Thursday, June 9, 2011

My veins are my nemesis

Once it was discovered that I had this aversion to sticking myself with a needle my doctor took me off the Humira (it wasn't working anyways) and put me on Orencia. Orencia targets the disease a little different than Humira. Though both are considered biologics (medications given in liquid form via a needle because cooking into pill form will compromise the integrity of the medication), Humira attacks the main source of inflammation for most RA patients... the hormones. Orencia gets your cells as they are forming and changes the DNA to put the kibosh on the inflammatory factor from the get go. So basically my treatment was methotrexate (a chemo pill that kills tons of cells) and Orencia (and I.V. med that rebuilds my cells).

So fall of 2009 my insurance company approves the Orencia. I start the regimen. The doses taken at week 0, 2, and week 4, then every 4 weeks. At this point we are still driving up to Boston for doctors appointments and now my Orencia treatments.

First off...Beth Israel's infusion center... AWESOME!! (I actually just sung the word awesome in my head!) It used to be the old dialysis center. A room lined with beds and curtains. Each little area with your own light. May not seem like a big deal but sometimes you just wanna sleep the few hours away. Your own little TV. Nurses come around with food. Fruit salads, sandwiches, soups, beverages. Honestly they pamper you real nice. Oh and I can't forget the heated blankets! They really do all they can to make it nice.

My rheumy had me go up to Boston for 6 months for my infusions so he could monitor them, then he transferred my order to a cancer center about 15 minutes from my house last June. This center is just as nice but no free food. It's a new facility and I've been going there for a year now. I am so comfortable there and have a great rapport with the nurses and staff. It wasn't always peaches and cream though.

I have TERRIBLE veins. For about 6 years you can not get access in my all. You have to go in through my hands. I would get in arguments with people sometimes because they would want to be the one to tackle the challenge and get access in my arms. HELLO! I know my body.

My veins in my hands lasted about a year of treatments then crapped out on me. I have to much scar tissue. The nurse said I had tough skin. Hahaha you're telling me! What she meant was that she had to push harder than normal to pierce the skin but then going so hard she would go through the vein.

Every 4 weeks I would get pricked with a needle about 5 times because my hands were so bad. It would take the nurses a 1/2 hour to get access. Now keep in mind these are nurse that are used to cancer patients with scar tissue so this should be easy breezy. Yeah not so much.

I'm actually gonna stop right there because I did have an Orencia treatment today and I have to go to Boston tomorrow for an appt. I am beyond exhausted.

Wish me luck tomorrow. I'm gonna need it!