I used to love to do shots – in college.
Now? Not so much. After a few months of Rebif (three shots per week), Avonex (one shot per week) seemed like a dream. I just did my ninth shot and let me tell you, it was no dream. People have asked me if it gets easier and so far I will have to say no. Some shots are worse than others and tonight was one of them. I had to force the needle into my muscle. I would like to think that is because I am developing new muscle but in actuality I think I just hit nerve tissue or something fun like that. Once the needle was in place, I pushed the medicine in as slow as possible and it was still too fast. I tried to incorporate my new breathing methods from Yoga, and my breath was also too fast.
With previous injections I have prided myself on no bleeding – no band-aid. Tonight – bleeding and band-aid. What did I do wrong or different? It’s over now and the Avonex is doing it’s job. The side effects will come later in the night. I don’t worry so much about the flu like symptoms. I know what they are and I know they come and go. My boss (who has MS) told me that feeling sick from the medication is how MS tries to fight the medicine and trick you into not taking it. Bring it on MS – I will fight you forever.
The scariest side effect to me of the Avonex (and MS) is depression. A strong upbeat mind is so important in fighting MS. I do not want to risk losing that because I’m sad and not thinking straight. I will fight the possibility of depression by doing things that keep me centered (yoga) and strong (skiing) and well rested and happy.
When I first found out that I might have MS I checked out a book from the library. It was very clinical and not good bedtime reading. I read about everything that could possibly go wrong and about all the symptoms that I could experience. I read about fatigue, spasticity, weakness, balance problems, mobility issues, bladder and bowel symptoms, speech and swallowing problems, sexual difficulty, loss of vision, pain, vertigo, dizziness, numbness, cold hands and feet, depression, cognitive difficulty. I read about each symptom and stayed up all night crying about each symptom. I was terrified. The real downside was that there was no talk of how to stop it. There were suggestions on how to treat the symptoms but nothing on slowing the disease. The book was written in the 1970’s prior to the availability of disease modification drugs. This won’t be on my “must read” list.
While MS is really unpredictable I do think that based on my history, I don’t have to worry about waking up blind in one eye. My hands and feet are always cold and I have had some balance/vertigo issues. Numbness, weakness and fatigue are detectable sometimes but for the most part I haven’t been affected by the other symptoms. Of course I am still concerned but I am not scared or worried or up late thinking about what may be anymore.
In most situations, progress is good. With MS, progress is bad. I am looking forward to watching MS fail.
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