Since January 2018 I have been taking a new medication for my ulcerative colitis. It’s called Infliximab and is administered via iv. I have to have it once every two months; that means I have to come to hospital every 8 weeks for about 5 or 6 hours and get it done.
So let me tell you what happens when I come. I normally come in the morning between 8 and 9 am. When I get here first thing I need to do is a blood test to check that all the levels are good. If everything is fine I then speak with a doctor to briefly talk about what happened in the past couple of months and he then gives the green light to start. At this point I have to take an antihistamine (tablet) and steroids (through iv) to prevent allergic reactions. After 30 minutes I can start the real process which is the actual medication I’m there for. As I mentioned it is given through iv and it takes about 2 hours. Finally I have to do a last iv to flush and then wait 15/20 minutes to make sure I’m ok. Also every 30 minutes or so they check all my levels (blood pressure, heart rate and temperature ). And that’s it! I’m done!
Since I have been doing these infusions my Uc has been in remission which is great! It’s actually my best option so I’m happy with that.
Ok this was all the medical stuff, now how do I deal with it? Mentally, emotionally and of course physically. I have been doing this for a fair amount of time now ( they call me a “regular ” in hospital) but everytime I have to go, a few days before I get really anxious about it. I know it’s not a big deal and everything is going to be fine but I still get stressed. Since I have been dealing with my health issues I have been very fearful in life. Experiencing panic attacks when “something feels wrong” – and that could be anything; a weird sensation in my body, an inexperienced nurse, sounds, smells, and the list goes on and on. So in this particular case, when I go to hospital for Infliximab, I get myself distracted. This is how I manage to stay calm. That means preparation!
I downloads movies or tv shows to watch, take a book with me, I bring food from home , I write (like I’m doing today), listen to music, meditate and very often sleep because apparently the medication makes you tired. But of course if something doesn’t go as planned, the first responce is to go in anxious mode. so how do I get out of it? Breathing (literally), slow and long breaths and thinking of letting go the negative thoughts. Our minds are so powerful but it’s up to us how we are going to use this power. I’m trying to train my mind into positive thoughts and strengths but also I’m trying to let go of less important stuff in life, baggage that we carry around from the past for no reason. Am I super positive all the time and strong every minute? Not at all!! I fail almost daily but I now take failure as a learning process , rather than failing at something. And I try to be more gentle with myself, if I make a mistake it’s not the end of the world , I can try again. So if I get anxious before my hospital appointment, it’s ok, next time I’ll try again and maybe it will be a different experience. Are you going to try to be less hard on yourself? I invite you to try. Also if you have any other tips or advice on how to deal with anxiety please share! Have a good week!
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts”