BIG Adjustment – Injections: An RA Story

Photo: Myriam via Pixabay

God bless those who give themselves injections daily to live – like diabetics. Without the injections the person’s blood sugar level would harm their body. I remember my former brother-in-law who gave himself insulin injections every morning in his stomach, pricked his finger twice a day to check blood sugar levels, and gladly did so to stay alive. He didn’t die from diabetes complications, he passed away from cancer 21 years ago February 13th.

On the last Monday of March, I started Humira injections and then began Methotrexate injections the following Thursday. The culprit in this change to shooting medicine into my flesh? My liver and pancreas – temperamental buggers. The last lab reports showed my Rheumatologist that pills going through my digestive system were not being well received – injections would bypass the system (in theory) and lab results should improve.

I need my liver and my pancreas – both are vital, but one I can’t live without, the other, I can do like my former brother-in-law or my father, who has type II diabetes, and take more medicine. The injections are worth a shot (pun intended).

vaccination-2722937_1920I don’t mind needles – I have lab work done once a month and the lab techs at Penn State Hershey are fabulous – meaning the needle barely hurts and I never get bruising. Those are the standards I want to live up to when giving my own injections: No or little pain and no swelling or other side effects at the injection site. How do I do this? Follow instructions.

  1. Choose an injection site: stomach on either side of the belly button or one of the upper thighs. (site of choice now is upper thigh as lower stomach felt like a bee sting)
  2. Use a glorious amount of rubbing alcohol on the injections site.
  3. For Humira, it’s a pen so point and shoot. HOLD in place until the yellow flag appears in the pen and discard in Sharps Container.
  4. For Methotrexate, remove needle from package, fill syringe with 0.5 ml of liquid methotrexate, inject needle in site, and press plunger to deliver medicine. Cap needle and discard in Sharps Container.

Even now, reading these steps gives me ANXIETY and here is why – WHAT IF IT DOESN’T WORK! What if, after all of this effort, decision making, new skills of giving myself shots, etc. – either my lab results don’t improve or my quality of life doesn’t improve. These are the risks of going through a decision like this, but now comes the FEAR – WHAT IF I SUFFER THE HORRIBLE SIDE EFFECTS LIKE I HEAR ON TV (and in the pamphlet and from my Humira RN and my doctor)?

There are so many what ifs now. At some point, I will resolve myself and trust in God to guide me to do the right thing. I don’t know for sure if I am on the right track, yet I know this to be a part of the Chronic Disease management process. I will face anxiety and fear and ultimately depression as each phase of the process proceeds. I will get through it with God’s help.


Last night, laying in bed because my energy was depleted by 6 pm, I prayed. I prayed through the fear of side effects, through the anxiousness of wondering whether this new medicine and method are worth it, begging Jesus to help me feel better – even praying for healing if that be His will. Until I know whether this is the right path – I will pray, and pray, and pray. And keep shooting medicine into my body, and eating well, sleeping well, moving well and living well. This morning, I woke up to a new day and that is good enough. Amen.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

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