Alright, I’m not proud, but I can’t lie to you guys: It was really freaking hard to give myself my first syringe injection of Enbrel.
I’ve been using the pen injectors since March – 8 months! – but had been having problems with post-injection welts and bruising and button delays/glitches (I would press the top part of the pen and nothing would happen). You can read more about that here, here, and here.
My marvelous nurse (who clearly thinks I’m tougher than I am) thought that I may be ready to try syringes. According to her, patients say the syringes are less painful. Also, since you’re in complete control, you can’t have glitchy buttons or not know if it worked.
So, she gave me four syringes and told me to try it out.
I got home on injection night from a really great dinner date and set up. I was feeling pretty confident. I’d even had some wine at dinner, which I thought should make things a little easier.
I let the medicine get to room temperature, washed my hands, sat down, put rubbing alcohol on my thigh, iced my thigh, pinched the skin, went for the “dart-like motion” to inject myself…and froze. So I tried placing the needle on my thigh, thinking I’d just push it in…froze again. And then cried because I was frustrated. Why couldn’t I just do it?
I texted a friend the pic you see to your left and said I needed a pep talk, to which he replied, “Yikes. You’re a courageous woman. Find the life energy in your fear.”
I don’t know about life energy, but the validation that it was a huge, scary needle made me feel a little better.
I tried again. Still couldn’t make myself do it. At this point, it’d been about an hour and it was a little past midnight. Frustrated and wishing my cat had opposable thumbs and could do it for me, I called my little sister.
She’s as wussy about needles as I am, but she does have an epi-pen (that she’s never used), so I thought maybe she could do it for me. She said yes, I could come over to her (college) apartment and she would try her best to stab me in the thigh. I said I’d give it one more go and call her back.
The thought of driving over to my little sister’s and making her do it gave me renewed inspiration to man-up and do it myself. I would never want to give her an epi-pen! I knew that it would be hard for her to do it, even though it’s not her thigh.
So I looked on YouTube and found this video. Seeing that this big guy was freaked about self injection too made me feel better. Also, his reaction – actually, not so bad! – gave me confidence.
I didn’t do the “dart-like motion,” I just gently put more and more pressure on the needle until it punctured my skin and the full thing disappeared into my thigh. Success! I took a breath and pushed the liquid into me slowly. It didn’t hurt, it didn’t sting, it didn’t even bleed when I pulled it out.
It’s less painful then the pen at least. I think it will go a lot better this week, since I know what to expect.
And for those of you about to self-inject for the first time, I am here to report that it may be psychologically difficult to give yourself an injection, but it really truly is ACTUALLY, NOT SO BAD.
#1 by lcat20 on November 20, 2012 - 9:58 pm
that looks a bit bigger than the needles i use for my MTX… but congrats on finally gettin the job done :D. the first time is the worst… just stay proud of yourself, and remember that you’ve done it before.. you’re right, its mostly the first psychological hurdle
#2 by musefulness on November 21, 2012 - 6:07 pm
Thanks! Have to do it again this evening and your advice & confidence helps a lot!!
#3 by apierce on November 20, 2012 - 10:44 pm
Congrats on conquering your fear! I’d have the same problem, but you’re right, it’s completely psychological. Hopefully it works out for you!
#4 by musefulness on November 21, 2012 - 6:10 pm
Thank you! I feel proud and am glad I have this community to share it with. Somehow my friends and family don’t really get how finally getting a needle into my thigh could make me so proud/happy!
#5 by apierce on November 21, 2012 - 11:45 pm
I guess you need to experience life with the disease to truly understand it. That’s why I started blogging. But yea, you have cheerleaders here!
#6 by Ra Ra Rad Me (Shelly) on November 30, 2012 - 7:19 pm
I was just prescribed Humira and was too psychologically disturbed to do it! I finally gave in and a had a nurse at my rheumatologist do it. I was amped up and it really didn’t hurt much. Within 10 minutes (if I wasn’t so freaked out to be on this medication) I could have forgotten what happened. I hope to be as brave as you soon to be able to take care of it myself! You rock!
#7 by musefulness on December 2, 2012 - 3:33 pm
Thanks! You’ll get there. It’s gonna suck the first time, but then you’ll be a self-injection rockstar!