About seven months ago I was diagnosed with a chronic disease called Autoimmune Pernicious Anemia, which requires Vitamin B12 injections for the rest of my life. I have a lifelong needle phobia so this was terrible news — even worse when I learned that I’d need to give myself these injections as it was too much to be constantly going to the hospital so a nurse could do it.
Learning to jab myself with a needle was a big decision, but it was something I knew I had to do. After five months of daily injections, it still isn’t easy and I still don’t like it. But here’s how I face my terrible fear of needles every day…
- Firstly, I must remind myself that I need these injections to live. Sometimes I read back on my symptom diaries from when I was at my worst to remind myself how bad it can get when I don’t have the Vitamin B12 my body needs.
- Then I get out my Boo Boo Buddy ice pack, select the least-bruised injection site possible on one of my thighs (alternating each day) and start numbing it.
- Next I grab my awesome injection kit that I put together to make it all easier — this holds the two differed sized needles I need, the vials of B12, alcohol swabs and bandaids. I lay out each of the supplies and set aside the trash bits.
I draw up the Vitamin B12 with the 5/8″-length needle and then replace the needle tip with a 1″ needle for intra-muscular injection, making sure there are no air bubbles.
- Once my thigh is nice and icy, I clean the injection site with the alcohol swab and then I’m ready to go.
- Except, this is the hard part. It’s like my wrist has a mind of its own and doesn’t want to plunge the needle into my thigh. So this is where I sip cold water, take a smell of a calming scent along with some deep breaths, play a calming song (I use one with personal meaning for me to help encourage myself), remind myself why I’m doing this, shake out my hand/wrist and shoulder… and then I jab into my thigh, slowly push the B12 into the muscle, and pull the needle out slowly.
- I’m not saying all these steps are necessary. And there’s possibly even some I’m forgetting now, but this is how I cope and manage to inject myself despite still being quite freaked out by needles.
Day 268 of 366. (Yes, this is technically yesterday’s post. Saturday Sept. 24th was Day 268, but I wasn’t well enough to finish this post yesterday. I hope you’ll forgive my sharing it a day later than intended.)
What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments!
Note to my Nosy Parker readers: Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms. A Vitamin B12 deficiency can kill you and before it does, it can truly wreak havoc on your entire body. It is a serious, chronic illness. If you’ve got any of the symptoms in this graphic, please visit the websites listed for more information. (Special thanks to a B12 buddy in the support group for making this graphic!) Ask your doctor to test your B12 level BEFORE taking any supplements on your own or you’ll skew the results! Also, I am not a doctor, nurse or scientist. I am simply sharing my personal experiences and what I’ve learned.