Coping with self injections?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Lelainia 4 years, 5 months ago.

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  • March 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm #8819

    sarah
    Participant

    Hi all, I’m glad that I have finally crept out of the shadows after creeping on this site for a good while now. A little background about myself… I was diagnosed in October 2011 and was 19 at the time. My neuro said that we should monitor things for a year and see how the MS is progressing and sure enough, a few months ago with my last MRI he said it would be in my best interest to start one of the DMTs. In February received my package from Rebif and was to start up shortly. Everything took awhile to sort out (which I’m sure lots of you know the feeling) and I started up at the end of February.

    So, up to now. I am on week four and almost done working my way up to the full dose. The thing is, I am having lots of anxiety about actually doing the injections myself. I am using the Rebi Smart right now because it seemed like the easiest method to administer the drug. I was hoping to get some input from anyone about how you deal with anxiety and if you might have adopted some sort of routine/ritual. I know that I want to be on a DMT and the side effects aren’t as crappy as they could be (fatigue, flu, all that jazz) but every time I go to do an injection it takes me around an hour to muster the guts to press the injector button. I’ve never had much needle anxiety but there’s something about my doing it to myself that triggers it I suppose.  I don’t have much of anyone to talk to who has experience with self injecting, let alone the Rebi Smart, and any input is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance for reading my spiel and hope you’re doing well!

    March 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm #8837

    KaylaDawn
    Participant

    xcx

    March 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm #8838

    KaylaDawn
    Participant

    Hello Sarah,

    I read your post and I can ABSOLUTLY understand what you are going though. I too was diagnosed with MS at 19 years old. I have always had a huge needle phobia – finding out the medications for MS were by self injection forced me to overcome by biggest fear. It took me about a year, or little over a year to commit to taking a medication only due to the fact that I didn’t think I could give myself a needle.

    I wish I was about to tell you helpful tips that I used to overcome this BUT I don’t have any. It took me well over a hour to get up the nerve to do my injection  – I started on Copaxone so this was a every day event.  I would get my needle all set up to take. Lay it out on the table, stare at it for a while, pick it up and look at it, even place the auto injector on my leg. Then I would get scared and procrastinate until I finally got mad enough at myself for stressing out about it put it on my leg count to 3 and hit the button. The best was when I had someone else around to do the injection for me. I would also call my dad and he would talk me through it over the phone.  Some days I even took my injection to work. At the end of the day when I was in a rush to get home (nobody likes to stay at work longer then they have to!!) I would have my coworker give me my injection. I found this very helpful because I felt rushed which didn’t give me time to make a big deal out of it! It is now 5 years later and I am on Avonex so its once a week needle and I am finally able to do it on my own.

    I’m sorry I don’t have more helpful hints but wanted to write you back to let you know your not alone. I went though the same thing. It just took time to get used to it. I still cringe every time I put that needle to my leg – I think I have just become braver.

    All the best my dear!

    Kayla xox

     

    March 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm #8839

    KaylaDawn
    Participant

    Hello Sarah,

    I read your post and I can ABSOLUTLY understand what you are going though. I too was diagnosed with MS at 19 years old. I have always had a huge needle phobia – finding out the medications for MS were by self injection forced me to overcome by biggest fear. It took me about a year, or little over a year to commit to taking a medication only due to the fact that I didn’t think I could give myself a needle.

    I wish I was about to tell you helpful tips that I used to overcome this BUT I don’t have any. It took me well over a hour to get up the nerve to do my injection  – I started on Copaxone so this was a every day event.  I would get my needle all set up to take. Lay it out on the table, stare at it for a while, pick it up and look at it, even place the auto injector on my leg. Then I would get scared and procrastinate until I finally got mad enough at myself for stressing out about it put it on my leg count to 3 and hit the button. The best was when I had someone else around to do the injection for me. I would also call my dad and he would talk me through it over the phone.  Some days I even took my injection to work. At the end of the day when I was in a rush to get home (nobody likes to stay at work longer then they have to!!) I would have my coworker give me my injection. I found this very helpful because I felt rushed which didn’t give me time to make a big deal out of it! It is now 5 years later and I am on Avonex so its once a week needle and I am finally able to do it on my own.

    I’m sorry I don’t have more helpful hints but wanted to write you back to let you know your not alone. I went though the same thing. It just took time to get used to it. I still cringe every time I put that needle to my leg – I think I have just become braver.

    All the best my dear!

    Kayla xox

     

    April 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm #8851

    spicy
    Participant

    hey ladies,

    Keep on plowin’ through, you’re doing great!!

    Tips that I found helped me with avonex and then copaxone  (helped a little anyway):

    -you can use “witch hazel” and it’s supposed to help w/ the reactions to the hives

    – you can buy numbing cream that will numb the skin before your injection (i can’t think of the name, but I had a friend who used this and swore by it).

