Monday, May 22, 2006

Stick it

My friends, I am here to call bullshit on this whole injection business.

Reading IF blogs and living in a virtual world where everyone is shooting up something (some of you brave ladies four or five times a day) normalizes it, to the point where even I, the biggest needle wimp in the universe, was thinking, "It's just one little needle, what's the big deal?" And it's a good thing, too--if we weren't able to make it all seem normal and acceptable, how would we ever get through the day? REs, too, and their nurses, are so used to the various processes of fertility treatment that they see self-injection as no big deal, and communicate as much to us, the patients.

But I have to say that there is nothing normal about jabbing a needle into your own soft flesh every day before bed. And as much as the rational part of my mind tries to be cool with it, my needle-phobic id is screaming bloody murder.

Again, I am probably the biggest needle wimp you will ever encounter. When I have blood drawn--hell, even when I get a flu shot--I have to look away, close my eyes, and practice deep breathing exercises to get through it. Saturday, when I was having blood drawn for my CD3 bloodwork, I winced as the needle went into my arm, and the phlebotomist fell all over herself apologizing. I had to tell her that actually, she did a lovely job (and she did--not a mark on me), but that I am such a colossal baby that even the tiniest pinch makes me cringe.

So I was a little apprehensive about doing my very first Follistim injection Saturday night, but I tried to bluff my way through it with a lot of knowledge (obsessively rereading the patient insert) and a little denial. Piece of cake, I told myself. Diabetics do this all the time! I said. I can be just as tough as those other women, I insisted.

But I noticed my hands were trembling a little as I prepared the pen, swabbed a swath of my belly, and dialed up the dosage. Just take it slow, I told myself. Everyone says you barely even feel it going in.

Well, when the tip of the needle hit my skin, I felt that motherfucker. And some primitive reflex caused my hand to jerk back, pulling the needle out. So I had to go in again, plunging it all the way in as directed, pressing down the incredibly slow plunger. I think in my panic I was squeezing my flesh a little too hard, because when I finally slid the needle out, a little bead of medication formed on the surface of my skin, tinged with blood.

When it was done, I felt like crying. Not because it hurt that much--really, it was just a pinch--but because I felt like such a loser for having so much trouble with it. It really wasn't so hard or painful, so why couldn't I just suck it up like the thousands of other women doing the same thing? And how would I get through the next 9 (at least) days?

I am happy to report that my second injection, last night, went much better. I iced the area beforehand, which helped. And it also helped that my husband was watching me do it. When I showed him the needle, at first he said, "Oh, that's nothing." I think he was trying to make me feel better. Wanting to be brave in front of him, I gritted my teeth and shoved it in--no poke-and-hunt this time. When I was finished, he said, "Wow. I can't believe you did that. I could never have done that."

I would never have thought I could do it, either. But I did.


Blogger Beth said...

I loved this post. I remember my shaking hands with my first injection. I false started not once, but twice and cried to Himself that "I can't do it". Hopefully these nine days will do the trick and you won't have to do it again. Kudos to you for doing - and for doing it in front of your husband you get an extra 10 points. I make Himself go away because I can't do it with him watching - it makes me nervous.

3:16 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

You can do this! Trust me when I say it will get easier. And you are so brave--you already did 2 nights of meds..that is fantastic! I will be thinking of you!

3:33 PM  
Blogger MsPrufrock said...

I hated needles at one time, but listen to the others (and me) does get easier! I fucking adored my Puregon Pen, and often wish I could jab myself in the abdomen now just for old time's sake. I hope you never reach such depths of depravity, but I am sure the needle poking will be second nature to you soon enough.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Ornery said...

Congrats on your successful injections! I'm not very fearful of needles, so I thought injecting myself would be a breeze. But that first time when the needle was poised to plunge into my, was that hard! I kept having to set the pen down so I could wipe my sweaty palms and lessen the shaking!

I don't think I'll ever long to inject myself again like Ms. Prufrock, but I will echo the others and say that it does get much easier with each injection.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Robber Barren said...

I'm so sorry it's been difficult for you - but congratulations on your first few successful injections, and let's hope this is the last cycle you'll have to do this for!

I promise it gets easier...and you really should be proud of yourself!

9:37 PM  
Blogger sube said...

Congrats to you! The first ones are always the hardest. I cry every time, not from the pain, but simply because I have to do it at all. That's the part that sucks. But you get used to it and you'll be a pro in no time. Pretty soon you'll be offering to do your own blood draws ... well, maybe not.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

WOW!! I'm not sure I could have done that!! Of course when you want something bad enough you can probably make yourself do just about anything!!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous LisaGray said...

It is a very strange thing to be injecting yourself. But, it really does get easier with time and the best thing is not to think about it too much.

Here's a tip: Put your whole hand in very very cold water (with ice) until it starts to hurt before you give yourself an injection. It's a physiological fact that you will not feel the injections so much when you have other nerves firing. It works! Also, it's less painful on a full stomach(again, a physiological fact). Frankly, I find a glass or two of wine works wonders...

9:46 AM  
Blogger K77 said...

From a fellow needle-phobe, congrats. When I do IVF I will be purchasing Emla in bulk. Huge, huge amounts of the stuff. I don't do needles without it.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Tigger said...

I, too, am afraid of needles. Not so much as you, but still - enough so that I will not watch when getting a shot or having my blood taken. When I had to have my trigger done for my IUI, I had the RE's nurse do it. My MIL has already volunteered to do any other shots I need, up to and including insulin shots for the g/d I will most likely get. My best friend was a "vampire" (phlebotomist) and has also volunteered to help.

Who needs to give themselves shots when they have family who will shoot them voluntarily?! :) I hope things get better for you, and that you never, ever have to do this again!

8:27 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Here's hoping that I have your courage, as I start the IVF roller-coaster...

2:27 AM  

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