Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stick It To Me

Today I successfully stabbed myself in the leg with a needle for the first time!!

Background story: Last Thursday I went to my rheumatologist’s office to start my new ENBREL treatment. (Again, don’t ask me why it is in all caps – apparently this medicine is still yelling at you.) Unfortunately, they didn’t have my dose available in an auto-injector that day, but they were anxious to get me started so that I can hopefully start feeling better sooner. Instead Nurse Connie gave me my first injection with a syringe in my thigh. It stung a little, but was relatively quick and painless.

Then Nurse Connie showed me how to use the demo auto-injector for when I do it myself in the future. She really took her time talking me through it and gave me some really good tips. She also gave me my official traveling case and documents, as I’ll have to carry the needles on the plane when I travel since the drug can’t freeze (which it might in the cargo hold). The drug can be in the carrying case with an ice pack for up to six hours, and then it has to be back in the fridge. This will make traveling a pain, especially road tripping or exotic locales. But if the medicine makes me feel better then I suppose it will be worth it.

As a side note, I have to say that Nurse Connie is a wonderful person. She always answers all my questions or is willing to find out the answer. She almost always calls me back the same day if I leave a message. And she has been an immense help to me over the past year in dealing with insurance and reducing expensive payments. For example, ENBREL is extremely expensive. While my Remicade infusions were covered as a “treatment,” giving me only a 20% co-pay (which was still hefty), ENBREL is classified as a “prescription,” giving me a 50% co-pay. This means that I will be paying around $800 a month for the drug. Worth it if it works, but otherwise a lot of money.

But Nurse Connie signed me up for a program where the drug company sends me the first month of ENBREL for free. I didn’t have to do anything at all. And then she referred me to a patient payment program, similar to the RemiStart program, where I should be able to get reimbursed for about $750 each month for the first year. Which will be long enough to see if it’s working. So when I left the office last Thursday, Nurse Connie told me my first month was on the way and that I should give myself the next dose in one week.

Of course, when this Thursday arrived there were no needles to be found at my house. I was about to call the drug company when, to my surprise, they called me. Unfortunately, they were calling to schedule delivery of my free month and the first available delivery was for next Thursday. So I called Nurse Connie to see what I should do, since these doses build upon each other and I didn’t want the first one to go to waste.

Luckily for me, Nurse Connie came through for me again. She provided me with an auto-injector from her supplies with the understanding that I will pay one back to her when mine finally arrive. This allowed me to get my second dosage on time. Which was awesome.

And so, this evening, I stabbed myself in the thigh with a needle for the first time. Well, technically I held down the pen and pressed the big purple button on top and the needle stabbed itself into my thigh. It was pretty easy to do, but since the auto-injectors are spring-loaded you have to wait about 15 seconds with the needle in your leg for all the drug to be delivered. This was painful, more painful than the syringe had been, and a very long 15 seconds. However, aside from it hurting a little, the whole process was pretty easy and I was pleased that I was able to do it without freaking out too much.

Hopefully I will be feeling better soon.


~kelly marie~ said...

You are so awesome for having the cojones to stab yourself in the leg. Seriously.

I really hope this medicine is it! Lots of good thoughts!

PS. My word verification is bitystut, but for a second I thought it was calling me a bity slut. haha!

Little Red said...

On the plus side, should a kiwi ever decide to attack me again in the future, you are the only one of my friends who would be a pro with my Epipen!

All sorts of happy, fuzzy feelings your way. I actually saw a commercial for this shouting medicine of yours the other day. Featured lots of pain-free, smiley people. Can't wait for you to join them. :-)

A said...

You're amazing! You could be Sean Connery in The Rock. Oh wait, not him, the other one. The sappy one. Nick Cage, that's it. You could totally whoop his ass.

Unknown said...

Dude, you are HARD CORE. Of course, this is the woman who popped a squat in 80 mph winds in a Wyoming snowstorm by the side of the road, so no real surprise there. You are a braver woman than I, that's for sure.

Oddly, I did a photo shoot for ENBREL a few years ago that required me to be in close contact with several live fish, which I hated, obviously. But anyway, I really really hope it works for you.

I'm sending you a package tomorrow, btw!

Unknown said...

not tomorrow because tomorrow is Sunday. fail.

~Mariah~ said...

Thanks for the support, everyone. It means a lot to me! ~;o)