Friday, May 25, 2012

Miracle Cream

When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2006, I didn’t know anything about it. I learned a lot quickly through books and the internet. I was disappointed that the only therapies available were injectables.  I really didn’t like needles (I still don’t) but it was important to me to start on a therapy as soon as possible. My neurologist and I decided on Avonex, a weekly intermusclar injection. I was given a DVD to watch and was told a nurse would come to my home to teach me and Abe, my husband, how to give the shots. We bought oranges and were ready to practice with the nurse as I would be receiving my first injection. At first it didn’t seem so bad when it was the orange getting an inch and half needle piecing through its skin. When it came to my turn, however, I quickly learned I had a fear of needles. I had gotten shots at my doctor’s office before and have a few tattoos, but this was different. I already knew there was no way I could inject myself so Abe volunteered. 

The second week it was just me and Abe so we made the preparations exactly as the nurse taught us and Abe was ready to inject into my thigh. However, right when Abe would get to the “1” in the countdown I requested I would swat my hand at him that I wasn’t ready and needed more time. He told me I had to get the shot, so I might as well get it over with. It sounded reasonable, but fear over took my body. I don’t know how long it took, but eventually I had the shot. Quite a few weeks were like this. My doctor prescribed something to help me relax and I started to have a glass of wine before the shot, neither of which helped that much. So, I turned to my online support group. I learned of a prescription numbing cream called Emla. I was able to get a tube of what I started to call “Miracle Cream” before my next injection. I would put some on my thigh (I never was brave enough to use my arms in the year and a half I was on Avonex or do an injection myself) a half hour before my shot and then taped on a piece of saran wrap over the cream. I know how silly that sounds (and looks!) but it works! I also drew a circle with a pen around the numb area to indicate to Abe where to inject. The cream made all the difference in the world!

Once I started using the cream, my weekly shot became so much more bearable! I wouldn’t feel when the needle would pierce my skin which meant I wouldn’t move my leg from being startled. Moving my leg made the shot so much worse.  Also, we learned to slowly push the plunger of the medication rather than quickly to get it over with. I really had wished somehow I could have known about all these tips sooner, but I was so thankful to have the shots become easier!  I encourage anyone to look into this “Miracle Cream!”       


  1. The entire year I was on Avonex, I had to have my husband inject me! I, too, discovered a needle phobia, and couldn't bring myself to do the injections. My mom is an RN, and so she showed us how to do it. I wish I would have known about the Emla cream, though!

    After a year on the Avonex, where the side effects did not go away, and it didn't do any good (3 relapses on it and seizures to boot), I was switched to Copaxone. Needle phobia wise, it was only marginally better - every day shots, but there was an autoject, so I could do it myself. Was on the Copaxone from 2009 to 2011 until I was switched to Tysabri!

    1. Hope you are doing well on Tysabri. It's "funny" how sometimes you don't know you have a fear of something, until you have to do it. :P