On Friday, the time finally came for me to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. It was more to put a needle where my belly is, in actual effect.
You see, my whole life I have preferred injections to tablets. I hate tablets – the smaller they are, the more stressful I find them to actually take, and the more I then hate them.
The first time I had an injection in my hand, I must admit, doesn’t really fit with the hardcore image I try to project nowadays. It is reported that cries of “Mumma, he’s chopping my hand off!” were heard from the consultation room on Ward 17, but I am not at liberty to confirm or deny these reports. Largely because I’ve clearly blocked the traumatic experience out from my memories.
When I started taking tablets though – and after I had been going into hospital on a weekly basis for an immunoglobin transfusion for quite some time – it became taking tablets that was the more traumatic experience. When I was offered the opportunity to switch my sole tablet medication Methotrexate to injections, I leapt at the chance.
This was some time in 2003, when I was already having daily injections of growth hormone, and twice-weekly injections of Etanercept (trade name Enbrel). The mathematicians among you will have worked out that that’s 10 injections a week, all in my lovely (but now fairly dented) thighs.
Everyone looks at me aghast when I say that I don’t mind injections. Until now, it has actually been my secret shame that I have never injected myself. Or anyone else for that matter.
Methotrexate has to be done by a nurse, and it was my lovely Mum who did my Etanercept and growth hormone, and occasionally some teachers when I was away overnight on school trips.
Now, however, when I have started Etanercept once more, I live alone. Well, actually with one highly squeamish friend who has to do enough running around after me, without me asking her to stab me on a weekly basis as well. Having said that, she might welcome the opportunity for some revenge for all the stretching and carrying.
Another person who might be grateful for an opportunity for some mild (and almost-okay) violence is my long-suffering boyfriend, but unfortunately he was unavailable at the time of the nurse’s visit on Friday so I had to go this alone. But the whole idea of self-injecting really freaked me out.
I knew it wouldn’t hurt, but I have had injections before which have hurt. Usually because of a wobble or something. I was worrying about having a wobble, literally.
I then had a metaphorical wobble. Being in the middle of moving house (literally, the house was empty apart from two handbags, a syringe of Etancercept, and a sharps bin) I didn’t have chance to prepare for my injection with this helpful list. I had to just go it alone.
I decided to go for my belly, because of the aforementioned dents, and then I was worried that I didn’t know how much that would hurt as I’ve never had an injection in my belly before.
But then suddenly, I just went for it. Right in the squidgey bit on my belly, that I’ve unintentionally been saving since Christmas for this occasion. It didn’t hurt, but when I took it out a little spot of blood appeared.
Feeling sorry for myself, and caught in the heat of the moment, I turned to the nurse and asked if it was meant to bleed practically with tears in my eyes.
I’m so proud of myself I’ve told basically everyone I know. I’ve been showing off the little mark on my belly – for once, loving my squishy bits! Rest assured I will be sharing this post on social media, so everyone can know what a brave little soldier I am.
Meet Collette and other friendly folk on Arthur’s Place Social, our Facebook Group
(Any opinions expressed in Collette’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Collette’s blog constitutes medical advice.)