Happy New Year!! Sorry for the delay, but you know me. So, I started the Betaseron shot on December 29th. I had it before Christmas, but the BetaNurse and I decided to wait until after in case I had a bad reaction. With the Betaseron you get a device to help administer the shot called an autoinjector. It looks almost as weird as it sounds, but it helps. Basically, I assemble the shot and combine the medicine within the syringe. Then I put the whole syringe inside the autoinjector. Once I am ready to give myself the shot, (frankly, when am I ever ready?) then I place the autoinjector against my skin in one of several approved places. I can inject in my thighs, my stomach (I know!), the back of my arms, with help, or my hips (which really is a nice way of saying my upper ass!). Once it's in place I press this button, which has this loud click! ( I don't like the click.) And it slowly pushes the plunger down. I count to 15 or look in the window of the autoinjector, when it's red, it's done. Easy, right? Well easier than Avonex on this front.
The needle for Betaseron is almost half the size (smaller & thinner) than Avonex. It doesn't hurt, most of the time and it's nice to not watch the shot go into my skin. The downside is I have to have this injection every other day. :( But I am hopeful.
A few days into the new year, I found out that Betaseron is a "formulary exclusion" for the Blue Care Network plan we are in. This means I am in for a fight of sorts. They only approve the Avonex, we know how well my results were on that or Rebif, which I am not a candidate for. So, I called Dave's insurance plan manager for help. His name is Brian and he has been very supportive of me during this whole MS process. He said to call if I ever needed help, so I called.
He is working with BCN and I need to get a letter from my neurologist stating that we have tried Avonex for 6 months and it was not tolerated well. That I'm not a candidate for Rebif and Betaseron is "medically necessary". Michigan Neurology called me 2 days after I left the message regarding the letter telling me it was ready. I know, too good to be true right? It was. They printed out the notes that my neurologist sends to my primary care physician and even addressed it to him. Do these people actually listen to these messages? I think they heard letter and stopped paying attention after that. But I was smart and read the letter before I left their office. I went to the desk and explained the error nicely. She apologized and said she would have the correct one done. In my favor, I see Dr. Beall on Tuesday, Jan 12th, so I can talk with him directly if I need to, which we all know, I do.
I have had minor reactions so far to Betaseron: chills, nausea, achy body...typical flu-like symptoms. I have begun a new flare-up, which happened when I started Avonex too. My legs have been very shaky, weak and painful this week. My vision has been blurry and double-vision again. Fatigue is back too. I am so tired. My paper route has been rough this week, but I am pushing through and taking my time.
On an upside, I found a page on facebook for MS patients along with their family and friends. It has been a Godsend to me! I am so fortunate to have so many family and friends be so supportive of me. I feel blessed! But this site is wonderful because I have people who know what it actually FEELS like to have MS. I can ask questions, share stories, offer and receive support, get advice about stuff others have tried, vent and laugh! I have made two really good friends so far and am meeting more nice people daily. I am so incredibly happy to have found it. I have seen people who have family members come on for questions or support as well, so feel free to check it out if you have an interest.
So there it is, my start to 2010! I don't know about you, but all this info makes me a little dizzy in my head! Love to all and have a happy and HEALTHY 2010!!!! -Tammy