I’ve been quite lucky with my Humira injections, although I’ve had a few infections and bouts of tonsillitis and I get my fortnightly two-day hangover, it means that I can be fully functional most of the time. I’m able to work, get around and generally live life. The injection really does make a difference. (It could be psychosomatic, but I can feel myself getting stiffer and more achy as I reach the Thursday/Friday before my injection day).
And that’s where the invisible part of the illness comes in. I’m very open about my Ankylosing Spondylitis and try to educate people as much as possible. But they see me functioning well and I’m not sure that they realise what a knife edge we Ankylosaurs skirt.
Take this last couple of weeks, I’ve been really busy at work (we all have), so I’ve been turning to plastic spoons to keep myself upright. It’s working, and I only have a couple of weeks to go, but it’s still not ideal.
This week however I’ve run into a bit of a problem. I’ve had a chest infection for a few weeks now. It’s nothing serious, but it’s starting to be a bit of a pain (I’ve lost my voice over the last couple of days). Yes yes, I know, it’s most people’s idea of heaven for me to be unable to speak…
This is where the catch-22 comes in. It’s my injection weekend, if I take my injection then this infection will get worse. If I don’t then my immune system can work its way up to full strength and fight it off. (When I went to the walk in centre the advice was Ibuprofen, when I said I was on Etoricoxib he agreed that was a bad idea. So then he suggested leaving it up to my immune system!)
However, if I don’t take it then I know that my back will get more painful and I’ll be less mobile at exactly the time that I need to be able to get up and move. So, this is the catch-22, my decision is simple, take the injection and make myself worse. Or don’t take it and make myself worse. This is the decision that thousands of my fellow Ankylosaurs face on a regular basis, it’s one of the other invisible parts of AS that we rarely talk about.
If you’re interested, I’ve opted to not take the injection. Mostly because I can turn to the tablets so that I can keep moving. It’s not ideal but it’s manageable. I did it for 18 years after all…