Saturday, June 3, 2017

Why I Don't Rotate My Humira Shot

I have been taking Humira for roughly 5 years (I started back in June 2012) and Humira has been a miracle drug in terms of keeping me in remission for Crohn's. Actually I can still remember when a nurse came to the house to show how me how to use the drug. Also I remember Humira came in two different types (you could get the syringe pen). Luckily I was prescribed the pen. Usually the Humira pen seemed quite simple. When the nurse was demonstrating how to use it she mentioned that I should rotate where I inject it. Usually the typical places to inject Humira are on either the left or right thigh of abdomen area. However, I had issues whenever it came to injecting the abdomen (given when I initially started Humira I had lost a bunch of weight and didn't have much fat on me). What I found is when I tried to inject the abdomen there would be some leakage which would be less medicine getting into my body to fight by Crohn's. At first I was disappointed but even sometimes when I thought I got a good shot there would still be a little leakage. Injecting the thighs has always been much easier. When I stop injecting my abdomen I was worried that all the sudden I would flare (however this didn't happen). I have been injecting my thighs only for over a year and honestly haven't seen any change in my Crohn's. 

My routine for taking Humira is pretty simple. I take the Humira out of the refrigerator and put a timer on for roughly 20 minutes to let the Humira sit. Also I make sure I have an alcohol pad (Humira includes some in the Humira). Once the timer goes off I check the Humira to make sure it is clear. Then I rub the alcohol pad on my thigh and wait about 30 seconds. I then take the two caps off the Humira pen and then make sure I have a song I really enjoy playing right before I inject (honestly I have never had a leak when I play music while injecting Humira). 

I don't know if there have been any studies done of people who don't rotate their injection but my guess is it wouldn't really change a whole lot. To me I would rather get 100% of medicine rather than injecting into a place were I may only get 80%. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Weekend Cramping Almost Gone

I wrote in my last post that on Friday I was feeling all out of sorts (cramping and really pretty tired). Well this weekend I took it easy and honestly didn't do much on Saturday (the most I did was watch Netflix/Hulu which offers so many hours of entertainment!) In terms of food I really didn't anything heavy either (last night for dinner I had some light pasta). When I think of eating with Crohn's I think of my stomach as a brown bag and anything I eat going into that brown bag. The question I ask myself is "if I eat this will there be grease at the bottom of the brown bag?". In my example something greasy like enchiladas, burgers, or brownie sundaes would most likely leave grease while noodles, salads, and sandwiches won't leave any grease in my example.

Also I got some pretty good sleep this weekend as well. I have been sleeping 8-9 hours which is good and I feel as if I have more energy. Right now as I type this I don't have any cramping or pain. Hopefully this will continue as I am not due to take my Humira shot until next weekend.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Afternoon Cramping

This morning I woke up with some pain in my stomach, It was a dull stabbing pain/mix with a bloated type of feeling. All this took place around 5 A.M. Today I had a meeting scheduled with a client as well and didn't want to miss it so I told myself I would try to sleep it off and get some more rest before I woke up. Well this didn't exactly happen as I was kept up by the blunt pain and just went on my computer for a little bit before heading back to bed. I called my internist and his wife answered the phone and said he was in the shower but he called me back and told me I could see him that day if things got worse. The pain was still there and I got into the shower and made the decision to go to work. Throughout today I was feeling pretty tired and had pain near my belly button it seemed like.

Honestly this episode was similar to the pain I had last Thanksgiving that I blogged about here. I don't have any other symptoms like diarrhea or anything else. In an odd way the pain feels like IBS. Before I had Crohn's my GI thought I had IBS and I took some anti spasm medication that relieved it. The best thing for me to do is just rest. The last time this happened I just slept and felt better.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Board Exam, Cramps, Stress and Life

Well the past couple of weeks have been interesting. I took my board exam on Sunday March 18, 2017 and it was 7 hours total (two 3 hour exams) and passed which was quite a relief. I took some time off work to study for the exam. Honestly, I never remember studying so hard for an exam (even in graduate school). Every day I was studying 5-6 hours a day. I felt like towards the end I was a little stressed out but honestly the night before the exam I slept pretty well (probably because I was so tired). On my part I scheduled the exam in the afternoon to maximize my sleep time (I can be quite a night owl and prefer waking up later if possible). After I took the exam I had some cramps. However, these had waxed and waned. Today I feel pretty great (I am on vacation and my mind feels quite clear not having to work).

