panamanian MS nurse who had to prop up my lifeless body. Apparently, at the time my brain was not comfortable with the fact that I was sticking a SHARP NEEDLE into my PRECIOUS SKIN and then INJECTING MEDICATION. And by not comfortable, I mean it went into total shutdown mode, which I discovered is not recommended for a number of reasons. For starters, you need a functioning brain. Second, you are holding a sharp needle. Third, a tiny, 50-year old Panamanian woman is not the ideal person to support a 6-foot tall needle weeny who just made himself pass out while holding a sharp needle.
Fortunately, as my bottom was sliding out of the chair, the nurse grabbed and supported my rear end while Laura rather urgently sought assistance, or so I’m told. It would have been a sight to see if I had not been unconscious, dreaming of riding a rocket-powered Cheeto while lassoing cans beer (I’m just guessing here, but such dreams for me seem plausible if not probable). The MS nurse gently slid me to the floor and in moments I had the entire neurology department looking in on me as I was shaken awake.
|The closest I've ever come to a tattoo. Note the sparkles!|
When I came to, it dawned on me that all was fine with the world. The universe did not implode, Daniel Powter’s song Bad Day was still topping the charts (oh the irony), and the Cubs didn’t win the World Series. Over a thousand shots later, I can say with authority that giving yourself a shot—voluntarily, not under duress or threat—actually is not too hard. Or that painful. Or that terrifying. Seriously.
I have to say I hated the needles and switched to Gilenya the second it came out. Of course now I get an infusion, but at least someone else has to get it in me! :)
To work through my fear of needles, my kind and diabetic from age 7 hubby, who, of course, has to take insulin all the time (type 1), suggested I watch him every time he did so. At first it made me nauseous and light headed...eventually I could watch the whole thing...and soon I thought, jeeze, I only had to take one needle a day compared to his many a day...so I've got a better deal!
I was still a bit pale after my first time...but now, 4 years later, I'm a drug injecting pro!
I'm a nurse so shots were never a big deal to me except that I was giving them to others. I started on Copaxone and hated having to take one every day and didn't have good success while doing so. MS got progressively worse. Then I switched to the bigger gun, an IM once a week. What I did find out that most people don't know is this. It is possible to get a needle long enough to penetrate the muscle (1 1/2 inch) and not be any bigger than the needed used for insulin. Yep. a 27g 1 1/2 inch needle perfect for intramuscular injections. Doesn't hurt a bit. All you need to do is get your neurologist to write a script for it and pick them up at the pharmacy. Baxter made them when I was using them years ago. I've been on Tysabri for years now so I guess I got over my fear of any type of needle at this point but hope this info helps.
Anyway, I'm glad I found the blog, navigated my first (of many) shot, and lived to tell the tale.
As a child my mom stated that I'd run to the other side of the car when it was that time of getting a booster shot before school would start.
It didn't matter if it was from a medical personnel or dental I flat out would show my hinny in their offices.
started out on Rebif and for 2 1/2 years 99.8% when it was shot night and during the shot I'd start to cry....SO I get and high 5 you for posting!