Shot in the Belly

Just thought I’d stop by and tell you how my last Humira injection went.

If you read my last post, you’ll know that self-injecting this medicine has been fraught with jitters for me. It hasn’t mattered that I know the shot won’t hurt as much as my imagination is sure it will. It hasn’t mattered that I know the stuff may send my rheuma-dragon into a stupor and, perhaps, put an end to at least some of the neverending pain that claims so much space in my consciousness each day.

Nope. Doing this twice-monthly jab has simply been crap.

Many, many nice people, fellow-rheuma-travelers all, responded to my post. They commented here, on RheumaBlog, and at RheumatoidArthritis.net, where the post was published in full. The vast majority commented on RA.net’s Facebook page.

I just want to say thank you, right now, to everyone who commented, for being so incredibly supportive. I didn’t really think that I was alone in hating to jab myself, but I had no real idea just how many people who take subcutaneous biologic DMARDs have almost exactly the same fears that I do, and that they face and overcome them every single time they inject, too. I realize, now, that I’m an unwitting member of a huge secret society. It’s called the I HATE JABS Society. ;)

Many of those who commented suggested I switch injection sites from my upper thighs to my abdomen. I chose to inject into my thighs, originally, because it seemed to me that if it was going to hurt, it would probably hurt less there. The idea of sicking a needle into my belly gave me the heebie-jeebies.humira-pen-figure-j-90-degree-angle

But so many people said it hurt less in the abdomen. A lot less. So many people, I reasoned, couldn’t all be wrong. So when I injected the other night, I did it in my tummy.

Heheh. Wow. It … worked. There was no pain. OK, maybe a second or two of “ah, there it is, here comes the burn” but then that went away and there was no burn at all. There was no pain when I removed the pen, and no pain when I put the little bandage over the tiny bead of blood that welled where the needle had penetrated.

No pain. No nothing!

So, I’m pleased to say that I’ve no longer any reason to dread these injections. I am so glad–and so incredibly grateful to everyone who commented. Let me give the advice, now: If you inject DMARDs, seriously consider injecting in your abdomen, even if the idea makes you shudder.  It’s so much better!

Now, if only my super-charged immune system will slack off a bit and let the Humira do its job. That would be the real triumph. Fingers crossed.

Anticipation

AnticipSubcutaneous_injectionating a delicious meal or a fun outing is one thing.

Jab day is another. Am I being childish, or just human? Find out.

Driven to Distraction

Renoir-woman-at-the-garden-1873self-portrait-pierre-auguste-renoir-SAFEThe pain, fatigue, and malaise of RA can be completely overwhelming. It can keep us from working, going out with family or friends, or simply stop us dead in our tracks. How was the beloved Impressionist Pierre-August Renoir, who had severe, disabling RA during the last 20 years of his long life, able to keep on? His art–and with the power of distraction.

Read about how Renoir’s drive and courage can apply to our own lives with RA in my latest post at RheumatoidArthritis.net.

The Storms in my Joints

Everett Shinn, "Snowstorm on Broadway"

Everett Shinn, “Snowstorm on Broadway”

With winter still pummeling large parts of the U.S., it seems like a good time to talk about how the weather may affect rheumatoid arthritis. Because I’m here to tell you, I don’t care what those skeptical scientist/doctor-types say. For an awful lot of us with RA, the weather does have a rather big effect on how we feel …

Read the rest here.

Moody

Remember mood rings?

Heh. Well, unless you’re of a certain age, you probably don’t. Created back in 1975, mood rings were these quirky, goofy rings with a fabricated stone that responded to–the makers claimed–your mood. If you were happy, the stone was a lovely aquamarine blue. If you were depressed, it was gray. Angry? Red. And etc. They were all the rage for a couple of years, and then, like most gimmicks (think Pet Rock), they faded mostly off the market.

 *Note: A quick googling tells me that mood rings are still out there, now in a huge variety of shapes and settings. Who knew?

Anyway. Back in August of last year, when I was in the middle of packing up and moving Mom and myself to our new apartment, I bought not a mood ring, but one of those little solar-powered toys for a couple of dollars to cheer myself up. It was a rough time for both of us: physically and emotionally exhausting at once. My toy is a daisy that nods its flower head from side to side, and sorta flaps its little leaves up and down when the sun hits the sensor. I used a black Sharpy to draw a little smiley face on the yellow middle of the daisy, too. It just tickled me.

Since then, I’ve gotten into the habit of setting it in my window when I get up in the morning so it nods happily nearby as I work. No matter how much pain I’m in or how blue I might feel, it makes me smile whenever I look at it.

So you can imagine how I felt this morning when I started to move the blinds aside a bit for my Happiness Daisy–and discovered

IT WAS BROKEN!

BrokenHappyDaisy1Oh, woe! Somehow my toy daisy’s stem got broken at the curve. It’s little head was drooping sadly.

Now, here’s the thing. When I saw it, my mood just flopped to my slippers. It’s silly, I know. I can replace that toy without much effort or cost. But it was special because of when and why I bought it, and that time is past, gone, and can’t be reproduced.

And that’s what made me think of those goofy mood rings. If I had one now, I wonder what color it would be. Black? Olive green? Brown?

I’m going to try a drop of epoxy or tape or something to fix my Happiness Daisy. In the meantime, I’ll just have to remind myself that life does go on, and in spite of the highs and lows, it’s usually pretty darned good–today included.

Here’s hoping that your Happiness Daisy, whatever it is, is smiling for you today.

Wren Interviewed

Recently, HealthyNew24 got in touch and asked me to answer a series of interview questions about living with RA. Here’s the result.

Rheumatoid Awareness Day

Rheumatoid Awareness Day is today, February 2. Let’s join the RA Day’s founder, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF), in taking up the banner to help spread the word about rheumatoid arthritis, a confusing and misunderstood disease…

Read the rest at RheumatoidArthritis.net.