OH man! It is almost 14 hours after my first injection of Avonex. Here's my experience:
A home nurse stops in to do the training. We do a practice run on an orange. When we open the training pack and I see the needle, I cry. It looks thick and long and scary and I hate it. The nurse was great - supportive, talks me down from freaking out. I am not scared of needles, but I've never had to stab myself.
Now it's time for the real deal. We get set up and I'm holding this thing 1/4" from my leg and I do this for about 6 minutes. I keep freaking myself out and can't make myself just shove it in. The nurse is patient but I feel bad for making him wait. I count to 3, about 10 times... and finally in one swift motion I shove the needle down into my thigh muscle. Surprisingly enough I can't feel a thing. This needle is sharp! It goes directly in, smooth and fast and I let go and there it is - a syringe sticking out of my leg. Funny - I was Mia Wallace once for Halloween, had a fake syringe sticking out of my chest - who knew it would become real.
So the next difficult step it pressing the plunger - I'm nervous the medicine is going to hurt. Again I don't feel a thing. I pull it straight out and and glowing like a 3 year old that was just praised by her mom. I am the proudest person in the world. It's ridiculous.
Now for the side effects... we've discussed them all. Flu-like symptoms are the most common, happening in 3 out of 5 patients. But just like MS, these vary in everyone. Anything from feeling like you're about to get a cold to full blown fever/chills/nausea. There are more to worry about and some that don't come about til later: depression, liver/heart problems... things I have to watch and be tested for. As for right now I'm just worried about the flu. I took the shot at 6:30, didn't take any medicine til about 7pm. Typically I'll take something before I do the shot - but the timing just didn't work out. 7:30 comes, 8:30 comes I'm feeling great. Come 9pm I start to feel it. At first my legs just feel tense like I have to stretch but it progressively crawls up my body and intensifies. Before I know it my whole body is aching and I get the chills. Even though it stinks - it's tolerable and after I finally fall asleep it's not so bad. I did wake up about 3-4 times. In the morning the flu-aches are gone but my back hurts so bad, as if it's recouping from the spasming and pain. I take 2 Tylenol and sit in the shower for 20 minutes hot water shooting down. It's 8:21am, I'm at work, and I feel great!
Ideally this was the worst - not knowing what to expect. Also the side effects should subside over a few months and I should become a pro at jabbing myself in the leg. We can only hope!