Sunday, April 5, 2009

Commencing Humira

I think I've been on almost every medication approved (and some not approved) for Crohn's Disease at one point or another. I wrote this in 2007 when I started Humira (adalimumab) for the first time.

Humira, a new hope?

My doc decided that Humira was a better option then Remicade because we only get one shot at remicade. Also, I can give it to myself, rather having to have infusions at St V's. So he sent me away saying that the research Nurse would contact me in two or three days.

I went home and waited.

and waited.

and waited some more.

Four and a half weeks later I finally got a call and I headed off to St V's where the nurse began to explain all the potential side effects and benefits of Humira. I should mention that the information leaflet inside the pack is HUGE. It's this double sided A3 sheet with 6 point font writing. It's the encyclopedia of Humira.

She then calmly informed me that I would be receiving not one but FOUR injections and that I would be giving three of them to myself. Then she took them out of the box and laid them out in front of me.

"Yikes! I don't think I can do this" I thought feeling queasy all of a sudden.

I had tried to find a copy of the instructional DVD on youtube to save me explaining it all but the best I could find was the one imbedded on the humira website which you can watch here

So she did the first one while I watched. Wipe skin with an alcohol swab. Pinch the skin. Hold the syringe like a dart. Stab it in. Plunge slowly. Pull it out. Throw it in the sharps container.

Then it was my turn. She talked me through it. Wipe skin with an alcohol swab. Pinch the skin. Hold the syringe like a dart. and then I hesitated. This was the hard part. I took a deep breath and...hesitated again. The nurse laughed, "The first one's the hardest". I sat there looking at my pale skin and the sharp needle. Maybe I really couldn't do this. I felt the queasiness returning. It had to be done. There was no other option. I counted to three and it was done. It was in. I continued following her instructions. Plunge slowly. Pull it out. Throw it in the sharps container.

It actually turned out to be no where near as bad as I thought it would be. Under the watchful eye of the nurse I managed to plunge a 20mm piece of steel under my skin and inject myself not just once but three times. She warned me that it would hurt, that the skin might swell up and that I might have flu like symptoms for two or three days afterwards, none of which happened, thankfully. Although I did have a killer headache the day afterwards.

So today I had to give myself the injections at home. On my own. With no help. I psyched myself up, got out my sharps container, alcohol swabs, cotton balls. I washed my hands thoroughly and was ready to roll. It was at this point I realised I hadn't taken the syringes out of the fridge yet. The nurse's words or warning echoed in my ear "It'll hurt a lot if the Humira is cold".

So I waited fifteen minutes and then decided it was now or never. The first one stung. I think I plunged it too fast and the Humira was still a bit cold. I made a point of plunging the second one much slower and it didn't hurt at all.

I have the next dose in two weeks time. From then on it's just one dose every fortnight. It's probably still to early in the show to know if it's helping at all. I feel better but it could be pure determination. I really want this to work.


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