MY STORY CONTINUED....PART 3...6 YEARS OF INJECTIONS :
THE NUMBER 784
It indicates a 784 Day period in my life whereby I DID NOT MISS ONE DAY OF INJECTIONS. I will mention a few memorable NEAR MISSES where I nearly broke this 784 day 'winning streak' - there are a few humorous and quite horrible memories which will help you understand why I am so proud of not missing one injection for 112 weeks or nearly 26 months.... Before I share a few of these stories, let me provide you with my simple instructions received from the nurse appointed to manage my medication
1. Always inject at the same time every day. It does not matter when in the day if it is NOT less than 22 hours after the previous injection. This consistency helps the body cope with these regular injections. If you are later than 26 hours since the last injection, just forget that day and continue the following day at the same time.
2. I have seven places available to inject. I was advised that eliminating one area was allowed and for me the arms (left and right) were not to my liking…so I had five areas remaining.
I remember misunderstanding the one exact area to inject early on and got quite an horrific bruise that lasted a month because I injected on the INNER thigh…. instead of the outer part – painful and quite terrifying experience to be honest.
Another quick story. I asked my Neurologist in the beginning how a daily injection could help curb the diseases. His answer was both amazingly simple to understand as well as extremely logical.
He explained to me that, as an autoimmune disease in which your own body ends up attacking itself, the trick was to CONFUSE your system in order to limit the damage that it could end up making. Put simpler, every daily injection alerts your system to the injection site – as it believes an unwanted substance has entered your body.
Its job now was to urgently get rid of this harmful material. So, every day, when one injects, the immune system kicks in to fight off what it thinks is a dangerous intruder, but is in actuality a harmless liquid being absorbed daily.
This distraction of the immune system prevents it from attacking the myelin on the brain cells and causing irreparable damage…. resulting in the destruction of the brain cells (referred to as lesions of the brain)….
HORSE RIDING IN THE DRAKENSBERG
In July 2015, Jax and I took the kids on holiday to the Drakensberg and on day two of our trip I fell off a horse while enjoying a gentle ride with the kids. The fall did not seem too bad until I realised that while trying to break my fall, I had done something horrible to BOTH of my wrists.
We needed to get to the hospital in Howick immediately to get both wrists operated on.
So, 30 minutes into our 2-hour journey to the hospital, I froze and freaked out while Jackie was concentrating on staying focused on the remarkably busy N3.
ME: ‘We must go back…. (I protested loudly….)
JAX:’ What the hell for? we need to get to the hospital…. now!
After 250 consecutive injections and no MS relapses since I began them, I insisted (and had a bit of a temper tantrum….) we go back to our resort to get my injections…. knowing that we would be in hospital for at least one evening….
MY BELOVED WIFE turned the car around to my great relief and I managed to inject myself after a double op that evening….and I kept smiling with the help of PETHIDINE 😊
BUSINESS TRIP TO CHINA
It was not my first trip since diagnosis, but I arrived at our hotel in Foshan late at night. I got into bed immediately but woke up at around 3 am VERY UPSET and shaky…. I had already done over five hundred consecutive injections and I was NOT wanting to end the streak now.
Then I had a rational conversation with myself. At 3am in China it is around 9pm in SA. I took my last injection at 7.30pm just before the plane left Cape Town, so I convinced myself that I was within my limit of 26 hours to inject…. JUST….
The trick for the next few days was not allowing myself to inject within 22 hours of the night/morning before – so I woke myself up at 1am the next morning and then stayed up till 11pm the following day…. PHEW: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED….
TRAVEL IN BARCELONA
While my 784-run ended in DEC 2016 quite anticlimactically (after just completely forgetting to inject the night before) I continued to religiously take my injections daily although I did miss a day or so every two or three months.
The one scary moment was when I arrived in Barcelona before a trade fair. I caught a taxi to about two hundred meters from my hotel as the driver advised that in early evening traffic, the roads closed around my hotel as it was a large tourist area.
I got out with my bags and I clearly remember a long 200meter walk to the hotel. Then while checking in, I realised I had a problem – one of my small carry bags was missing. It was a NIKON camera bag that contained 2 weeks’ worth of my injections…. FLIP.
After retracing my steps for at least 2 hours, I resigned myself that a thief must have seen the camera case around my arm and somehow, among all the people, distracted me and nonchalantly relieved me of the bag thinking it was an expensive NIKON camera. I keep trying to imagine his disappointment when he saw the injections….
I had been advised by my neurologist that seven days was the limit to go without the medication and so after our 5 days in Spain, I had to catch an early flight back to Cape Town.
While I have more little stories around the injections, the truth is that I did very well on the COPAXONE while I was in the first stage of MS.
I can honestly say that for the first 6 years…. until the dreaded pandemic hit the globe in 2020, the main issue for me became the CHRONIC and never-ending fatigue, as well as times of short term memory loss, vertigo, and my inability to walk in a straight line.