Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to stick yourself and keep smiling

When my neurologist reccomended that I start on a treatment of Avonex for my MS, my first thought was...'sure, sounds great'. When he said how much it cost, my next thought was...'holy sh#t, i hope my insurance covers it otherwise there better be a home made recipe available on line'. Then he mentioned that it was in the form of an injection I'd have to give myself once a week...well lets say I was ready to draw the line in the sand. There was no way I was going to give myself a shot...and once a week at that.

I'm sure many a person has felt the same as me when it comes to giving themselves a shot. It's not something we ever think we'd have to do. Doctors and nurses and other health pros do stuff like that. It's not safe for someone to give themselvs a shot....but then I realized that people with diabetes have to do it, even young kids, so it must be safe. I guess I was just chicken-shit...So that was that. I'd have to suck it up and just do it. This was one thing I could do to help myself in this battle and damn it, I was strong enough to do this.......that's what I said to myself alot on the day leading up to the first shot.

SO, how do you stick yourself and keep smiling you ask? Well I'll fully admit, it's not easy. What totally helps is the crazy support from my family and just admitting it's hard but you're gonna do it anyway. We joke about it whenever we can and I've even offered the kids an opprotunity to learn how to give me the shots as well.....they all declined....

Other things we've come up with are (1)- don't bob up and down before you go for it because (2)- you will usually end up going in at an angle which hurts. (3)- ice down the area for 5-10 minutes. We were taught that the nerves that make you say 'yeow' are in the top most layer of skin and numbing that area can help. (4)- quick in, slowly inject, quick out. (5)- fig newtons make a great after shot reward.

I'm sure we'll come up with more ideas as time goes forward. Maybe some Tom Waits music in the backround is the key.....Hmmm......

Until next week.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7th Shot

SO I'm still at the early stages of my avonex shots where I still know them by number. Probably will be for a while. I know at some point Tuesday nights will be just another night where I happen to give myself a shot. For now, there is still an emotional lead up to the eventual sticking myself with a sharp object.

Usually throughout the day, there is an underlying tension or anxiety over what I have to do. It's a bit less on the days where my beautiful wife offers to do the job. I think what keeps my nerves in check during the day is the realization that it only takes a minute and then I'm done for the week and that I'm doing something active to treat my disease. So much of the mind f*#k of this disease is that at this time, it will never go away. Me and my family will be living with this for a long long time (this is where we chant...'go research, go research, go research...').

Back to the shots.....
Normally my after shot symptoms are extreme flu for about 18-24 hours. I know this is about to sound like a commercial voice over but here goes....symptoms included chills, fever, aching body and irritability (more than the norm). No real injection site reactions other than a little bruising one week. Each week has found those flu like symptoms decreasing in intensity little by little. This week finds my after shot symptoms declining yet again. It' almost noon on wednesday and all I'm feeling is some soreness in my joints like I dug a bunch of holes the day before. Maybe a few more weeks and I'll be back at work on Wednesdays (sigh).

I'm outa here for now. I'm on a staycation this week so I can hang out with my kids for a bit of summer fun as well as work on the master bathroom floor like I told my wife I'd do for the past year or two.

Next week...'How to stick yourself and keep smiling'....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

How it began...

"You have you have any questions?"

The words kinda echoed in my head. Questions? How could I think of a question? All I could do was sit there open mouthed. Less than 2 weeks had passed since I started feeling numb and tingly in my feet. A few days later, it had spread upward to my waist and stopped there. I figured it was a pinched nerve or something since alot of my time at work found me at a desk. Nothing a chiropractor couldn't fix, right? I even remember checking out WEBMD, and seeing MS mentioned and thinking, 'right, MS. It ain't that'.

SO....after my chiropractor sent me to my regular doctor because she was stumped, and my regular doctor sent me to a neurologist because he was stumped, the neurologist sent me in for an MRI. Very trippy experience if you've never had one. 2 1/2 hours of confinement in a giant toothpaste tube where the only time you feel an itch is when they tell you not to move. Kinda sucked, plus whatever I had was still a mystery, and the incredible pace at whick I was moving through the system had me a bit out of body.

Within a few hours of the MRI being complete, my neurologist (still weird to say the phrase 'my neurologist') had the results and called my wife and I in.....cue opening line...."you have you have any questions?" Luckily my wife was there, cuz I wasn't about to be talking. There was one question trying to coagulate, but I was doing my best not to focus on it.

I remember walking out of his office and into the waiting room where my two kids were (my step son was with his dad). I wasn't sure what to say or even if it was real. It didn't quite seem real, or even possible. MS? What the....? That's some serious left field shit. How could I go from fine to tingly feet to MS?

SO...after breaking it to the kids and some tears shed, we all headed home to start scouring the internet for answers to questions we had and for those we hadn't even thought up yet. It was a pretty trippy road that was laid out before us, but it was one that we now needed to head down. My goal with this blog is to not only let those who know me how I'm doing with all this but hopefully to be a place to share what the experience is like for others who are diagnosed with MS and maybe create a dialogue.

Please post any comments you have and I'll do my best to respond.