Next up, review all the materials and choose a disease modifying drug that may or may not work. That was the kicker, there was no guarantee that any of the medications actually worked. Of course there had been clinical trials and they were all approved by the ADA and supposedly they might slow the progression of the disease but nothing was going to stop it.
I poured over the literature, watched the videos and picked my poison. There were only 3 medications to choose from, all injections so to me, it was a no brainer. Who wants to do a shot every day or every other day when you can do one once a week?? I'll tell you who...those that don't know the difference between subcutaneous and intramuscular, that's who. That was my reasoning: getting stabbed once a week is better then daily or every other day. I had no idea it would mean a 1 1/4' needle that went all the way into the muscle vs. tiny needles that injected the medication right under the surface of the skin. You learn something new every day, right?
The nurse came to my house to show me how to administer the shot, had me practice on an orange. "Throw it like a dart" she said, "it'll slide right in." Then, aspirate the needle to make sure you haven't hit a vein, then push the syringe in and the medicine will go into your leg. Push slowly though, and relax your muscle. Big deep breaths and a quick little prayer...here goes nothing...
I threw the needle just like I'd thrown it into the orange a dozen times. Next thing I knew, I was staring at two holes in my leg and the full syringe in my hand. It had gone in, bounced out, gone back in and out again and I wound up with 2 holes and no medicine in my body. The nurse chuckled and I almost stabbed her in the eye with that needle. Damn, that hurt.
Lay the needle down, step away for a few minutes and go back for round 2. This time, the needle stayed in my thigh. Success! I have to say though, that was the last time I ever administered the shot. For the next 11 years, every Friday night Craig gave me my shot instead while I read a magazine and pretended it was happening to someone else.
While everyone else was looking forward to the weekend, I grew to dread Fridays. TGIF my ass. I was tense all day and my anxiety would reach a fever pitch the closer we got to shot time. Mama would keep Hannah distracted while Craig gave me the shot (not to mention, she herself couldn't handle it). There were only a few times when he hit a vein or worse, a nerve, and we had to start over and only once when I had a muscle spasm in my thigh just as the needle went in, did we actually have to stop halfway through, Needless to say, I wound up with a half dose that week.
The pain from the shot was bad but the side effects were worse. For close to a year, I'd lose 24-36 hours every week to flu-like symptoms: body aches, fever, chills. All I could do was try to sleep through it so Craig would wake me every 4 hours and cram more Tylenol down my throat. I would cry in my sleep.
I was afraid that watching me go through that over and over was going to scar Hannah for life so I dreamed up what we called TV Night with Daddy. Every Friday night, she and Craig slept in the living room on an air mattress. They'd make popcorn and watch TV. It was all about distraction but it was big fun for her. Something special just for her and her daddy. Eventually the doctor gave me a prescription for a high-dose ibuprofen and a fast-acting anxiety medication and they helped somewhat but I often still felt hung-over and groggy the next day.
I figured it out once, I took 572 of those shots, that's 286 per thigh if you're wondering. Every now and then, I'd hit a wall and think I just couldn't take it any more. But every single week, take it I did, no matter what. I just kept telling myself I owed it to those that loved me. Even though I hated it, even though there was no guarantee it was even working, I'd dig deep, for them.
Praying. For. A. Pill!