I would like to start this post with addressing the picture I have chosen for this post and how truthfully humorous it is. They make stabbing yourself in the leg and/ or stomach look a lot more attractive than it really is. This is #CimziaGoals. The sad reality is on Cimzia days, I don't get to do this in the privacy of my own home. No. The only way my insurance will approve my treatment is to go into the doctors office each month to get stabbed there. I am never prepared for this day and usually end up wearing some type of extremely tight and uncomfortable work pants by accident which never turns out good. The puffy, swollen stomach and fatigue that linger for the next few days after the shot are annoying but the least of my worries. I feel like a lot of people think that finding your "right medicine" is the end of the road and then you are "good" and "all better" but that could not be farther than the truth.
Don't get me wrong, my Cimzia has absolutely changed my life. I went from not being able to get out of bed to living an almost fully functioning life. At first I was extremely hesitant about starting the biologic due to the horror stories I had heard and the risks associated with it. A lot of my research that went into it was through CCFA which has some great informative material that I will include a link to later in this post, but a lot of my research was from reading the experiences of others. I read those who had changed their lives through strictly diet and lifestyle changes and then others who had great luck with biologics. There there were other that had stories of debilitating side effects that more or less were worse than the disease itself. That is why I am writing this, to share my story for those who may be on the fence. I continued to shy away from the idea of these mysterious shots until one day I completely lost it and said that something needed to change.
The thing is, with these drugs you can't just decide one day you would like to start the regime. It takes months of fights with the insurance company which in the end covered $1,500 of the $3,000 treatment and we had to campaign to Cimzia to cover the rest. After about 4 months of back and forth I was finally able to start the treatment. As of now I have been on Cimzia for almost a year and while the results have been great I have noticed the effective timeframe drops more and more each month. I used to be fine up until about three days before my next appointment. Then five days, then a week, now down to only having about two weeks of true relief. Now don't get me wrong, I could change even more things about my life like completely taking out coffee and alcohol, or being on a full liquid diet 24/7 but that was something my doctor and I decided just did not make sense for me to live my quality of life at 25. I do consult with him when things get bad and we switch up my diet as needed. I just don't want to hear shit from people about what I eat/drink on here because it is all monitored by my doctor.
So now I am here with a good 50% of my life in relief. I've gained weight that I can't lose from this medicine. And I get sick way more often than anyone else I know because my immune system is shot. My medicine is losing it's effectiveness but if I switch too soon to another biologic that limits my options later in life. If I cycle through all of them in my 20's and my body becomes immune, what do I do if my situation gets worse? I'm not saying this to complain. I'm saying this to make people aware of the fact that there is not a "magic medicine" that can make everything better overnight. It is a process. I am so thankful for modern medicine and I am also thankful for the avenues I have explored in natural medicine (which is a whole other post coming at ya!). The harsh reality is that there are a lot of risks associated with biologics and there is no promise that they will work.
If you are a loved one of a Crohn's sufferer remember that this process isn't easy. Its a gamble everyday. And if you are a sufferer who is considering biologics, weigh your options and do what is best for you and your treatment. Even with the effects I've had I still stand strong in my decision and am happy I did what I did. Feel free to share your story in the comments. Also check out THIS link from CCFA. Very informative.
Stay strong little Crohnies.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.