Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Gonna Need a Distraction!

I survived my first shot of Copaxone tonight!  The needle did not hurt at all.  The stuff afterwards bothered me.  Lots of burning.  Good grief!  The training nurse said it is a good idea to think about something else while this is happening, to keep your mind off of it.  Tomorrow I think I will think about riding in one of these.  Or, maybe it could be the bubble that protects me.  Or, maybe it's just plain fun!  


Saturday, June 26, 2010

My last weekend without shots…

Blog title courtesy of my good friend Mel

So, should I celebrate?

Just the other day my shots arrived in the mail.  They came in a HUGE box secured inside a Styrofoam cooler with lots of ice packs.  My Copaxone traveled safely!  I have my training session on Monday night so this weekend marks my last weekend of shot-free life.   Is this something to celebrate or something to prepare for? 

Preparing for life with shots seems perfectly logical.  I can plan the time and place of treatment and create a chart tracking site injections.  I love charts and it’s important to rotate to minimize site injection reactions.  Mentally I am not prepared at all and realize that I am scared and anxious to get started on treatment.  Take. Deep. Breaths. And. Relax.  I will chant this all day Monday as I prepare for my very first shot of Copaxone.

Celebrating for my last two days of shot-free life certainly seems like more fun.  I can have a party (although it would be challenging to pull all of my peeps together at such short notice) or get drunk and dance all night.  Hmmm.  Or, I can get my car washed, have a massage (by the world’s GREATEST masseuse), have a lovely lunch with my sweetie, watch the USA vs. Ghana soccer match, do some shopping, grab the latest Tom Cruise flick, start the art project that I’ve got in mind, go for a power walk, and maybe relax on the beach.  That sounds fantastic!  No need to party – I’ve got the perfect weekend already planned to welcome my life with shots.  You see, I am much more interested in slowing down the progression of my MS than worrying about how to celebrate being shot-free.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.  Bring it on!         


Saturday, June 19, 2010

What the heck am I supposed to do with this thing?

When we came home from work the other night, a white package was resting on our doorstep.  Yay!  A present!  I had been shopping on line and was super excited that this might be one of the things I ordered.  Cool!  “That was fast”, I thought to myself.  I had just ordered stuff the day before.   I opened the package and discovered that it was an Autoject 2, an automatic injection device.  Oh yeah.  My injection trainer mentioned the auto injection would arrive in a white envelope.  I’m to hold onto this until my training session.  Where is my order from Amazon?

And what the heck?  According to the instructions, there are 9 steps to using this thing!  First I have to determine the correct needle adjustment.  Huh?  Next I have to prepare one dose and unscrew the syringe housing (there is a figure drawing to help me navigate). Third, I have to set the automatic injection and make sure I do not press the blue firing button.  Whoa.  I don’t want to shoot something accidentally!  Fourth, I prepare the device for injection.  How fun.  It’ll be like when we played doctor when we were kids.  Fifth, I select the injection site. Not fun.  This is the part where I choose the part on my body where I’d like to administer the shot.  Sixth, I inject the drug.  This is when I press the blue firing button (le bouton bleu).  Ouch?  Not sure if it will hurt.  My good friend Mel says it feels like a bee sting.  A bee never stung me.  Does it hurt?  Seventh, I remove and dispose of the syringe.  Eighth, I clean my Autoject 2 and Ninth, I store it safely. 

Luckily, my instructions are also available in French so I can take this time to get more familiar with the language I learned in high school and college.  It will be a GREAT distraction.  So here goes nothing!  Me and my Autoject 2 pour seringue en verre (for glass syringe) are ready for training!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Timely and Accurate

Just about every day I browse through the National MS Society website, soaking up information about the disease, and this morning I was reminded about the importance of a timely and accurate diagnosis.   There are two very important reasons for this.

First, finally getting a diagnosis is a relief.  No more worrying about other diseases you may have – you finally know why you’ve been so uncomfortable and frightened with symptoms.  This is not necessarily an issue for me because I’ve been living with these pesky symptoms since July of last year.  Needless to say, I’ve adjusted.  And, because I was initially diagnosed with clinically-isolated syndrome (CIS), I did not get scared that it would grow into something more serious.  I only had a 20% chance of developing MS after all.  Hmpf.  

Second, we all know about the permanent neurological damage that can occur with MS, even in its earliest stages.  Starting treatment promptly after diagnosis is very, very important.  I was telling my partner last night that I am anxious to get started on Copaxone as soon as possible.  Sure, I’m anxious about starting the shots but I am even more eager to get started on treatment right away.  When will I get contacted?  When can I schedule the visit with a nurse to show me how to administer treatment?  Bring on the shots, I say.  I am ready.  I do not want this disease to progress any further.  I’d like to keep everything right where it is today, or better!  One lesion on the brain, two lesions on the spinal cord.  That’s enough thank you very much!  

I have to admit, I’m a little freaked out that the lesion on my brain showed up so soon.  It’s only been since November that it showed clean.  I cannot help but wonder if the disease will progress just as rapidly in the months ahead.  Will another lesion or two show up on my brain?  Will my symptoms worsen?  Will I still be able to walk in 6 months, without tripping and falling down?  Will I still be able to click the shutter on my camera?  Jeez.  One can go downhill fast and I try to snap out of this by reminding myself that treatment is designed to slow down progression of the disease.  Don’t go there, I remind myself.  It’s really too soon for that.  But I may end up in a wheelchair and how on earth will I get up the stairs in our condo?  Will I have to inch up on my butt?  One step at a time?  You won’t end up in a wheelchair, I remind myself.  How will I manage if I loose my eyesight?  I panic that I will no longer be able to take pictures.  You won’t lose your eyesight, I remind myself, and photography will always be part of your life.  I have this little battle with myself sometimes and I snap out of it by reminding myself that treatment really is going to help. Bring on the shots, I say!  I am ready!


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