    – take a benadry before hand (this was big for me)

    – i used to play stupid little games w/ myself … like I would make a big deal out of it and say “hey look at me, I’m taking steroids, lets hit the gym” and then everyone would laugh at me and it really helped me calm down.  Oddly enough I did much better when someone was watching me, I guess it gave me a bit of “hidden strength” and I didn’t want to back down?!

    April 7, 2013 at 9:21 am #8870

    Footsteps
    Participant

    Hi!

    Spicy has some great suggestions but here’s what I find helps.  Really this is just through my own trial and error.  If it helps great.  If it doesn’t then don’t bother.

    for dealing with side effects

    – I take Tylenol when I take the injection and again the next morning.

    – take the injection out of the fridge for about an hour before use.

    – I take the injection last thing before I go to bed.  I find if I’m able to get to sleep before the side effects and insomnia set in then I can sleep off the worst of them.

    and for the actual act of self-injecting

    – I hear a number of people numb the skin with an ice cube before injecting.  I’ve never tried it.

    – I like doing my injection in front of the TV so I have a bit of a distraction.

    – I find deep breathing and concentrating on that helps.  I take in a breath as I position the needle and exhale as I inject.

    Hope it helps!

    April 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm #8969

    F.U.MS
    Participant

    Hey Sarah,

    I’ve been taking these needles for over 10 years now. I really can’t remember how I overcame my fear because it was so long ago. I remember it being the worst though. I guess as time goes on you’ll just find it easier. I used to take an hour to finally do mine as well. Now I just look at the needle, take the cap off, remove the air and give myself the needle. One weird thing I do is bit down on the cap while I’m giving myself the needle. It’s just something that you will accept as part of your life one day. Take as much time as you need for this. It’s not fun but it’s worth it.

    Aaron

    April 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm #8972

    sarah
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions and input, I really appreciate it 🙂

    June 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm #9358

    chanely6
    Participant

    Hello Sarah,
    Like  everyone  else there is to much to add I was diagnosed 8 years ago at the age of 49 years old. I have been left blind in the right eye. I know what  it is like, my biggest fear was self injecting . After the first year or so I was introduced to the auto injector which I love!  What I do is first is use a block of ice / ice pack put it on the area where I am going to do the injection. I freeze the area or 5 minutes I hind after this it rarely hurts.
          I hope this helps hang in there.
    chanely6

    June 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm #9416

    Lelainia
    Participant

    The freezing cream, which you can get over the counter at the pharmacy (just ask them!) is called Emla cream. It costs about $10 for a small tube, but a little dab will do ya. It works really well-in hospitals, they use it on little kids when they are going to stitch them up.

    June 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm #9749

    JGarrido
    Moderator

    Similarly to the TV suggestion, I always listen to music when I do my daily injection so I have that distraction. I particularly like listening to songs I know the lyrics too so I can sing along! 🙂

    July 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm #9947

    weezerface
    Participant

    I’m with Lioncoeur, I always put in headphones when I do my injection, so when the spring on the Autoject pops, I don’t jump or flinch. Also I try not to look at it, but that’s just me. Some people say It helps to look. I personally keep my eyes on the TV when I’m doing it, usually a silent movie so there’s something to read. Also I do my injections when I wake up so I don’t have to worry about doing it all day like “oh god when I get home I have to do the injection..” or “I can’t go to sleep yet I still need to do the injection”. Nope! It’s already done first thing so I can do whatever I want all day/go to sleep whenever I’m tired.

    Good luck, and be strong!!!!

    August 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm #9979

    Robert
    Participant

    Hi Sarah.

    I know it can be tough to do self injections (I’ve been doing them now for 4 years) and I actually started on the Rebi Smart Machine in a study before they were released.  I know there is comfort settings on the machine on how fast or how deep you want the injection to go if that might help with the anxiety at all. What I found that worked for me was that when you put the machine down on your skin squeeze firmly the skin around the base of the machine so it’s not lose skin the machine is trying to puncture through because that’s when it really hurts. I hope that helps. Cheers

    August 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm #10113

    F.U.MS
    Participant

    Hey Sarah,

     

    Looks like you got some great advice from everyone. All I have to say is keep going and it gets easier. Your anxiety is so normal. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who says, “I just started Rebif and I love it! Self injecting needles is the best!”. I’ve been on Rebif for a really long time and the needles are just an annoying part of life for me now. The fact that they have helped me have a pretty normal life is amazing though. You’ll figure out your way to handle your anxiety and get on with life. Life is good. I’m gonna go do a needle right now actually.

     

    a

     

    a

    November 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm #10849

    sarah
    Participant

    Hi everyone! I keep meaning to check in on the forum but I have been super busy the past little while.

    I am getting better with the needles, thankfully, and have recently switched to Copaxone after 6 months of the Rebif and Rebismart. I find that the Copaxone needle hurts less (actually can’t feel it go in, the medicine itself burns like crazy after injecting though) so that has been a huge relief. Makes me wish I had started on Copaxone originally! Again, I just wanted to thank everyone for your contributions on the subject and things are definitely getting easier with time. 🙂

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