I’ve mentioned in a previous post of my incurable skin condition, Hidradenitis Suppurativa. In December, my doctor and I came to a conclusion it was time to look at new treatments. I weighed a couple of different options but ultimately decided on Humira injections.
Now, let me say I’m pretty tough when it comes to pain. Shots don’t even make me blink. I’ve had six tattoos, and of course Hidradenitis has toughed me up as well. But let me tell you, nothing and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for the excruciating pain of a Humira pen injection.
I did two shots initially in my doctor’s office and instantly broke into tears. It takes ten seconds for the medicine to infiltrate your skin. The pain is nothing I have ever felt before or since. It is the ten most agonizing seconds of my entire life. With the click of the pen my anxiety shot through the roof as waves of pain rolled in. Not only does it burn but mixed in with the sting of the shot created a mini torture device in this pen.
It started taking me fifteen minutes just to psyche myself up to push the trigger button. My nervous thumb hovered over the button as flashbacks from two weeks before played over in my mind. But my sweet loving husband tried his best to be optimistic. “Once you do this, you won’t have to do it for another two weeks!”
Yes, but then I’d be here again. Shaking and crying before I even injected it.
I read all sorts of blogs about trying this or that. Leave it out in the fridge 30min before you inject the shot.
I was already injecting myself in the thigh. I couldn’t even imagine injecting myself in the stomach.
Ice the area, don’t ice the area.
But nothing helped.
Until this week.
I told my dermatologist of the trouble I’ve been having and her nurse offered to show me a new way. I was hesitant but willing to try anything for a bit of relief.
“Inject it in the stomach,” she said. “It’s actually less painful in the stomach.”
I did as she instructed and I tensed up but the ten seconds were now seconds and not torturous centuries. She was a miracle worker.
I’ll share with you her tricks.
1) Pick a spot on your stomach. Preferably use the side you are most comfortable with. I am right handed so I used my right side.
2) Wipe the spot with alcohol as usual.
3) Grab a fatty spot of your stomach. Yes, the only and one time when a bit of tummy is a good thing!!
4) Inject yourself. Now here’s the key. While you are injecting yourself, use your index finger and your middle finger to stroke the injection site on each side of the shot while the 10 seconds are going.
The stroking will stimulate the nerve endings around the injection site distracting you from the mind numbing pain from the shot.
It was a huge difference for me. I went from a catastrophic ten pain level to a two. There was an initial tiny bit of pain before I used the new technique. But it felt more like a mosquito bite.
I’m going back to my doctor for the next shot to make sure I got the process down. And then I’ll be able to do it on my own.
Remember, pinch, shoot, and stroke.
And for you Hidradenitis Suppurativa peeps, Humira has been a wonder drug. I’ve been on it since the week before Christmas. And I went from having constant breakouts to being clear for almost two weeks. My dermatologist said it usually takes a lot longer than that to see results like mine.
I take it day by day.
I hope this post has given hope to those on Humira.
Please feel free to comment with any questions.