I HATE Needles. Seriously.


So, I really really really REALLY hate needs. I cannot reiterate this enough. Something happened to me and I don’t know what. When I was younger and I had blood tests done (I had a lot of them when I had a bout of fainting spells) and then I gave blood and never had a problem. I would watch the nurses put the needle in, watch the tubes filling up and keep a smile on my face.

Then something happened.

I’m not sure exactly what but it was as if a switch was flipped. bam. I went from “stab me” Meghan to “black out” Meghan. I can’t do it. I hate needles. I can’t watch. I see the nurse grab the little tubes to fill and I get sweaty and anxious and light-headed. I get sick to my stomach. And, I usually pass out… at least when something is removed from my body. Sometimes even when they don’t take blood! When I was in college, I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled out. I passed out before the anesthesia needle hit my skin. They had to bring me back with smelling salts just to put me back under. Couldn’t they have just done it while I was out? ;0)

Regardless, this is my life now. So, you can imagine how unhappy I was when I had to get blood tests at my Rheumy appointment two weeks ago. Then, I had to get dye injected for my MRIs. Now, on Tuesday, I had to get a freaking TB test. I HATE needles. I know I can’t really complain because  a lot of people have it worse than me, but I hate it and I feel for anyway who has to get pricked. Here’s my latest prickling:

So where does this bring me to? I had my follow up appointment with my Rheumatologist. He was pretty nice- he doesn’t seem overly knowledgeable about AS, but he told me that once we figure out a proper course of medication, I can get back to running. So that makes me love him. He gave me a pamphlet of information and told me that I should start Physical Therapy again (I don’t enjoy PT, but maybe this time I will?) and that the PT will help me figure out some breathing exercises and back exercises to help out. He said I should also be exercising because mobility is key (shout out to World Arthritis Day’s theme, Move to Improve).

Then we get to medication. So there are several types of medications out there, some are anti-inflammatories and they seem to not really be helping me at all. So then you move up to Tumor Necrosis Factors. They’re super drugs! Haha, no but they are used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis. So, at my appointment, my Rheumy decided that the best course of action as far as pain medication is to try out these TNF medications. He has prescribed Enbrel (Etanercept). I’ll spend a post on it later. Right after he prescribed it, he let me know that I should get the TB test and then come back in on Friday so that I could learn how to use the Enbrel because it’s injected twice a week either in the abdomen or the thigh.

I’m sorry, WHAT?!?! I hate needles. Now I have to inject crap into my body twice a week. And I have to refrigerate the medicine/injectors. I’m going to be that girl on the plane with a little cooler of needles. Awesome. This sucks. For the first time, I can say, this honestly sucks. I went home after my appointment, exhausted, in pain, and worn out. That was the first time I actually broke down and cried. Not for long and not very strongly, but I did.

Here is where I have a nice little shout out to Mariah Zebrowski at From this Point. Forward. She is Andrew’s sister-in-law and was diagnosed with RA a three (?) years ago. We were just talking about it and she mentioned that I was braver than her about finding out. I remarked that it’s probably because it hasn’t sunk in yet. Well, I think it is starting to… I really thought I’d go to the doctor’s office and he’d say he screwed up the results. Oh well. Life goes on. On to the next chapter of my life.


13 responses »

  1. OK. Here goes. You CAN do this!

    I know you can, because Jimmy started giving himself his insulin shots at 5. We did them for him when he was diagnosed at 3 and a half, twice a day. But at 5 years old, he announced he was going to do it himself, and he did! He said he gave shots better than we did, and that was the end of that!

    Meghan, I promise this will quickly become part of your routine, and your “I hate needles” will end. I promise. I have worked with hundreds of patients who were afraid of needles, hated needles, etc., but ALL my patients (both children and adults) got past it quickly.

    I’m thinking of you every single day.

  2. Hey Megs,
    There is an Arthritus Institute at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. My dad works with them and said that he is happy to get you a referral for a second opinion They are world renown and their doctors collaborate everywhere. Email me or call me about it 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. Meg
    Your needle fears are valid.
    Crying is good. Crying is great.
    Stepping through this process requires fortitude. I’m reminded of a favorite, borrowed saying that I have written on an aged sticky note stuck to the microwave-my personal bulletin board. I needed to read it occasionally as I headed to school for a difficult parent conference. It says ” adversity doesn’t build character- it just reveals it”. We all have that fortitude Meg. We conjure up that courage and emotional strength when the monsters are breathing down our necks.
    You will also need some patience as we all try to learn about AS and understand how best to support you.
    All our love.

  4. Pingback: A Biologic Agent Named Enbrel « Taking the World by Storm

  5. For the record, technically Enbrel and the like are Tumor Necrosis Factor BLOCKERS (TNF-blockers) – my understanding is that TNF is suspected to play a role in causing auto-immune inflammation, so blocking it is turning out to be a good thing. A STORM OF EXPERTISE HAS LANDED UPON YOU!!

    And coming from that other girl on the plane with a little cooler full of needles ~;o) you may hate the needles (honestly, I still do) but if the Enbrel works it will be TOTALLY worth it. The 30 seconds of your week it will take to do the injections will be a fair trade for the major improvement in your life if it works. Enbrel has had my RA under control for the last two years – I couldn’t have survived without it. And, even if it doesn’t work, there are other TNF-blockers you can try. I was actually on Remicade before I got to Enbrel. (Remicade happens by infusion so I had to spend 3 hours every month with an IV, so pros and cons to each)

    And, since you can’t seem to stay in one place like, ever, (and I really want to see you here in CO soon) have you seen my post about traveling with Enbrel? Tips learned from experience. ~;o) I have traveled with Enbrel to Spain, Australia, and China – and we camp all the time. It doesn’t have to cramp your style. ~;o)


  6. Pingback: Trials and Tribulations of Enbrel « Taking the World by Storm

  7. Pingback: Seizures and Blood « Taking the World by Storm

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