My First (And Only) Experience With Humira
Last updated: March 2023
In late 2017, I was prescribed Humira, an immunosuppressant delivered to my home in a Styrofoam crate accompanied by many colorful pamphlets. To learn how to inject myself, I went to my rheumatologist’s office. The nurse showed me how to use the mechanism. I positioned it over my thigh, took a deep breath – maybe I even closed my eyes – and clicked it.
The nurse was confused, and after examining the casing, decided it was defective. She left the room to get another dose from the refrigerator.
When she came back with a fresh, refrigerated dose, I was worried – isn’t Humira supposed to be at room temperature before it is injected? But the nurse seemed to think it was fine to use a cold one, so I thought, OK, maybe you don’t have to let it warm up...
After she clicked the mechanism, the injection site tingled and then numbed
Was that it?
After a few seconds I felt an ice-cold sensation course through my thigh and trickle into the rest of my extremities.
I sat back, feeling a bit odd. The nurse, the chair, and the paintings on the wall gradually pixelated into a white oblivion. I almost passed out. The paramedics were called - they thought I was going into anaphylactic shock, and so did I - but the episode passed.
They told me it was a panic attack.
The way Humira entered my body that day was a physical manifestation of all my unspoken concerns: the side effects, my limited options of treatment, the implications of problems I’d face in the future, the slight chance it would harm my unborn baby, the possible incompetence of the nurse, and my failure to advocate for myself.
After the incident, I did a lot of reflecting
Panic attacks occur when a person is intensely scared or stressed. Panic attacks are also a severe result of a mind-body disconnect. I was clearly uncomfortable with both the drug itself and the manner the drug was administered. If I was going to live with AS and face situations like this for the rest of my life, then I had to make sure both my mind and body were aligned. So, to help my body realign with my mind, I decided to seek out second opinions and began to take my health and treatment into my own hands.
How about you? How was your first experience with biologics?
Do you notice worsening flares in colder weather?