Today I had my second visit by my Homehealth Nurse, so that she could check my progress with Enbrel and to make sure that I remembered all that I had been taught be her last week. The side effects, how to store it, what to do if you are going on holiday, what situations mean that you have to stop taking it and how to use the injector pen. These questions I answered fairly easily, only missing a couple of the side effects, none of the major ones, and was congratulated on how well I understood the full implications of using Enbrel. I was told I had done my homework on learning these brilliantly, I did not get a gold star however, as you don't get these after leaving primary school. A shame i was hoping to get one to put in my Enbrel diary, which came in the folder I mentioned in my post last week.
She was also here to teach me how to inject into my abdomen, which is not as easy to do as injecting into your thigh. What you have to do is to one side of your belly button and about two centimeters down, avoiding any scars, like one from an appendix operation, like I have. Most people in this area do have some fleshy covering, which makes this a rather painless area to inject, I however due to weight loss from other medications, do not. So I did find that after the initial injection that the area around the injection point was more painful than the thigh had been. I was warned that this might be the case owing to my lack of weight and no covering of flesh. Many people find using this area easier when standing over sitting down.
So last week I used the pen on my right thigh and this week I used the right hand side of my abdomen. Next week I'll be using the left hand side of my abdomen, then my left thigh the week after. So that I will be alternating injection points, which lowers the possibility of having a reaction to the injection. To avoid getting a lump or rash around it, which is easy treat with antihistamines and not anything too serious, but an irritation I would rather avoid. Plus if you do get that reaction you have to avoid that injection site until the inflammation, or rash has passed.
Next week I will not be seeing her and will be going solo on the injection for the first time, which I am comfortable with. She will be phoning me in the afternoon just to check in, so to speak, to see how I am progressing and to answer any questions I may have. I can phone her in between times for support and advice.