Cramping seems to come and go. The most important thing I look for my bowel movements. These continue to be normal and nothing unusual. My only wish was that there was less cramping. I plan to solve this with some good sleep this weekend.

Now that I passed my board exam I have much more free time to engage in activities I didn't have time for before. I plan to get more involved in my Crohn's organization and also will try to write more blog posts. Honestly, as I probably have stated before the improvements and advancements happened so quickly that I haven't had time to keep up with them as much as I would like. This of course is a great thing though.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mini-Flare, Tired, Ice Pack Burn, Studying, and Stress

So I honestly have not written on the blog for quite some time. Work has been pretty busy and honestly my Crohn's has been very good (no complaints). I honestly haven't had any issues. Today however was a different story. The day started out pretty good and I even worked out for almost an hour. However, tonight after dinner when I was watching T.V. with the family I had to make some runs to the bathroom. At first the bowel movements were solid and then by the 3rd time I had to go to the bathroom they started to become looser. Now honestly this does happen on occasion so it isn't too surprising. Typically if it does occur it is on a Thursday night or Saturday night on the week before I take my Humira (I take Humira on Saturdays). Anyways, I went to the store to pick up some things I was feeling pretty tired and got some fluids to re hydrate. I also had to get some bandages as well (more on this in a bit). As I write this now by body has come back to normal and really no pain.

Stress has been a factor in my life recently. I am due to take a board exam not this Sunday but the following Sunday. Honestly, I have been preparing for this exam for a couple of years (I feel like the pressure is on). I have been studying roughly 6 hours or so a day. Of course this can ware after a while. I went to a review course the week before last and that was 8 hours per day sitting in a chair learning material. So this stress as been on me as well. The exam I take is 7 hours total. I get a 40 minute break but hope I don't have to use any of it on bathroom time. The thing I worry more about is my energy level. Staying concentrated for 6 hours for anyone is not easy.  My game plan this week is to get plenty of rest and still maintain a reasonable study schedule before I take the exam. I hope I do pass so I don't have to worry about ever taking this exam again.

As I mentioned before I had to pick up some bandages at the store. Last night I had some cramping at about midnight or so decided to stick a cold compress on my stomach. Now the problem was I put it directly to the skin which is a big no no. I woke up today and took a shower and after I showered realized it was there. I researched how to get rid of it and the advice was to warm up the skin and there might possibly be some blistering and burns (in addition to the bandages I got antibacterial ointment as well). I plan to "heat" up  my skin again to see if it goes away. The skin area around my skin looks a tad better.

Overall, I am a little tired and had a mini flare. History with me as shown this is usually temporary and disappears within 28-48 hours. I plan to gets lot of sleep this week as well to prepare for my exam. Speaking of sleep and time it is also time to set the clock ahead an hour for daylight savings time. If things changes I will post an updated post.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dear NFL Don't Suspend Seantrel Henderson for 10 Games for Crohn's Disease

As someone who actually suffers from Crohn's disease I felt it was important to discuss the recent suspension of NFL player Seantrel Henderson (who suffers from Crohn's disease) for using marijuana. Henderson who has been playing in the NFL for 3 years has been battling Crohn's disease since 2015. Seantrel was 6'7 and 330 pounds and then lost 50 pounds and then during the 2015 season he lost 50 pounds and surgeons had to remove 2.6 feet from his small and large intestine and he had to wear an ileostomy bag (he ended up having to have two surgeries to reconnect his intestines). For a period of three months he had to eat food through a tube (have NFL committee members ever had to deal with something like this?)

