Humira Pen vs. Syringe : Battle of the Burn

Okay, so I’ve been using Humira for almost two years now. (It took me a moment to realize that…how time flies!) In the office the nurse administered the first injection using the syringe, in my thigh, and I pretty much wanted to punch her in the face. I did the second one myself, in my abdomen, and made the mistake of doing it while standing up. By the way, that is a huge mistake. I didn’t anticipate the burn, and tried to push it faster thinking, “the sooner it’s done the sooner it’ll stop hurting,” which is also very wrong. After that I swapped to the auto injector and told myself life with the pen, while still a burning pain, was better than wasting the stuff by accidentally withdrawing the syringe too soon.

Today I realized I was a few days late on my injection (whoops) because my dose schedule had changed due to being sick. I prefer to inject on Sundays, since I sometimes feel a little flushed the day of and day after, and I enjoy my Fridays and Saturdays if I can. Alas, the whole kidney infection fiasco threw off my dosing schedule. I didn’t inject on Tuesday again because, well, why the hell would you inject on a Tuesday?

Anyhow, I open up the package, and was surprised to see two syringes instead of two pens in there. So that’s why the box looked different. I had a new rheumatologist, and I guess maybe she just defaulted to the usual, but I was a bit annoyed. I started seeking out friends who were nurses or going through nursing school, offering Starbuck’s gift cards to anyone who could save me the horror of injecting myself. I have a high pain tolerance, it’s not the burning as much as it is the insatiable urge to STOP hurting yourself. Seriously, if you stick a needle into your abdomen, and it burns, your reaction is to flinch, move your hand, do something. Coaxing your body to just relax while you burn it is kind of a difficult task.

I decide to suck it up. Worst case scenario I waste a little, which is fine because I’m pushing dates to start injecting on Sundays again anyhow. (I think…it all depends. I may be increasing my dosage in which case it doesn’t matter which day as long as the hot flash portion associated with the shots mellows out…which lately it hasn’t been as bad.)

YouTube to the rescue, I watch a girl inject in her abdomen sitting down, and I think, “Why the hell would you even try and inject yourself standing up you moron?!

So I start, and instead of pushing the plunger as fast as I can, I decide to go slowly, and if it burns, to push it slower. To my amazement, the burning is minimal, the waste is minimal, and I don’t want to cry, kick, or scream. If the next injection goes as well as this one did, I could see myself swapping to the syringe over the pen from now on.

My only concern is wasting. With the pen, it’s in there, rarely have I missed. I have gone too deep, or hit a vessel of some sort and ended up with a  giant bruise, but for the most part, it’s accurate. I have this nightmare scenario where I miss with the syringe, and I’ve wasted a good portion of the medication I need to feel normal. I already have two oral ulcers from being a couple days late, I can’t afford to be wasting any of the medication.

As for the ulcers, meh, they’re small in comparison to the usual, and thus far my legs are intact. I think the hard part about Behcet’s is the variety of symptoms you can have.

I’m going to write a second blog today about weight loss, weight gain, and the irony of the entire situation I find myself in, because I think it’s something most people who juggle chronic illnesses and meds for them can relate to. I’d write it now, but some gluten free vegan Pad Thai is calling my name!

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Humira Pen vs. Syringe : Battle of the Burn

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