I've been injecting Avonex into the muscles of my thigh every week now since the summer of 2009. I usually do it on a Tuesday, but I'm pretty relaxed about it, and from time to time I have moved it by a day or so either way, depending on what suits my week the best. Mostly it's on a Tuesday night though.
There's not really a reason for this choice of day other than that Tuesday is the day when I had the initial appointment with the MS Nurse who showed me how to do it and when I had my first injection, and because I thought it would be preferable to ride out any side-effects on a weekday rather than to throw away a day at the weekend. The routine is almost always the same: take a couple of paracetamol and 400mg of Ibuprofen, inject and then hopefully sleep through any side-effects. Some people are so badly affected by side-effects -- headaches, flu-like symptoms and the like -- that they actually stop injecting themselves, preferring to do nothing rather than face those sorts of consequences every week. Luckily for me, I seem to tolerate the drug pretty well. It's not unusual to wake up on a Wednesday morning feeling as though someone is slowly pushing me back into the mattress, but it's never yet stopped me getting out of bed. Avonex can affect the function of the liver, and I have to have regular blood tests to make sure that everything is still working okay... but so far so good. It used to be that I didn't drink alcohol on the night I injected, but now I'm not even too worried about that. Well, I hardly drink during the week anyway..... but still.
In all that time I've been injecting, I've never once forgotten an injection. I sometimes remember when I'm lying in bed and have to jump up to get it done, and once in a while I only remember on a Wednesday morning.... but I've never forgotten entirely. Given that I've injected in places like the back of a camper van on the Great Ocean Road in Australia and outside a tent at Etosha National Park in Namibia, I don't reckon that's too shabby. I've carried needles and syringes onto planes all over the world (the only place that actually asked to see my Doctor's letter was in Hong Kong. In Johannesburg, they actually had a wheelchair waiting for me at the transfer gate! I don't tend to bother to ring the airlines in advance these days... )
Until.... I was at lunch today with my team for someone's leaving do when it suddenly occurred to me that I had no recollection of injecting myself. I'd been in a bit of a rush on Tuesday night, coming straight in from work and heading out to choir practice, but I simply couldn't remember if I'd got it done when I got home or not. I thought probably not, as I couldn't remember taking the paracetamol or ibuprofen, but wasn't 100% sure.
It probably doesn't matter all that much. Avonex isn't a cure for MS; it's thought that *maybe* it *might* help slow down the progression of the disease, but there's no way of knowing if it's made any difference to me or not. When you are first diagnosed and you're offered the choice of going onto disease modifying drugs, it's a perfectly acceptable choice to say that you don't want to take anything. I chose that I would rather take something that might be helping than do nothing at all, which definitely isn't. Missing a week probably isn't that big a deal.
Still. I was annoyed.
When I got home this evening, I checked the kitchen bin and the recycling for the packaging of my injection. When I was convinced that I 99% hadn't done it and so wouldn't be at risk of doing it twice in the same week, I injected myself tonight. On a Thursday.
I reckon I'll roll next week's injection to Wednesday. Why did I bother tonight? Well, as I said, I'd rather do something that might be helping than do nothing.
Technology at a glacial pace Part 2
5 days ago