Getting shots at the doctors sucks.
Getting shots on a regular basis sucks even more.
Having to give yourself shots on a weekly or daily basis sucks the most.
Having an MS medication that requires you to give yourself an injection was definitely one of the worst things about the disease. At least in my opinion. But that’s the reality for many of us MSers. Whether it’s Avonex, Betaseron or Copaxone, the injection becomes routine for too many. The injections often add physical symptoms and leave physical reminders of this invisible illness.
The treatments for MS are ever-changing, including the injection medications. Copaxone which used to be a daily injection is now a three times a week injection at a higher dosage. Medications we never thought we’d see, like oral medications, are now commonplace, and used as a first option.
I was diagnosed when oral medications we’re just a thought. They were still in the research stage, and the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ conversation. I started with Copaxone, and although I wasn’t happy about it I was able to be consistent and compliant for about two years. The compliance streak ended when I needed to go off of Copaxone for a few weeks due to an unrelated infection. I had forgotten what life was like without that daily, painful reminder of what was going on inside my body. When I got the go ahead to resume my injections, I didn’t. I couldn’t stand piercing myself anymore. I couldn’t stand creating divots in my skin anymore.
Sure, I would inject occasionally to keep those around me who noticed happy. But that was a small few, and relatively few occasions. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I started to be compliant again. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to stop this disease, anyway I could. I reluctantly began again and I thought maybe I could help him understand why it was so hard. He quickly understood, and not long after I experienced a horrible injection site reaction which led to my transition off of Copaxone.
Copaxone was the only experience I’ve had with injectable medication. But that one was enough. If I ever have to come off Tysabri someday, I don’t think an injectable will ever be on the table for me. For some people, they are great, easy and work fine. But for others, it’s adding insult to an already huge invisible injury.
Husbands 2 Cents
Seeing the actual shot itself wasn’t what bothered me. It was the fact that it was a sad and depressing reminder of what was happening. There’s so much that had to happen in order for to be the most successful shot it could be. She had to ice it or heat it or something, she couldn’t just go and do it. And if she did, that’s when it would end up leaving the biggest mark. I wanted to help in the biggest way I could. I got ice packs and heat packs and made her lay down. But it didn’t work. It works for some people, just not her.