Welcome!

This blog is to show people what it's really like to live with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 18. When I was diagnosed, I searched the web and found very few accounts showing the difficulties of dealing with this disease at such a young age. On top of this, there were NONE that described the college experience living with RA, which has inpired me to start this! I hope my account can provide hope and support to RA fighters of all ages, and especially to those who have just been diagnosed!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Enbrel

I started Enbrel about a month ago, and recently took pictures of the process. My Rheumatologist told me that the methotrexate and plaquenil were not enough anymore. 

I was incredibly hesitant to start the shots, considering they are weekly injects and I completely DESPISE shots. I originally wanted to do the monthly IV drip, but somehow my rheumy and parents talked me into doing the weekly injection. I chose the pen version, and the weekly dose will be better to provide constant medication.

Knowing that I was living away from home, they even sent me a brand new bright red hazardous waste bin that I get to keep in my dorm. YAY.............. try explaining that to your ra or friends.

The Shot (The Pen) 


First of all, I want to note that before each injection, I ice my leg for about 3 minutes, clean it with an alchol pad, and then proceed. I find that the ice helps to numb the skin, making it hurt less. My dad reccomended I do this, considering he takes the weekly humira for psoriasis and it has helped him.


  • The directions tell you to first clean your hands, and pull the skin apart with your index finger and thumb to make area tight. If you don't do this (which I have done) the needle tends to go through more skin, causing it to bleed more afterwards. 
  • When you place the pen onto the area, you have to push it down first, so the rubber tip sinks down a bit. It almost seems like a spring, you push it down until you can't and are ready to basically shoot your leg. 



Yes, I took pictures of the one time I forgot to pinch the skin. 

Also, please excuse my messy room. Although I think it really shows the college life haha.

  • This was me right before I pushed the button. You can see that I am pushing it down into my skin (the spring like thing I mentioned)The cap is a dark blue cap, and it you have to push it all the way down in order for it to work. 
  • Once you click it, there is a lound snap noise, and the needle in inserted.
  • It stays in for about 30 seconds, until you hear another click, and it is safe to pick the pen up. When it is in however, you want to keep your hand as still as possible, because the needle is in fact about 2 inches in your flesh. And moving your hand would not be pleasent. When the medication is going in, it slowly inserts, and there is a slight pain or burning, but it's not bad at all. 
Afterwards

The redness on my leg is from the cold ice pack!


  • It will start like a small dot of blood like this, but be cautioned, it spreads very quickly. I'm not sure if this is because my blood is thin from other medications, or from the enbrel. I usually wipe it off with a tissue or gauze, and place a bandaid on it. (However, often times I have to change it due to the amount of blood) 

  • You might want to note the brusie from last week. That's one downside of the weekly shots. I always have small unfortunate looking bruises on my leg.
My Review

I really didn't notice a difference in my joints at first, but over time I have realized that I haven't had any swelling in the past month. I'm not sure if this is because I have gone back to school or not. However, I am working at the same job I was over break, so this should not be the case. 

What I DID notice right away was my energy level. While on methotrexate, my energy is always shot. I never have energy to do anything, and with a daily 8:00 am class, I thought this would be a problem. However, since being on enbrel, I have noticed a tremendous increase in my energy. I am more active and more awake for nearly everything, and I absolutely love it!!

Overall, I'm obviously going to stick with it to see what happens, but so far so good!




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