Your sneak preview: What is it like to self-inject for the first time?
This post is sponsored by HealthBeacon plc.
I can remember the moment I self-injected for the first time as if it was yesterday. It’s been over twenty years since that first injection. Allow me to walk you through my journey.
A promising new treatment
Twenty years ago, I was 70% to 80% covered in psoriasis and had so much pain and inflammation in my body.
I was desperate for a new treatment, something that would work. I ran across a flyer in a magazine that talked about biologics and decided to talk to my doctor about it. I was a good candidate for this new drug.
A helping hand
When the medicine finally arrived, I would sit down to self-inject, but it would take me over thirty minutes to get my nerves up and then I would go into panic mode. I decided to have my husband administer the first and second shot.
For some people, having a loved one administer their injection is a great alternative to self-injecting. If this works for you; keep at it.
Overcoming the fear of self-injecting
While I appreciated my husband offering a helping hand, I knew this was something I ultimately wanted to be able to do on my own.
I finally reached out to a psoriasis support group to get advice from others on how they got past the fear of self-injecting. They gave me some great tips and even offered to be on the phone with me during my next injection.
I took one friend from the support group up on the offer. She was so patient. It took me ten minutes to stick the needle in, and I immediately pulled it back out. I had to do it again, and I was grateful to have the support of a friend. She gently encouraged me and cheered me on to keep at it. I had already done it once; I could certainly do it twice. I worked up the courage and finally stuck the needle in and administered the medicine.
The rest is history. Since then, I’ve self-injected hundreds of times, and I’ve picked up a few tips over the years that might help you self-inject for the first time (and many times after that) too:
Talk to your Doctor: If you are scared or nervous, don’t go at this alone. Tell your doctor how you feel so they can get someone to walk you through the process. They have medical assistants who can help to ensure everything runs smoothly and to keep you at ease.
Play some music: Sometimes the noise from the auto-injectors can be harsh. Playing some music to drown out the noise can help. Music can also be a great way to help relax you or even pump you up to self-inject.
Reduce Pain: One of my favorite tips is taking the medication out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes prior to injecting to get the meds to room temperature. While the medicine is warming up, I ice the spot I plan to self-inject to numb the area. I find this can also help prevent or reduce injection site bruising!*
Don’t forget to safely dispose of your sharps using a sharps container!
Self-Injecting: A Saving Grace
Self-injecting has been a saving grace for me and my chronic illness. It has drastically helped me, and while it is not necessarily fun or easy, self-injecting has changed my life for the better. I was 70 to 80% covered in scales at the beginning of this journey with joint pain, skin warm to the touch, severe inflammation and swelling. I was what I would call a “hot mess”.
So every time I do have to self-inject, I just think to myself - “Girl, remember why you are doing this! This is helping you to have the best quality of life possible.”
I encourage you to remember this too. Self-injecting should ultimately help you take charge of your health and provide a better quality of life. Just take your time, keep practicing, and surround yourself with community members who will cheer you on through this process. You’ve got this!
If you are like me, I would say just take your time and keep practicing. You will be able to do this!
* Content is for informational and educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Always consult and follow the instructions of your healthcare provider and any patient information leaflet for your medicine.
Diane is a blogger, patient advocate, and speaker for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis for several organizations and advisory boards. She has been featured in many publications including Pink Fortitude, Invisible Project, Creaky Joints, Everyday Health, Web MD, Health Central, and the NY Times
She has spoken in front of the FDA about living with her diseases and goes to Capitol Hill yearly to lobby. . She vows to help as many people as she can on her journey and volunteers her time to help others. She tells her story to inspire others and not for pity. Her goal is to stop the stigma associated with this disease and help find a cure. Follow Diane’s work on Facebook and Twitter.
The author does not use Smart Sharps Bin. All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of HealthBeacon plc or Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.