Now I have previously written a post here about the use of marijuana on Crohn's here. What I explained in that post was this study showing 90% of patients who used marijuana saw a clinical response and 45% of patients were in remission (which is on par with Humira and other biologics). Another study found that 70% of patients that used marijuana had a positive effect and may have reduced the need for surgery. Also it is worth pointing out that 48% of Crohn's patients have used marijuana in their lifetime (which is only slightly higher than the 42% of Americans that have admitted to using it during their lifetime. What is even more interesting is that people complain about the side effects of marijuana when nearly every drug has some type of side effect.  I would be interested to see what 10 years of taking marijuana would do to a body vs. 10 years of prednisone. 

What is quite interesting is that many NFL players (historical suspensions can be found here) only get suspended one game for domestic violence-which by the way in the outside world can have a punishment of up to 1 year in prison. Jared Allen in 2007 was suspended for 2 games after he received 2 DUI arrests (you know the driving that can actually harm incident bystanders). What is even worse is the players of the New Orleans Saints were suspended less time for organizing a bounty program to injure players from other teams. Even when you look at players who have violated the substance abuse policies that have been put into place players typically only get suspended 4 games. 

When a player in the NFL gets suspended they are not paid either which could lead to some major cash flow problems. Henderson signed a 4 year contract for $2.2 million. For 2016 Henderson is suppose to earn about $292,000. Each NFL teams plays 16 games per year. By not being able to play for 10 games Henderson would only make $110,000 (losing $182,000!). 

The NFL should not suspend Seantrel Henderson for 10 games for using marijuana for Crohn's disease. Why would you suspend a player for 1) using a substance that has been shown in peer reviewed journals to benefit in Crohn's disease 2) using a substance that is currently legalized in 26 states 3) who is trying to control a chronic illness  when other NFL players do far worse things (receive DUIs, assault girlfriends, and organize bounty rings and end up getting suspended fewer games. Not only is Seantrel not able to play the game he loves but he is not able to earn a living as well. The NFL should consider allowing players to use certain substances but only if they truly have a medical issue. Crohn's is a chronic and painful illness that no one should have to live with. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

5 Year Crohn's Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Cramping, Feeling A Little Tired

So this past week I was on vacation from work and really enjoyed a break for once (I rarely take vacation-even when I do I only take a day or so which seems enough for me). In December I am due for another week vacation break however I have to prepare for a board exam in March 2017.  At any rate I was feeling pretty good and I had a review of my annual physical on Wednesday with my doctor and we were discussing how incredible it was that in that same week back in 2011 I was in terrible condition losing weight and very dehydrated. It was nice to look back and see how much progress I had made. Perhaps I spoke too soon...

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning around 7 a.m. I felt very tired and my whole stomach felt like it had a block of cement in it with some blunt pain. Now my bowel movements were perfectly normal however I just felt this major cramping and pain. I have my doctor's cell phone just in case and I felt that this pain warranted a call. I called him and he picked up immediately and asked me for my symptoms I told him I had some serious pain in my stomach, felt nauseated, and could barely move. He told me to see how things progress but call him back if I did vomit. I then returned to bed and slept a few more hours (I have mentioned in previous posts how I believe sleep can do wonders if you have Crohn's). Also he told me not to eat anything heavy like gravy and honestly I wasn't in the mood even to eat (more on eating later). After I got an extra few hours I felt much better (still some minor pain but a world of difference). Throughout Thanksgiving dinner I felt pretty good just tired but was able to eat everything that I wanted.

For the past couple of days I have been eating a bunch and got my appetite back. I have gained a few pounds but feel I can now shed some off (my weight is about 173 pounds-without clothes on). I  have been working out too which for some odd reason improves how my stomach feels.

Honestly, looking back I can't believe it has been 5 years since I was in the hospital. Sometimes I wonder what has changed if I were hospitalized today. My doctor told me when I saw him that sometimes Crohn's patients do exhibit joint pain when they have flares. Also he mentioned that usually you won' have an immediate flare with Crohn's (typically it takes a while for flare symptoms to come into affect. All I can say is that I am grateful everyday I am in great health. If someone 5 years ago told me I would not have any symptoms after being diagnosed I would have told them they were out of their mind.