Friday, July 04, 2008

The Price

literature = free

medicine filled needles = $125/month copay

needle auto-injector = months of the five stages of grief (well, maybe four - I'm not sure 'acceptance' has set in yet), followed by weeks of worry and anxiety and fear

travel bag for the auto-injector and medicated needles = free

plate of milk and cookies to reward yourself for pressing the button on the auto-injector yourself = priceless

Though I really had to fight the urge to crawl under the table (and my dining table is quite tall and would have worked well for me), I persevered and stared that needle straight in the eye. I put the auto-injector on my thigh and it only took me about 5-10 seconds (after eyeing Hubby for one last encouraging look) for me to press the button. I was pleasantly surprised. The needle is very small (the smallest on the market for MS medications) and it's a subcutaneous injection so it doesn't have to go in too deep. The needle didn't hurt much at all...much like a mosquito bite. It certainly was much less painful than the 4x daily finger pricks for the gestational diabetes blood sugar tests! The medicine, on the other hand, did sting a bit but it also wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. Holding the button down for a ten-count wasn't too horrible either. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. This was the smallest dose (I'll be getting about five times this much in another month) and the amount of fluid to be injected will double as well. But I'm trying not to think about that (denial is the first stage).

As for the side-effects, they weren't great but not as bad as they could have been. It can take a good six months for my body to "get used" to the medication until I'm seeing slight (or no) effects (and hopefully I'm not one of those who never gets used to them). About 4 hours after I took the shot, pure and utter exhaustion set in. It felt like I'd taken about 4 Benadryl's on top of the other. I could barely keep my eyes open to finish cooking dinner. Kids got down to bed late and I finally crawled to my own bed around 9pm, very early for me. Though I was already on Ibuprofen, I was still running a fever when I went to bed. Sleep was very restless and I woke repeatedly all night long with the fever. I feel groggy and sleepy this morning but nothing I can't handle. I do expect the side effects to keep worsening as I go along (they warn of flu-like symptoms with fever, chills, nausea, muscle-aches, tiredness). The injection site looks like a mosquito bite with a large (quarter-sized) red circle around it. I'd show you a picture of that but hey, it's my thigh! ;)

I'm actually on an introductory program for the medication so it's only $50/month for a year for the medication. In the grand scheme of things, $125 isn't bad considering that, without insurance, it's over $2K a month...and if you look at it that way, Hubby just got about a $24K raise. lol

Keep MS research in your prayers. They're currently working on oral trials of this medication and my doctor is hopeful that it might be out in 2010. I know there are many MSers who are so scared of needles that they simply won't go on the medicine so please keep this medical research on your prayer list. And if you want to pray for me, pray for continued courage, understanding kids and mild, quick side effects.


Pam said...

I'm very proud of you! Prayers for the research and for you. I like how you blogged "the price"--didn't mess with your sense of humor! :)

Heather said...

Wow, this is the VERY reason I refuse to go on meds for RA--though I have been very bless3ed with using JUST supplements and have only had one major flare up in the last year. The side affects in my case are worse than the RA itself (though potentially in the future it will be worse and I will then go on the prednisone etc, maybe, though I would rather just up the supplements which seem to d o the trick.)

That said I am glad things are working for you and that you are managing to to do the shots yourself, I know I would have a VERY hard time with it. Definitely praying.

Cat said...

Of course you have my prayers, they've been having some promising ms studies here in Aus too, so definitely hoping and praying for some fantasic advances in this field!

And definitely prayers that all the symptoms are mild and go quickly.

Katie said...

I'm sos thankful that there are meds out there that can help arrest the development of MS. You are so brave to try them and to give yourself these injections! (And hey if it doesn't hurt as much as the glucose prick things, that's really cool!)

I hope your mom and husband can help out a little bit while your body is adjusting to the meds.

Hang in there and you are in my prayers every day!

Toni said...

Good for you for being so brave. I will most certainly keep you and the researchers in my prayers.