My Journey to Humira (Part 2)
In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of this series!
I switched to a new doctor about two years after my diagnosis because of a poor experience with the specialist that I had been seeing. I had had enough of him not listening to me and my concerns, so I knew it was time to switch. During my first appointment with my new doctor, she asked me about the medication regime that I was on, as well as all the other medications that I had tried in the past. She nodded and wrote down the medications as I listed them off. When I was done, she turned from her desk and looked at me.
She said, “it's time for Humira.”
Getting over my fear of needles
My doctor wrote up the prescription and had the office call my insurance. She said as soon as it was approved, I would have to come into the office for a training session with a nurse so that I could learn how to properly inject the medication. Due to my fear of needles, I was terrified.
Despite knowing Humira might help me, my fear was not going to go away. I always dreaded the idea of seeing a needle going into my body but, now, I could not look away since I needed to make sure I was using the proper technique. When I expressed this concern to the nurse, she said that this was a common issue and that it would get much easier over time. She explained to me the process of injecting and had me do a practice injection with her watching to make sure that I learned how to do it correctly.
I was surprised at how easy it was and found the injector pen that holds the medication to be fairly user-friendly. All I needed to do was take off two caps on each side, place the pen that housed the needle and the medication against my stomach, and push the button on the top. I then had to count to 20 seconds to make sure all of the medication went in, and then I was done.
My relationship with Humira today
Now, after being on Humira for two years, I noticed a big difference in the frequency of my flares. They do not occur as often and, when they do, they do not last as long. My fears over injecting myself have mostly gone away, thanks to both the nurse and the way that the Humira pen is constructed (the needle is completely inside the pen and is not visible unless you look directly inside). After you are done with the injection, the needle retracts, allowing you to again avoid looking at the needle. Learning this brought me a lot of comfort because I knew that I could avoid seeing the needle, which really helped me.
While things are better, there are still some days that are difficult. For example, some days I have really bad flares and I worry about injecting my Humira. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s that with the position of my flares, sometimes it can be difficult. In moments when I really cannot, my boyfriend has injected the Humira for me. Since it was so user-friendly, it was easy to teach him how to do it too.
While my experience with Humira has been positive, it may not be the right medication for you. Everyone should consult with their doctors to find what works for them, but I hope that you remember that even if a treatment or medication can seem scary in the beginning, it is important to be brave and work on facing your fears as the results for your health may be monumental.
Have you shared your HS story?