Recently I read an article entitled, “Taking the Sting Out of Injections” (Momentum, The Magazine of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Spring 2013, page 40) and I was reminded of the long road I’ve traveled before and after the availability of disease-modifying medications.
In 1987 my first neurologist told me to go home and rest after my initial MS diagnosis. It wasn’t until 1993 that the first disease-modifying agent was FDA approved. The day of its approval was the day I began my long injection journey, beginning with Betaseron.
My journey continued after a series of side affects forced me to jump ship and hop aboard the second approved medication: Avonex. Finally, in 1996 I found the injectable that worked best for me: Copaxone.
Today there are eight FDA approved disease-modifying agents. Six of these are injectables.
When I was young, I never dreamed I’d be expected to shove a needle filled with medication into my body, for an illness I never heard about. But, as they say, into each life a little rain must fall. Who knew there’d be a downpour!
I admittedly get needle fatigue. Some spots are more bothersome than others. I grow tired of dealing with the pain and stinging that plague me after each shot. I sigh every time I go on a trip and need to remember to pack my medicine. I hate injecting in hotel rooms. I just do.
I constantly remind myself that every time I inject this foreign liquid into my body, I am taking care of myself while silently yelling, “MS go away!” I know how blessed I am of the approval of MS medications, and of the many choices available today. I am happy for the newly diagnosed who never have to live in the dark ages of MS.
My secret to staying on course? I visualize the medicine pulsing through my body, making me a healthier person as it screams at the myelin to stop this nonsense and repair itself. Not exactly a scientific approach, but it works for me.
So here’s my Question of the Week: How are you doing with your injections? What do you do to stay on course, or have you decided not to stay on course? Please share your stories so we can learn from each other.
Be well, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Cathy Chester is the author of, An Empowered Spirit, a blog about living a vibrant and healthy life after the age of 50.