Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rash around the Humira Injection Site

I did want to share a little experience that we had over the weekend. Anna had received her latest Humira injection this past Wednesday. On Friday evening, she mentioned that the area of her leg (where I had given the injection) was itchy. I took a look at it, and there was a rash around the area, and it was slightly warm to the touch. I got out the little booklet about Humira, where it said that this occurrence could indeed happen. It should go away in a few days, but if it did not, we should call the doctor immediately. Well, I did e-mail the doctor's office (just for a "heads up." I figured that it lasted through the weekend, I would call the on-call person.) However, good news! By Saturday morning, the itching had subsided and everything was okay.

I did hear back from the doctor's office. They suggested that we could put some Hydrocortizone cream or Benedryll cream on the area after the injection. Also, the main worry would be if the itching and redness developed into an infection (which it did not).

I wanted to share this for anyone else who may be taking Humira injections---just in case you experience something similar. All's well that ends well!

With Privilege Comes Responsibility

I've had many thoughts this past week, and today when I was mentally trying to summarize them all, I came up with this title (not original, but very true and very quotable).

Anna had an appointment to check her eyes last Thursday. This comes one month after increasing the frequency of the Humira injections from every two weeks to every ten days. The right eye remains the same with a trace of inflammation; the left eye has improved by 50%. Last month, she had 20+ cells of inflammation in the little beam of light which the ophthalmologist uses to determine the amount of inflammation. This past Thursday, she had 10+ cells. So that's good. I must admit, though, that my expectations were too high. Anna had received her last Humira injection less than 24 hours before the appointment. In my mind (which doesn't totally understand exactly how this medication works), I was thinking that the injection of medication should have "zapped" out a whole lot of inflammation! Oh, well . . . as friends have reminded me, this battle with juvenile arthritis and uveitis is a marathon, not a sprint (now I do understand that! My son is a long-distance runner, but not a sprinter).

As I was mulling over these events, the earthquake in Haiti occurred. And then as I was thinking through Anna's disease(s) and medications, I was thinking of just how privileged we are, and I've been wondering how can I even begin to complain about any of that. I wonder just how many little children in Haiti may have arthritis or uveitis issues, and are they even diagnosed, and do they even get any help or have any hope? And even if they did . . . Anna's Humira is delivered right to our doorstep, and the people at the MedMark Pharmacy are always so helpful and bend over backwards to ensure that we receive what we need, when we need it. I also think of friends who have to travel far and wide so that their children can receive care from reputable pediatric rheumatologists and ophthalmologists. Anna's specialists are just 20 miles away, and we are within several hours drive of a myriad of specialists should we ever need them.

Our blessings are great. Anna remains symptom-free, so she has no pain, even with past active arthritis in her TMJs. She really lives a relatively normal 12-year-old life. We have really good insurance, and our state offers supplemental health care for children with chronic illnesses.

Even though our family would not be considered "privileged" or wealthy in our own community, I know there are people around the world who would think we are very privileged indeed. That thought is truly humbling. So what does that mean as far as responsibilities? I can't answer that yet. I'll be praying about that and really listen. For right now, it means sharing Anna's story so that others in similar situations might be encouraged and find hope for the future instead of despair.