It has now been three days since I got my first shot of methotrexate to the butt...
First I have to apologize. I sort of went off on a rant there about health care and how I was getting screwed (and yes, I still sort of am), however, Thursday the medical insurance gods and goddesses were smiling down upon me. Besides getting twice the amount of contact lenses I expected originally, I also found out that it is only going to cost me about $7.50 a month for my methotrexate and folic acid- that includes the weekly visit to the doctor's office to have a nurse look at my derriere and put a needle in it.
With that said...
It has now been three days since I got my first shot of methotrexate to the butt. I was pleasantly surprised by the low, low cost of such a nasty drug, but I was still rankling over the thought of having to drive over to the "olde towne Philadelphia" knock-off, Philadelphia Square to have some nurse shoot me up. However, when Heather read on the precautions Walgreen's supplied for me that if this drug should make any contact with your skin, it is to be washed off immediately as it can cause irritation and burns.
This is going IN my body?
By all means, let a nurse handle it.
So the nurse comes out in a pair of gloves that look like she is going to be handling sulphuric acid, and tells me she is ready for me. Great.
She leads me and Heather into an exam room, where she has the syringe, cotton swab and band-aid all ready.
"Where does this shot have to go?" I asked her.
"In your hip." (Translation: in my cheek... and not the ones on my face)
So I get to alternate cheeks each week, which is something of a let down seeing as how I was hoping to make patterns with the injection dots- like those old Lite Brights we used to have as kids.
There- of course- was the stick of the needle, but for a drug that sounds like it will leave you disfigured and an outcast from society if splashed on your skin, it really didn't hurt going in.
"How much is the co-pay?" I asked her as my lower half was completely clad again and we were walking out.
"Nothing, it is part of the prescription."
The side-effects are mild- fatigue, nausea, headaches- but I have noticed they all but disappear when I take some Excedrin and my folic acid. As for the pain- still very there. Most of the information I have read about methotrexate said that even though it is a relatively fast acting drug, I probably won't see any real difference for several weeks. However, this new regimen that is really cheap with only a little humiliation and mild side-effects gives me hope. (Sorry Pema Chodron).
Even with this last thing left in Pandora's Box (that's the hope thing, for all of you who aren't up on your "Edith Hamilton's Mythology"), there is one side effect I was not expecting. Every time I think about how I am no longer able to enjoy more than one or two beers a month, I start crying. (Like right now, just typing it is making me get all teary-eyed and ruin my contacts).
Contrary to popular belief, I have never been a big drinker, but I do enjoy a beer after a long day, one too many margaritas in a cozy cabin in Almanor, and that amazing glass of wine from the bottle I had on the rack for three years... and now that's gone. I love collecting wine, but looking at them now just makes it even harder, so I have decided that I will be allowed two glasses a month, until all of the bottles are gone- then I will dismantle my wine rack, and put it away for a future date. I know it is for my overall good, but it was just such a sudden change, and something that I now realize I obviously wasn't ready for.
The bright side is that I will always be the designated driver, I will have more money because I won't be buying beer or wine, and most importantly, I might just have a chance at a future where my constant pain is a thing of the past.
Of course, it doesn't help that I have to look at the big, beautiful Sierra Nevada Brewery across the street from work everyday... they do serve good food there, though.
Another change I wasn't really prepared for is a little more obscure. Last night, I ordered my very first medical ID bracelet. It's pretty sweet, and super personalized, but as I was filling out the information and realizing that I needed ALL the room on both sides of it (I've got some pretty serious drug allergies, too), it hit me that I felt really old and sick. While it is true that there are A LOT of days where I feel like I was beaten with a composite core softball bat, most of the time I don't realize that there is something WRONG with me.
Now, while it is an absolute necessity for me to have this bracelet in case of an emergency or accident (gods and goddesses forbid), it will be a constant reminder that there is something wrong enough with me that it needs to be identified on my body. Once again, a change I obviously wasn't ready for.
I did, thankfully, reach out for help and mention to my girlfriend that I think I need to speak with a professional therapist that deals with chronic illness. She completely agreed, and got a list of THE BEST in Chico from her therapist. There were four different therapists listed on this cute little pumpkin post-it, and Monday, I was going to call them and set up a test drive.
I lost the pumpkin.
Everything just seems to be happening so fast. Two months ago, it was a tentative diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Five months ago, it was just a stiff back, migraines and leg cramps. A year ago, it was depression. Five years ago, it was growing pains.
So many changes... what will change next?