We Got This!

For my fellow Multiple Sclerosis Warriors — We can do it. 

If you are on Teva’s Copaxone 40 mg 3 times per week medicine for your MS — here are a few tips I have from my personal experience.  I’m only 9 months in, but I have learned so much from a few online communities, my husband, and myself.

My suggestions are:

  1. Follow the Share Solutions nurse’s direction as best as possible. It is a lot of information to learn the first day. If you can have a health care partner with you, I’d recommend they be there with you and practice with you.  My husband and best friend gives me my shots on M-W-F.  We pick out each spot in that day’s zone together. I do the heating and the prep work. He applies the alcohol swab, the injection, and then a cotton pad in case I have a little blood. *Don’t worry if you get a little blood, it’s totally normal.*
  2. Call Shared Solutions or your dedicated nurse any time you feel you need it!  That’s what they are there for. Use them.  Oh yeah — you can also call them for a travel case, a cooling neck wrap thing, more ice / warm packs, sharps clipper, another Autoject device if you need one, AND if you accidentally mess up an injection, they’ll even sent you a replacement! 
  3. Heat the spot well. I mean well.
    I like my skin to be pink from the heat just prior to injection. A good 5 minutes like the nurse recommends, sometimes more if hubby is busy doing something else.
  4. Use a planner for your shots. Try the online Copaxone tracker, Phone App, or whatever else you like that will help you keep track of where and when you’re due for a shot. Here is a sample of how I keep track of my injections.
    1. I use the Android phone app to track when I inject; add my notes there as well.
    2. On my laptop, I use a picture from the website application and update it each injection. This method helps us to make sure we’re not over using one location.
      Copaxone_RightHip_InjectionHistory_10-30-15
  5. Pick a time that works best for your schedule. Maybe first thing in the morning is what you like (I do) or the last thing before bed. I was dreading 7 pm on M-W-F.  Now, we get the shots done first thing in the morning and I go about my business and don’t think about MS for the rest of the day.  Sure, there may be a little “down time” with a bit of discomfort, but hopefully, yours is like mine and doesn’t last long.
  6. Remember: you are not alone.  
    I don’t have anyone located near me that I know / am friends with that has MS.  I rely on my husband, my family, and my online network.
    We’re all here for you. When you’re having a bad day or your nervous — holler out. Someone will be here to listen and help you through it.  There are several online resources — check them out!  These are the three I use, but I know there are others out there.

    1. MyMSTeam – http://www.mymsteam.com/activities
    2. Facebook – Copaxone – https://www.facebook.com/groups/223304355359/
    3. Facebook – Taking Copaxone – https://www.facebook.com/groups/29290278773/
  7. Write down your reactions so you can remember what to do again (or not to do) when you’re at the same zone again.  Sometimes you’ll go too shallow but you may not remember it by the time you get back to that zone.  Sometimes it will hurt more than others.  Have a conversation with your Shared Solutions Nurse about your reactions and see what he or she says about limiting them.
  8. Write down the “order of operations.”  I recently started using Lanacane, and before I did, I discussed the order I should complete the injection steps with a pharmacist.  The steps got more complicated, but are still easy enough to remember, especially since I have my partner to help me!
    1. Rub in Lanacane.
    2. Apply Warm pack.
    3. Alcohol swab the area.
    4. Air dry.
    5. Inject.
    6. Apply Cotton Round.
    7. Apply Warm pack.
  9. Try not to stress.
    It’s a little nerve wracking at first. You’ll get into a groove / pattern / method that works best for you in a few months.
  10. Don’t quit.
    You’ll get to a point where you think you can’t handle it anymore.  Just the routine of it, or the discomfort, or the reminder you have MS.  Don’t quit.  It gets better about 5 months in! =)  Lots of folks say the same thing I experienced. I hope the same or better for you!
  11. We got this!!!!

I’m not a healthcare professional.  Always check with your doctor or nurse about how you should take your medicine. 

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