Two Years of Copaxone Daily Injections and A Promise to My Inner Kid | SMart Choice Lifestyle

A bunch of orchids were lined up next to the window, while daylight was filling the room up. I had been waiting for this moment for almost 10 months now, and it was finally here! As I was sitting on the armchair in the neurologist’s office, the MS nurse was giving me basic training for starting Copaxone, a daily injectable drug for Multiple Sclerosis, aiming to slow down the disease progression and reduce the number of possible relapses that could in time cause disability.

I decided to start with my stomach area, to get used to the burn that I so much read about before. The nurse was the one who gave me my first dose that day. As she pressed the auto injector against my skin, I could feel my inner kid wanting me to run away, to stop this and get back to normal. There was no turning back. I was injecting my body with a new substance that promised to help me live well, but still my mind was in fear.

I now know that in that moment I got even more stuck in the “what if…?” scenario that started after the diagnosis.

At the press of a button, the auto injector fired inside my body and after a few seconds, my skin truly felt ON FIRE, as being stung by a bee. The excitement of that all being so new helped me feel like I got over what was the worst part. I felt pride for getting over my fear of needles and, heck! Realizing that I in fact did not have ANY needle phobia whatsoever. My panic was due to the negative emotions associated with having an injection.

And so, little by little, injection by injection, two years passed by. I religiously did each and every one of them, rotating seven areas across my body. Little did I know that with each one, my mind was pinning me down into anxiety. You would expect that after all that I said before and after getting used to the experience, my angst should have lessened, right? That’s what I thought too!

Fast forward to today. I did the 728th injection in my right arm. Special occasion, "special moments": as I pressed the button, the needle seemed to get stuck, but then resumed to injecting veeeeery slowly. It usually takes 10 seconds from start to finish and now it was like it was walking through a swamp. Either way, it was all ok. It all gets ok AFTER the injection. The anxiety comes BEFORE the whole deal.

Rationally, there’s nothing to fear: a 1.2 cm needle, thinner than a 0.5 mechanical pencil tip, no pain when the needle pierces the skin, only the afterwards bee-sting sensation, that usually lasts 5-10 minutes, depending on the day. But my mind has other ideas: it thinks that something devastating is going to happen to me, that I might get a terrible heart attack if I inject in a vein (note: there is a thing called IPIR, meaning you COULD get a heart-attack-feeling-sensation, lasting no more than 20-30 minutes, but nothing lethal!) and maaany, maaaany more things like that.

Unsolved anxiety does “cute” things like these to susceptible people. The brain is used to respond to an immediate threat, but in my case there is no such thing. There’s only the unpredictability of the illness itself and the feeling that I HAVE to live my life QUICKLY, before Multiple Sclerosis strikes again. All that internal turmoil topped with a daily injection that acts like a constant reminder, have me overflowing with anxiety and nervousness that have me living a rollercoaster life.

Effects of this “darling” situation? Hmmm, let me limit it to just three, the most relevant ones to my current lifestyle: emotional eating (trumps all the healthy choices I want to make on a daily basis), feeling overwhelmed by too many creative choices I want to pursue, although I love all my ideas dearly (one of them is SMart Choice Lifestyle itself, victim of my procrastination and emotional ups and downs - I’ve been neglecting it for 2-3 weeks now), losing self-confidence because I am too afraid of that tiny needle and for not ACTING upon all the plans I’ve strategized for the past three years since being diagnosed.

Being aware of all this gives way to a new start. No matter what life throws at me, I’ve been given a second chance that not many people get.

I promise my inner kid not to fail her again, for as long as I live! I’ll be present for her fears, loves and wants and not treat her with self-doubt, no matter how fearful she might get.

Copaxone or no Copaxone, I’ll heal this anxiety and resume living my life. The SMart Creative way… by the way ;) Keep you posted!

Until next time, have a wonderful day!